Basic Stair Building Vocabulary

By Greg Vanden Berge

Here are a couple of useful terms that stair builders use in the construction industry.

Keep something in mind here, carpenters who work on the East Coast of the United States, often referrer to certain types of stair building materials or operations with other words.

What is a stairwell? The stairwell is the opening in the floor where the stairs will pass through from one level to the next one.

What is a stair landing? The stair landing is any area that is larger than the stair treads and is located at different levels of the stairway. Most stairway landings are usually not smaller than 36" x 36".

What is a stair tread? A stair tread he has the horizontal section of the stairway that most people step on to walk up and down the stairs. Otherwise known as the stair step.

What is a stair riser? This is the vertical section of the stairway that separates each stair treads.

What is a stair stringer? The stair stringer is the structural supporting member that the stair treads and risers attach to. Some carpenters also refer to stair stringers in a stair horses.

What is the minimum stairway width? It depends on the use, but 36 inches is usually the minimum stairway with for most building departments.

I hope that this improves your stair building vocabulary and gives you a better idea of the words that carpenters and construction workers use while building stairways or making repairs to them.

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