FAQs

Q?

What are Wall Rail Brackets?

A.

Metal or brass supports for wall rail.

Q?

What is a Wall Rail?

A.

A handrail which is mounted on a wall and supported by wall rail brackets
only.

Q?

What is a Volute?

A.

A handrail fitting used on a starting newel with balusters that turn away
from the stairway in a circular fashion. This also needs a bull nose
starting step. Can be a left or a right.

Q?

What is an Up Easing?

A.

A handrail fitting which joins two handrails or fittings at different
angles in a graceful, pleasing manner.

Q?

What is a Turnout?

A.

A handrail fitting used on a starting newel which curves away from the
stairway. This is a small curve. Can be a left or a right.

Q?

What is a Tread Pie?

A.

Tread with a greater run on one side than the other ("pie" shape). Winder
treads are used on Circular, Spiral staircases.

Q?

What is a Tread Cap?

A.

A short piece of tread at the edge of the stair tread to simulate full
wood steps when carpet comes down the middle of the steps. (click here for picture)

Q?

What is a Tread?

A.

The horizontal component of a step upon which one walks.

Q?

What is a Tandem Cap?

A.

A straight level handrail fitting with a newel cap. Tandem caps generally
are used on newels in long stretches of balcony handrail.

Q?

What are Stringers?

A.

The supporting members which run the length of the stairway on which
treads, risers, and balustrade are mounted.

Q?

What is a Starting Newel?

A.

The newel used at the bottom of a stairway.

Q?

What is a Starting Easing?

A.

A handrail fitting which is used at the bottom of a stairway with a
starting newel.

Q?

What is a Stair Direction?

A.

Either right-or-left-hand. Determined by what side is open when facing it
from the bottom.

Q?

What is a Spiral Stairway?

A.

A curved stairway which is mounted on a central pole rather than on
stringers.

Q?

What is a Skirt Board?

A.

A piece of decorative wood attached to the wall (open and/or wall side).
(click here for picture)

Q?

What is a Shoe Rail?

A.

A piece of wood running along the floor or on top of a pony wall which is
plowed for the insertion of balusters and fillet.

Q?

What is a Return Mitered?

A.

Tread nosing applied to the outside of an open tread to cover end grain.

Q?

What is a Run?

A.

The front to back depth of a stair step.

Q?

What is a Rosette?

A.

A small, decorative piece of wood placed between the end of a handrail and a wall.

Q?

What is a Rise?

A.

The vertical measurement from the top of one tread to the top of the next
tread.

Q?

What is a Rake?

A.

The angle of ascent of a stairway. This is determined by the rise and run.

Q?

What are Rail Fittings?

A.

Fittings are used in an over-the-post system for a continuous handrail
appearance through turns and changes in elevation.

Q?

What is a Rail Bolt?

A.

A bolt used to attach two pieces of rail.

Q?

What is a Post-To-Post?

A.

Staircase in which the handrail is not continuous. The handrail is lagged
into the face of a square-top newel. (click here for picture)

Q?

What is a Plow?

A.

The routed portion of a handrail or shoe rail used for the inserting of
square balusters. The gaps left between balusters are covered with fillet.

Q?

What is a Plate Rail?

A.

The bottom, flat part of a rail assembly that sits on the floor or caps a
pony wall (better known as shoe rail).

Q?

What is an Over-the-Post?

A.

A stair system which uses fittings to go over newel posts for a continuous
handrail.

Q?

What is an Over Easing?

A.

A handrail fitting which connects a rake handrail with a level handrail
without the use of a gooseneck.

Q?

What is a Open Stair?

A.

A stairway with a wall on one or no sides.

Q?

What is a Opening Cap?

A.

A handrail fitting at the start of a level balustrade system (also known
as an end cap).

Q?

What is a Nosing?

A.

A narrow bull nose tread situated over the top riser and along the edge of
a balcony to give the appearance of a tread at the top of the stairway.

Q?

What is a Newel Post?

A.

The major support of a staircase. Newels are larger in diameter than
balusters and are located at the bottom and top of a stairway or at a turn
in the handrail. (click here for picture)

Q?

What is a Level Rail?

A.

Handrail which runs level along a landing or balcony.

Q?

What is a Level Quarter Turn?

A.

A level handrail fitting which turns by 90 degrees.

Q?

What is a Landing Newel?

A.

A newel situated at a landing or balcony.

Q?

What is a Fillet?

A.

A handrail fitting or easement consisting of an up-easing, a vertical
rail. It is used at a landing or balcony to raise the rake handrail to the
height of the balcony handrail.

