Shannon & Waterman Blog
Interior Design, Wood Tips & Trends

Upgrade Stairway Elements to Create a More Dramatic Look

Are your stairs simple and straight, make a 90 degree turn with a landing, or is there a grand curve that is the centerpiece of your foyer? Regardless of the design, your stairway can become an integral part of your home’s overall design, whether your goal is to make a bold statement or convey a sense of comfort and warmth.

Standard construction methods usually include stairways with treads and risers covered in carpet. For a custom look that makes your stairways stand out and your home look truly unique, forget the carpet and consider hardwood treads, risers, and even banisters and trim, finished to match your hardwood floors.

Each of the different parts of your staircase can be customized, just like your hardwood floors, and are available in numerous wood species, finishes, and sizes. So what exactly are all those different pieces?

Treads are the horizontal steps of the staircase on which you walk.

Nosing is the edge part of the tread that protrudes over the riser beneath. The most common style of nosing is bullnose, but other options include square cut and even more decorative, custom designs.

Risers are the vertical portion of the stairs between each tread. An “open” stair means there are no risers.

Landing is where the staircase makes a turn or has a level change. Landings can be an oversized tread, an angled tread, or large enough to be finished with flooring planks.

Banister, Railing or Handrail is the angled piece used for handholding. There can be a railing on both sides, only on one side, or not at all. On wide staircases, there is sometimes a railing in the middle.

Balusters are the posts that hold up the handrail, also sometimes referred to as guards or spindles.

Base Rail (also known as bottom track) is the piece into which spindles or panels are fixed and is supported at either end by newel posts.

Newels are the anchor of a stairway and are found at the foot and top of a flight of stairs, as well as where the stairway changes directions.

Depending on which pieces you choose, customizing the different elements of your staircase to match your hardwood floors can create a dramatic look that will enhance the overall design of your home’s interior.

Shannon & Waterman offers the option to create hardwood treads, risers and other elements to match your custom hardwood flooring. Give your stairways a dramatic look by upgrading your old carpeted stairs with custom hardwood elements.


Every newly crafted Shannon & Waterman wide plank floor has its beginnings in our family-owned, old growth forests. For generations, we have masterfully managed our forests for true sustainability—ensuring that we always have the mature trees necessary to supply the densely grown, stable, and generously proportioned wood to create the floors of your dreams. In addition, many of our products are FSC® certified.

The Complete Shannon & Waterman Collection can be viewed here: S&W Floor