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  • Pinto Carpentry

Carpenter’s Corner: Talk Like the Pros with Carpentry Terminology Decoded

Welcome to our new post segment where we are going to teach you some helpful vocabulary and terminology used in carpentry and contracting. Since building stairs, railings, and other carpentry tasks are n’t in most people’s daily activities, we thought it would be helpful to shine a light on some industry terms and educate our readers.


Of course, while there’s no replacement for years of service and experience, it will certainly serve as a wonderful primer and we hope it piques your curiosity to learn even more. It’s also our hope that these posts will help you feel more comfortable when asking questions before scheduling installations, navigating the ins-and-outs of estimates, and during any consultations with your contractor. Plus, you’ll really be able to impress your friends with fun facts and your new knowledge as an educated homeowner!





Today we’re going to cover some basic terms to know when looking into replacing your railing system.


Baluster: a support that fills the open areas between your stair treads and the railings


Balustrade: a complete railing system that includes the handrail, balusters, and newel posts


Newel Posts: a large vertical column or post which provides structural support for the balustrades, and is attached to the handrail.


Starting newel: the newel used at the beginning of the balustrade railing


Tread: The horizontal part of the step which is the walking surface


Starting Step: the first tread and riser of your staircase


Riser: the vertical face of each stair step


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