Staircase Terminology

Staircase Terminology

(1) Newel Cap – Decorative cap that sits on top of the newel post

(2) Handrail – Handrails are the timber capping used to house the staircase spindles.  These can also be used against the walls carried by metal brackets etc.  Commonly used between newel posts.

(3) Newel Post – A large post that holds the handrail, usually 90x90mm, can be either left at full height, or cut short for a newel turning to fit into.

(4) Spindle – These go between the handrail and base rail, acting as a safety feature, to stop you falling through. Usually these come in 41mm x 41mm, but also available in 32mm x 32mm – various styles available.

(5) Base Rail – The timber base plate used to house staircase spindles.

(6) Tread – commonly referred to as a step, the piece of timber you step upon when using a staircase.

(7) Stringer –  The structural component that houses the staircase treads and risers. We supply 32mm thick stringers.

(8) Riser – The vertical component between each tread. This helps support the tread. 


The individual going is the dimension taken from face of riser to face of riser.

The rise is the vertical measurement taken from the top of the tread to top of the next tread.


The staircase nosing is the front part of the staircase tread that overlaps the staircase riser face.  It is usually rounded, this is for both aesthetic reasons and carpet fitting as it stops the carpet splitting on the edge. 

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