Diagrams & Definitions

Stair Parts Terms Illustrated and Defined

Over the Post system

 (The rail goes over the newel)



Post to post system



The vertical posts which support the railing of the staircase. The term "Balustrade" refers to the baluster and rail system.

Cove Moulding

A decorative strip which, when attached to the underside of the tread nosing, covers the point between the tread and riser.


Strips which fill the plow between balusters on plowed handrail and shoerail.


The stair parts used to form a smooth transition when the hand-rail changes height or direction. For example, staring a balustrade (volute, turnout, starting easing), at a landing (gooseneck), and at a balcony.


The horizontal or rake member of a balustrade system. It sits on top of the balusters and it supported by newel posts.


The major support posts for the balustrade system. Larger and heavier than the baluster, newels are located at the bottom and top of a staircase and at turns and critical support areas of balcony rails.


The portion of a tread or landing tread which protrudes beyond the face of the riser.


The slope or angle of the staircase (also referred to as rake angle).


The vertical component of a stair which supports the treads.

Shoe rail

A piece running along the floor which is plowed for the insertion of balusters and fillets.

Starting Steps

The first tread and riser at the bottom of a staircase.


The horizontal portion of the staircase that is walked upon.

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