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Staircase Terminology

Staircase Terminology

Very often when we quote Stairs in Brisbane we get asked by our clients “what are those things called that run down the sides?” or they say ” we would like to have the vertical sticks as our Balustrade”. ” or the common one is ” what is a Tread Checkout?”  So for that reason we have comprised this list of the Terminology that is used in Hardwood and Steel Galvanized Exterior Stairs.

STRINGERS  – These are the diagonal members that hold your Treads in place and are the main component of a Exterior Wood Staircase.

TREADS – These  either slot into a checkout, or sit on top of a bracket if using steel stringers. Treads is what allows you to climb our Steel Stringer Staircase. They can be Hardwood Treads, Aluminium Treads or Concrete Treads.

STEEL STRINGERS – These are a much more durable approach compared to Hardwood Stringers, but they dont give the same look as Hardwood Stairs.

LANDING – This is the (usually 1.2 x 1.2m) platform that either holds the Top o Bottom of a External Staircase or

CHECKOUTS  – These are the Slots which Hardwood Treads slide into and are usually routered by us into the Stringers.

BALUSTRADE/BALUSTRADING – The whole component that runs down your Queenslander Staircase or Balcony. Its made  to stop a person from falling over the edge whilst maintaining a architectural look.

NEWEL POSTS – This a vertical post about 1.2mtrs and it holds your Balustrade.

HANDRAIL – It can be of many forms and runs the length of your Balustrade. Its what gives a Hardwood Staircase Balustrade its rigidity and allows a person to walk up a flight of stairs whilst having balance.

LADIES WAIST – This is a Type of profile and is popular in Brisbane and Queensland on Hardwood and Steel Stringer External Stairs

BREAD LOAF – Slightly different to a Ladies waist, this profile has flat sides. It also is very popular with Exterior Hardwood Stairs

MERBAU–  (Brown timber) or (Red timber) A specific wood that is used in many building products across Australia. It is the most popular choice for Decking and it can be found all through out Bunnings Warehouse. Pronounced Mer-Bow. You can find Merbau Treads, Merbau Stringers and Merbau Balustrading on most Hardwood or Steel Stringer Staircases in Brisbane or the Gold coast and through out Queensland.

KWILA – Same as above


We hope you find this List helpful if you choose to request a quotation for your Staircase in Brisbane.





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  • Tyler Johnson
    March 2, 2020, 4:35 pm REPLY

    That’s good to know that the balustrade is the whole component that prevents people from falling off the balcony. I had heard the term while looking into getting my handrail repaired, so it’s good to know what it means. I should make sure I remember that if I end up having the handrail repaired instead of just fixing it myself.

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