Staircase builders specialize in many different architectural installations. A staircase is built with different designs and choosing the right rail can be a tricky situation. Here are some parts to look over if you are interested in a custom staircase remodel.
Plow: The channel in the bottom of a handrail and the top of a shoe rail that receives square balusters. A plow is finished with fillet.
Post to post: A balustrade system where handrail is fitted between newel posts. The flow of the handrail is interrupted by the decorative top of the newel post.
Rail fitting: Fittings are carved components whose profile matches a specific handrail. Fittings are assembled in various configurations to effect directional and elevation changes in over the post and post to post balustrades.
Rake: The angle or pitch of a stairs ascent to an upper level. The rake is established by the rise and run of the staircase.
Rake rail: Hand rail used on the ascending portion of a balustrade which matches the pitch or rise of the staircase.
Riser: The vertical component of a staircase that faces each step between stringer and tread, upon which the tread rests.
Rosette: A decorative wall plate, larger than the handrail profile, which may be round or oval. Rosettes serve as a decorative handrail anchor when handrail dead ends at a wall.
Shoe rail: A flat molding with a linear channel which receives square bottom balusters for assembly. The channel between balusters is then finished with fillet.
Starting easing: A fitting that starts a balustrade and introduces the user to the upward travel of the stair.
Starting newel: The vertical post used to start a post to post balustrade.
Starting step: A decorative first step of a staircase. Generally includes a tread and riser which is larger in length and depth than the basic stair. Design options include bull nosed, quarter circle and half circle patterns.
Stringer: A side member of a stair that provides structural support and a finished face. It is generally machined to receive the risers and treads for box stairs. In open staircases, the risers are mitered so that finished end treads rest on the mitered riser.
Tread: The horizontal component of a staircase upon which you walk.
Volute: An ornamental handrail fitting used to grace the opening of a staircase. A volute is carved to turn away from the opening in a nautilus like shape, resting on a volute newel and four or five balusters.
Wall rail: Handrail fastened directly to the wall with a mounting bracket. In a box staircase it may be the primary handrail. In a full balustrade a wall rail would be supplementary.