How to replace your newel posts

Your staircase is the (structural) heart of your home.

If yours is looking a little worse for wear, there are many ways you can breathe some life back into it without forking out thousands of pounds.

Replacing odd parts, like your handrail, spindles, or newel posts, is one of the best ways to go about it – it’s the smallest details that have the biggest impact.

Newel posts are a vital part of your staircase. Essentially, they are the anchors of your stairway, sitting at the top and bottom of your balustrade to support the rest of the structure.

Not only do they provide strength, but they also act as a stunning focal point and allow you to add a decorative flair to your stairs.

But how do you replace your old newel posts?

Here’s what you need to know.

Things you’ll need

To replace your old newel post, you’ll need a few tools to help you along the way, including:

  • A scale ruler or spirit level
  • A pencil
  • A handsaw
  • A hole saw
  • A sharp chisel
  • A 50mm arbor
  • A PVA woodwork adhesive glue
  • A newel base connector

Step 1: remove your old handrail, base rail, and spindles

If your staircase has handrails and spindles, remove all the screws holding them in place and leave the parts to one side to be re-fitted later.

Step 2: figure out the height you’ll need to cut your new newel post

With building regulations in mind, the next step is to determine the handrail height for your new newel post.

To do this, place a straight edge along the nosing of two or three steps and mark the pitch length with a pencil.

From the pitch length, measure 900mm up, as this is the minimum height required when installing staircase handrails.

Step 3: Continue marking all four sides of your newel post

Using your scale or spirit level tool, mark all four sides of your newel post with your pencil, making sure to keep the proper measurements.

Step 4: Cut your newel post

Following the length you’ve just marked out, go ahead and cut your newel post down to size with your handsaw.

You should take extra care with this step – for additional safety, it may be worth wearing a pair of protective gloves and a face shield.

Step 5: Bore a hole at the centre of the post

Most newel posts come with a 50mm diameter dowel, and to fit it, you’ll need to bore a 50mm hole in the centre of your newel base.

Using your pencil and a ruler, mark the centre of the base, using your hole saw to bore a hole at the marked spot.

Then, take your 50mm arbor and clear the entrance of the hole – using a chisel to remove any remaining splinters of wood so that your new newel can be inserted smoothly.

Step 6: Use a newel base connector to disguise any gaps

There is a wide range of different newel base connectors on the market, and the one you choose is pretty much just a matter of personal preference.

They help to fill in the gaps between the base and newel posts and are secured in place with four screws.

Step 7: Glue your newel post in place

Using a strong PVA wood glue, coat the inside of the hole and secure the newel post in place.

Press firmly on the post so that there won’t be any gaps, ensuring that the glue can stick properly.

Step 8: Secure your newel post

To make sure your newel post is firmly in place, you’ll need to attach it to the base post with screws.

Drill a 10mm deep hole in the newel base, then fix a screw directly through the base and dowel of your newel post. Plug the remaining hole with a small piece of wood.

Finishing touches

To complete the newel post replacement process, install a new newel cap on top of the post.

This will help to add a more of a decorative touch, and will further elevate the look of your staircase.

There are plenty of options, so you’re bound to find something that gives off the exact vibe you’re going for.

Ready to replace your newel posts?

Whether you’re a DIY novice or you’ve got plenty of experience, replacing a newel post takes very little skill, and it’s one of the quickest and easiest ways to transform the look of your staircase.

Whether you’re in need of further advice or are looking for high-quality replacement stair parts, the team over at Pear Stairs are here to help you out.

Get in touch with them today!

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