Q?

What is a Circular Stairway?

A.

A curved stairway which is mounted on stringers rather than a central pole.

Q?

What is a Bull Nose Tread?

A.

A tread that has one or both sides finished in a radius. Often used as a
starting step and often requires a curved riser beneath.

Q?

What are Brackets?

A.

Decorative pieces fastened to the outside of a stringer.

Q?

What is a Box Stair?

A.

A stairway which has walls on both sides.

Q?

What is a Box Newel?

A.

A square newel used in a post-to-post balustrade system.

Q?

What is a Balustrade System?

A.

A term referring to all the parts (newels, balusters and handrail) of a
particular stairway.

Q?

What is a Baluster?

A.

A vertical spindle or turning that is installed on a tread (step) to help
support the handrail; there are usually 2 or 3 per tread. (click here for
picture)

Q?

What is an Apron?

A.

A smaller, decorative piece of wood , usually 3 1/2" wide, attached to
landing and balcony walls. (click here for picture)
Top of Page

Q?

Can solid oak plank flooring be installed directly on a concrete slab?

A.

No, you can not install solid oak flooring directly on a concrete slab. A 3/4" plywood subfloor with recommended moisture preventive must first be attached to the concrete before you can begin installation of the wood. This process usually raises the floor approximately 1 1/4" to 1 1/2" high when the finished floor is installed.

Q?

What type of flooring can be installed directly on a concrete slab?

A.

You can install either laminated plank or a parquet.

Q?

What is a “parquet”?

A.

The term "parquet" means flooring made into a square or a custom pattern and the term "laminated plank" means layers or plies of wood glued together to simulate a solid plank floor.

Q?

What is the difference between “strip flooring” and “plank flooring”?

A.

"Strip flooring" is strips of hardwood flooring with a face less than 3" wide. "Plank flooring" is strips of hardwood flooring with a face equal to or greater than 3" wide. These hardwood floors are made to nail into a wood subfloor.

Q?

The The “Dos” of hardwood flooring maintenance.

A.

  • Wipe up spills immediately.
  • Use door mats outside room entrances and in front of kitchen sink and refrigerator to help keep dirt and grit off your floor, and to prevent damage and excessive wear.
  • Place runners and area rugs (with slip-resistant backings) along high-traffic areas.
  • Move heavy appliances and furniture by sliding them on a piece of thick carpet placed face-down.
  • Use furniture leg protector pads under all furniture legs.
  • Replace hard, narrow furniture rollers with wide rubber rollers.
  • Keep the relative humidity in your home between 45% and 55%.
  • Protect your floor from direct sunlight.

Q?

The The “Don’ts” of hardwood flooring maintenance.

A.

  • Don't use any of the following products (or products similar in nature) on your floor: ammonia, Fantastik, Formula 409, dishwashing detergent, powdered all-purpose cleaner, Endust, Pledge, Future, Mop 'n Glo, or other polishes.
  • Don't allow water to stand on your floor for any length of time.
  • Don't walk across your floor in spike heels or with any sharp object protruding from your shoe.
  • Don't allow furniture to rest on the floor on small metal tips or hard domes.

 

(Dos and Don'ts from the Robbins "Easy Care Guide")
(Fantastik, Formula 409, Endust, Pledge, Future, Mop 'n Glo are manufacturers' registered names)

Q?

What is the normal moisture content of 1/2″ or 3/4″ solid hardwood flooring?

A.

  • NOFMA members' oak flooring is usually manufactured at 6% - 9% moisture content with a 5% allowance for pieces outside that range, up to 12%, and to fit a "GO NO-GO" NOFMA flooring gauge.
  • Flooring should not be unloaded or transported in rain, snow, or excessively humid conditions. If the atmosphere is foggy or damp, cover with a tarpaulin.
  • Before delivery, check the job site. The flooring should not be exposed to high humidity or moisture. See that surface drainage is directed away from the building. Basements and crawl spaces must be dry and well- ventilated. In joist construction, outside cross ventilation through vents or other openings in the foundation wall must be provided, with no dead-air areas. A ground cover of 6 mil polyethylene film is essential as a moisture retarder.
  • Before flooring is delivered to the job site the building should be closed in, with outside windows and doors in place. All concrete, masonry, sheet rock, and framing members should be thoroughly dry. In warm months the building must be well ventilated; during winter months heating near occupancy levels should be maintained at least five days before flooring is delivered and should remain on after the installation, sanding, and finishing are completed.

    (This information was provided by the NOFMA.)