Stair terminology

What are the Different Types of Stairs?

There are countless ways to refinish your stairs. In this brief overview, we’ll look at four of the most common stair types and the materials used. They include: iron balusters, hardwoods, spiral staircases and exterior railing.

Staircase Basics

The design and construction of a staircase is crucial to the safety and comfort of the occupants of a house. Regulations have been established in the industry to insure a safe climb, with different rules for each stair type relating to the shape, height, depth, level, pitch, and run of a staircase. It also stipulates the allowable clearances and width of landings, permissible details of handrails and other issues like the size of treads and height of risers.

Refer back to this diagram if any of the terms we use are unfamiliar to you.

Iron Balusters

Iron is frequently used to make balusters or iron spindles for staircases, but iron is often found throughout the home in furniture, entryways and cabinetry hardware. Selecting the right style of iron for your stairs can lend the look towards Contemporary and/or Modern, Old World, Mediterranean, Spanish Colonial or Tuscan.

The contrast of the metal against the other materials used in your staircase design creates visual interest in a room that might already be too saturated with wood tones. You don’t have to have an elaborate staircase to have a great iron design around it. Even a simple modern staircase can make use of this metal in its design. We have these options available online for you to see.


Hardwood stairs are virtually fool-proof. With this stair type, once you have chosen the right treatment for wood, you can rest confidently on your decision, because hardwood stairs are classic. Depending on the style of balusters, stain options, tread color, and other variables, hardwood floors can lend themselves very easily to the most contemporary of homes or the most traditional. Take a look through our products  to get a better idea visually of some of the options available to you for hardwood designs.

Spiral Staircases

These staircases twists around a central pole; stairs have a straight pole with the steps or treads radiating out from the pole. The treads are pie shapes to adjust to the pole and the spiraling steps. A spiral is a total space saver but is not recommended for a main staircase. Most spiral staircases are free-standing and unsupported by walls.

Materials for staircases can be wood, concrete, glass or metal. Most complicated designs are combinations of materials like metal for the frame and wood, glass or laminates for the tread. Spiral Stair Kits are pre-manufactured modular units that can be installed by both contractors and homeowners (DIY) using easy-to-follow video instructions.

Exterior Stairs

It is natural to want your indoor spaces to seamlessly lead to outdoor spaces when the weather is right, so many homeowners look to decks and porches to add more living room and curb appeal. With Stair Solution, we have a number of handrail systems available to not only provide a safety element, but also to enhance the visual appeal of your deck or porch. These new systems not only look great, but are hardy and will stand the test of time through use and weather.

To schedule a free consultation or to visit Stair Solution’s showroom, call 770-813-9070 or send a message to; [email protected]. Stair Solution will review project books, catalogs, and provide expert advice at homes to explore the color, texture, and style.