Stair Anatomy Part 1 discussed the two basic styles of stairway structure: post-to-post and over-the-post. The post-to-post style pairs well with traditional, rustic or European influenced homes, where the handrail sits on top of the newel, and a decorative top piece sits on the surface of the handrail. Over-the-post is the opposite of post-to-post where there is no decorative top piece, and the handrails sit directly on top of the newels and balusters throughout the whole staircase. Many over-the-post styles have a modern, contemporary feel, but can be transformed into traditional styles by adding detailed balusters. Stair Anatomy Part 2 displays a graphic of the important stair parts and their definitions.
- Baluster – vertical spindles that are housed between the tread and railing.
- Handrail – a rail fixed to posts or a wall for people to hold on to for support.
- Newel – a post that holds the railing to the correct height.
- Over-the-post system – the handrails sit directly on top of the newels and balusters throughout the whole staircase.
- Post-to-post system – the handrail sits on top of the newel, and a decorative top piece sits on the surface of the handrail.
- Riser – a vertical section between the treads of a staircase.
- Tread – the top surface of a step or stair.