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Glossary of Terms

Posted March 18, 2013

Flight — A flight in a stairway is a set of steps.

Handrail — A handrail is a railing intended for grasping by the hand and located parallel to, and usually at the side of, the stair. A functional handrail serves several purposes including providing visual indicator of the stair, assistance with normal balance and—most critically— the only reliable means to arrest a misstep and fall.

Headroom — Headroom is the vertical distance from the outer edge of the nosing line to the underside of the ceiling above.

Landing — A landing is a platform between flights, or at the end, of a stairway.

Nosing — The nosing is the front or leading edge of a stair tread. In most home stairs, it projects over the tread below.

Riser — The riser is the vertical component of a step. There are two types of risers: closed risers (where the back vertical portion of the step is solid) and open risers (where the back vertical portion of the step is open). Closed risers are preferable because they prevent visual distractions.

Rise — The rise is the vertical height of a step.

Run — The run is the horizontal distance measured from riser to riser.

Stair — A stair is a change of elevation consisting of one or more risers or steps.

Stairway — A stairway includes stairs, landings and handrails.

Tread — The tread is the horizontal part of a step.