The Various Parts of a Staircase You Should Know

A staircase is a very important part of a house. It’s what connects the different levels and it’s often the first thing people see when they walk in the door. It connects the different levels of a house through a series of steps a user can climb up or down.

There are a few things you should know about staircases before you start construction. The first is the three types of stairs: straight, spiral, and curved. These types depend on the model and shape of the staircase. For instance, a straight staircase rises or descends in a linear direction from one landing to the other whereas a curved staircase consists of a curve in direction. A spiral staircase is in the shape of a spiral from one landing to the other.

A staircase can be constructed using different construction materials including wood, metal, and concrete among others. The type of material depends on a number of factors including the function of premises, traffic at the staircase, and underlying climatic conditions among others. For instance; An industrial premises might use metallic staircases whereas a residential building in a cold environment will need a wooden staircase.

There are many different parts that make up a staircase. The different parts a meant to make the staircase functionally efficient, safe, and aesthetically beautiful. The various parts of a staircase include treads, handrail, nosing, and riser among others. This article will discuss the different parts of a staircase and what you should know about them.

The stairwell; This is the space within which the stairs and landings are housed. It is essentially the space occupied by the staircase. The width of a stairwell depends on the size and function of the facility. For example; the width of a stairwell for a residential home should span roughly a meter or two so that it is sufficient for the use of a maximum of two users at a time. Whereas the width of a stairwell a staircase in a mall or airport should span roughly five or even ten meters to accommodate multiple users at a time in such a high-traffic area.

The Landing: This is where the staircase begins as well as where it ends. It is where the staircase connects to the floor it begins from and the floor it ends. There is the lower landing where the staircase begins and the upper landing where the staircase ends.

Staircase landing

The Tread: This is the horizontal component of a step. It is the part the user steps on when climbing a flight of stairs. The length of the tread is called the going. The going should be designed in a length sufficient for the foot size of an average user.

The Riser: This is the vertical part of the step. It joins one tread to the next. However, not all staircases have risers, some staircases only have treads and they are called; open tread staircases. The height of the riser is called the rise and it determines the vertical height of each step. The rise shouldn’t be so high that it makes the stair tiring to climb. It should also not be so low that it makes the staircase inefficient with so many steps for a small distance covered.

Open tread staircase

The nosing; This is a protrusion of the tread past the riser. It can either be rounded or square. In addition to making a step more stable, the nosing removes the pointy edge of the step making it safer for the user. It is mainly found on wooden stairs.

The step; This is a combination of all the three previous parts: tread, riser, and nosing. It is a single unit on a flight of stairs. A series of steps is what makes up a staircase.

Steps with square nosing

The String: A string is a board at the side of the staircase that holds all the steps together. It spans the length of the stairwell and it is the platform that holds all the other parts of a staircase. A string can either be a wall string or an outer string depending on where it is located. A wall string is on that is attached to the wall and it is common on staircases that are constructed next to a wall. An outer string on the other hand is on constructed in space.


Spandrel; Some property owners utilize the space under a staircase and turn it into useful space in form of either an extra room or a store. This is called a spandrel.

Balusters; These are the vertical posts that hold up the handrail. They are usually anchored onto steps at the tread with the handrail resting on top of them. They are usually made of wood, metal, or plastic depending on the type of staircase. Most balusters are crafted and designed for decorative purposes. Besides holding up the handrail, they are also placed close together as a safety measure to protect especially young children from falling through the stairs.


The handrail; This is linear support that runs along the flight of stairs. It is supported on top of the balusters at a height approximate to that of the average height of a human palm from the ground. Its main purpose is to act as handheld support for anyone ascending or descending a flight of stairs. It also serves the function of holding the balusters together. It can be made of: wood, plastic or metal. The material used depends on the conditions of the interior in terms of temperature. This is because the hand is sensitive to temperature changes. For instance, cold places would find wood or plastic more suitable because they are insulators and don’t easily get cold.


Newel post; This is a post located at the point where the flight of stairs meets the landing. There is the upper newel post for the upper landing, the lower newel post for the lower landing, and a middle newel post for any landing that might be constructed in the middle of the flight of stairs. It is usually located on the same line as the balusters and it’s where the handrail terminates. It is thicker compared to a baluster and it is usually beautifully designed for its aesthetic appeal.

Conclusion; It is important to be familiar with the various parts of a staircase in order to ensure safety. The handrail, balusters, newel posts, and treads are all essential components that work together to create a sturdy and safe staircase. When one of these parts is not working properly, it can create a dangerous situation. Therefore, it is important to regularly check stairs for any loose handrails, wobbly balusters, or worn treads.

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