What are Newel Posts?
A newel post supports the hand railing on a staircase. It is an upright pillar that is placed at the top (and/or bottom) of a stair handrail to keep the balustrade secure. Though a newel post offers safety and is a structural stairpart, it also functions as a decorative element in your interior design.
At Richard Burbidge we stock a variety of styles of newel post: modern, classic, contemporary and more. Choose from full newel posts, top newels or newel bases.
How are Newel Posts attached?
Newel posts and newel bases are structurally important for the staircase and need to be securely fitted to the baserail and handrail. To replace a newel post, mark where the handrail will be attached and where the new newel post will fit into the base.
To install a newel post, you can use a newel mounting plate which is attached to the base of the post and then screwed into the floor. You can also use an angled bracket fastener, which works to provide a template for drilling holes into the post. There are other methods for securing newel posts, including insert runners for steel fixings and using a hanger bolt to secure the post to the floor.
For advice on the best way to fit your newel post or other stair parts, get in touch with the Richard Burbidge team.
How tall should newel posts be?
You must comply with UK building regulations when fitting and installing any stair parts to ensure safety and compliance. In domestic properties, the handrail must be 900mm tall on both the staircase and the landing, so you’ll need to make sure your newel post and adjoining cap allow enough space for the handrail to be fitted at the correct height.
If you need to cut your newel posts, position a straight edge directly over the front edge of (minimum) three stair treads, and mark this line and a centre line intersecting it. Then measure upwards (280mm for bottom newels, 194mm for top newels and 270mm for quarter turn or half landing newels) from these lines and mark a line again, all the way around the post. Please note that these measurements should be checked thoroughly with each staircase and may change - if you’re unsure, get in touch with our experts who’ll be happy to help.
How many newel posts do I need?
You’ll need at least two newel posts - one at the top of the stairs and another one at the base. This is for straightforward, one storey stairs - if your staircase covers multiple storeys or has turns, you’ll need to factor in additional newel posts and additional newel caps.
How far apart should newel posts be?
Newel posts sit at the base and top of the staircase, and have to be installed centrally to the stair riser and string. If you have a quarter turn, half landing or other variation in your staircase, you’ll fit a newel post at the turning point in addition to the top and bottom.
What are Newel Caps?
A newel post cap sits atop the newel post, offering extra support and additional style. There are a variety of materials used in newel caps - oak, pine, hemlock, chrome and nickel are some of the most commonly used.
Newel caps for stairs come in a wide range of sizes, types and styles. Whether you’re after a clean and classic wooden look or something more contemporary and decorative, our team is on hand to help find the perfect cap for your project.
Different types of Newel Cap
Newel Cap styles
Whatever style you’re going for, you’ll find the right newel post caps for stairs to match at Richard Burbidge. We offer a wide variety of decorative styles to choose from, including:
Which option you go for will depend on the style of your newel post, balustrade and other stair elements. For example, a wooden pyramid newel cap - or acorn newel cap - offers a classic look, while a flat or square metal cap can provide a cleaner, more sleek touch for a contemporary design.
Newel Cap materials
The finish of your newel cap will depend on the overall look of your staircase. You might choose to match the material of your balustrade, or use a different type for a contrasting look.
At Richard Burbidge we stock a number of different finishes for newel post caps: metal - chrome effect, brushed nickel and gunmetal, as well as wood - including pine, hemlock and oak.
Newel Cap sizes
Depending on the size of newel post, space around your staircase and overall design of the project you might require a newel cap in a particular size.
Choose the right size from our collection of newel post caps: 120mm is a popular size, while we carry multiple other ranges in full and half cap styles.
What are Half Newel Caps and Posts?
We stock half newel posts and half newel caps for joining a balustrade with a wall - for example on a landing. They are exactly as they sound - the same as our other newel parts, but cut in half to allow easy fixing to the flat surface of the wall for a clean, cohesive appearance.
You can choose a half newel post cap or post to match the rest of your stair design, or perhaps choose a contrasting design.
How to fit a Newel Cap
Newel caps are usually fitted to the tops of posts using wood glue. To install a newel cap - also known as a newel post topper or stair post cap - ensure the post is straight and clean of any dust or wood chippings.
Make sure your cap fits the post perfectly, and then place a small amount of wood glue right in the centre of the post. Take care to make sure you don’t use too much or place it too close to the edge - you need to make sure no wood glue spills out and down the sides of the cap.
Attach your newel cap firmly in the centre of the post, and press down slightly to affix it. We recommend securing the cap in place with masking tape to hold it together as the glue dries fully.
Newel Post Cap replacement
To replace stair newel caps, you will first need to find out whether the current topper is secured in place with glue or screws.
For square newel caps, run a sharp chisel or wood knife carefully around where the cap and newel post meet. Make sure to be extremely cautious as you work. Next, use a hammer to carefully and gently hit the newel cap from the bottom to loosen it enough for you to remove.
For ball or acorn newel caps, the easiest method for removal is often to saw straight across their base. This will leave behind a flat surface for you to attach the replacement cap to.
If the old cap was fixed with an excess of glue or gets stuck, you might find that the surface of the post is left uneven after removal. In this case, make sure to carefully sand the surface smooth before fitting your new cap.