To have a staircase installed inside or outside your home, you'll need to know some terminology that is used to describe the various pieces that make up a staircase, as well as the installation of it. This will help you better understand your choices and options for those stairs and accessories and know what a contractor is talking about when they describe what you need for the stairs you want. Consider a few terms you'll want to learn before shopping for an interior or exterior staircase.
Balusters refer to the parts of the staircase under the banister. In some cases, the baluster will work as a handrail itself, as in the case of thick glass; a baluster can also be solid panels or individual spindles. This baluster can also be made of wire, pipe, or other decorative material.
However, many cities or states will have local building codes that dictate details for a baluster, such as a specific type of safety glass you can use, the width between spindles and other such limitations. Be sure you check these regulations before you decide on a unique type of baluster for your interior or exterior staircase.
The balustrade is the banister or handrail of the staircase. The balustrade may not be an actual rail; if you opt for glass balustrades, for example, the glass can be thick enough to work as a railing or balustrade itself.
If you opt for a staircase that curves or turns after a landing, you may want a bending rail. This is a handrail that is made from one solid piece that is bent or curved around the staircase, rather than being configured as two separate pieces with a corner between them.
When a staircase has first step that is wider than the rest, and that curves around the outside of the staircase, this is called a curtain entry. This detail can offer more visual interest around the staircase and give it a grander look and feel.
A flight of stairs is an uninterrupted set of stairs; it may not refer to the stairs from one floor to another. If the staircase has a landing, a flight of stairs is a section of steps from the floor to the landing. If a contractor tells you that you need two "lights to get to the second floor of the home, or from a outside balcony to the ground, note they may simply be telling you how many landings you need, not how many floors they connect.