Just a short note to let you know that we were really pleased with the individual items, that Shaw Stairs Ltd made for our new house. We have had numerous complimentary comments from visitors, and my clients regarding staircase etc. Your staffs were also courteous and professional, I will definitely be recommending Shaw Stairs again.

My husband and I would just like to say how delighted we are with our recent staircase renovation. From the initial enquiry right through to the completion of the project the service we received was first class. It was a real pleasure to do business with your company and would have no hesitation in recommending you to others.

Please pass on our thanks once again to everyone involved.
Kind regards
John and Karen Hayes from Milton Keynes

Wow! What a transformation! Just wanted to say thank you for our staircase renovation. Excellent job, first class in every respect and superb craftsmanship. Your team were a pleasure to have in the house and nothing was too much trouble for them. Thank you,
Jim & Clare Cooksley, Cardiff

What a great company, from the first meeting with Chris (designer) to plan our new stairs, through to the survey with Chris, to the fitting carried out by Brian and Jowel (whose workmanship is exemplary). All concerned made this a pleasant experience. We are absolutely delighted with the end product and wouldn't hesitate to recommend Shaw Stairs to anyone.
Wayne and Helen, Warwick

"I must let the world know what a fantastic job your guys did, with oak and glass, to remodel our staircase. It is stunning and the care taken with tiny details has been quite amazing. Moreover, it was a pleasure to have the pair of them in our home. Permanent smiles on their faces, obviously loving the job and proud of the result, Great stuff, Thank You All."
Mr & Mrs Bolton, Chepstow

Staircase Terminology

Understanding the terms used to describe a stair makes it easier to be specific about what you want when ordering a stair. It is also crucial that you understand what is written on your quotation, so you know what to expect and can compare prices accurately between vendors.

Closed string staircase

In a Closed string staircase the ends of the treads and risers are fitted, or rebated into the string (or sides of the stair), so they can't be seen from the side. The string is one solid piece of wood that forms each side and supports the treads, running parallel to the handrail.

String or Stringer

A string or stringer forms each side of a stair, supporting the whole length of the stair. They are the two very long wide boards to which the treads and risers are fixed.

Cut string or open side string staircase

Cut string or open side string staircase The string, or board that forms the side (or sides) of the stair, is cut out level with each tread (in a zig zag shape) such that the edge of each of the treads sticks out past the side of the stair. This is used for both contemporary and Victorian styles.

Rise and go, rise and going or rise and run

Rise and go, rise and going or rise and run are all terms used to describe how steep a stair is. On a small scale the rise of a stair equals the (vertical) height from one tread to the next. The go or going is the depth of the tread minus any overhang. Sometimes these terms are used on a large scale to describe the total height of the staircase (rise) and the total depth of the staircase (go or going).


Rake is the angle or the steepness of the stair's rise and go.

Newel or newel posts

Newel or newel posts are thicker and taller than a baluster and are used to support the handrail at the top and bottom of a stair and where there is a change of direction. Handrails are fixed to the newel post. The end of the handrail is then glued and screwed into this hole.

Spindles or baluster

Spindles or baluster is one of the series of vertical spindles that support the handrail all along the length of the stair.

Handrails or Balustrade

Handrails or Balustrade is what all the spindle or balusters fix to.


The tread is the horizontal part of the stair that you step on.


Winders are used to turn a staircase 90 degree or 180 degree so it winds left or right.


Riser is the vertical part of the steps of the stair, which go between each tread. An open rise stair has no risers, or half risers, so that you can see between the treads as you walk up it.

Bull nose tread

Bull nose tread is the first tread curved on the corner.

Curtail tread

Curtail tread is a large curved first (or second) tread that curves out past the side of the stair.


Landings are platforms used at top and bottom of a staircase, also to split levels between treads.

Continuous handrail

Continuous handrail is handrail that does not stop and start at a newel post or where the stair changes direction, but continues in sweeps or change of angles from the bottom of the stair to the top. You can run your hand all the way along as you walk up or down the stair.


Fascia is the decorative board that goes around the edge of the stairwell (covering the thickness of the beams between ceiling and floor.


Nosing's is a decorative timber board that sits on to the edge of the stairwell covering the fascia board to add feature to the stair well.

Corner Beadings

Corner Beadings is a decorative molding that sits on the underside of the fascia board were the ceiling meet the fascia board, used for an added feature.

French polishing

French polishing is the trade of applying a shellac and alcohol-based finish that can be tinted or coloured to seal and protect the wood. Timber must be sealed before it is used. It gives the wood a more uniform colour and surface. Customers can book their own French polisher or we can do it for you.

Raking Balustrade

A raking balustrade is a sloping balustrade.


Skirting is moulding that goes around the wall at the side of landings to finish it off.


Tapered as that a stair becomes narrower towards the bottom. Or wider at the bottom and tapers narrower at the top.

To match existing

To match existing is an expression often used on a quotation where new work will be made to generally the same style as the old. Building codes are much safer today than before, and do not allow many things to be done exactly the same way as previously. This has forced some necessary changes.

Cut strings with brackets

Cut strings with brackets are a decorative element cut from a flat piece of timber applied to the side of the stair below each tread.


Volute is a decorative ending for handrail that curves down into a vertical spiral.