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flamtap 06-23-2011 08:47 AM

Adding additional newel post to staircase

We have a railing in our home which is secured to a newel post at the bottom and attached to the wall at the top. Please see the photo below:

The railing on this staircase has quite a bit of "give" to it. The post at the bottom is pretty solid (a small amount of movement) and the connection to the top is solid. In the middle of the staircase, though the railing has quite a bit of give. I think it's just too long of a run without another newel post.

So my questions:
How much (if any) wobble is expected from the newel post at the bottom?

What are the methods to add an additional newel post in the middle of the staircase? Is there a design that will support the railing without cutting it, or will it need to be cut for the newel post like the railing along the hall at the top is?

What will be involved with the additional newel post installation?

Thanks for any advice. I'm trying to decide if this is a job I can handle or whether I should bring in the experts. I have little experience with "detail" carpentry.


foz1234 06-23-2011 08:54 AM

If it was me, I would hire it done, especially if I didn't have experience. The cost of having it done will be cheaper than screwing it up and having it replaced. In addition, a profession may be able to strengthen the railing without adding a newel post.

Just my 2. :whistling2:

Millertyme 06-23-2011 06:21 PM

That bottom newel post shouldnt have any movement at all. With the additional support of those volute balusters that lower section should be stiff. There really shouldnt be a need for a center post if those balusters are installed properly. Are the balusters loose at the bottoms? Are they nailed at the top? If all this stuff is sound and you still have a lot of lateral movement, then you can put a post in the middle. Here's an idea of what you will need to do and you can decide if you can do it or if you want to hire a pro. Only you can decide, as I do not know your capabilities.

First find the exact center of the rake rail. Now locate the center of the closest baluster to this line. Your post will replace this baluster, just keep you centers in the same spot. If you intend to use a ball top post then draw out your 3" post on the rail. You will need to make these 2 cuts on the rail which will be tough if you need to take down the entire rail without damaging things. If you keep the rail in place then you will need to cut it with a hand saw ( really tough to cut this accurately on pitch). Once the rail is cut you need to notch the post. The best way to do this is to make a half lap on the bottom of the post so that the post will hang down below the tread. You will need to notch out the return so the post will pass through. The post is screwed into the stringer. The depth of the half lap is determined by the offset of the rail. Just keep your centers in line. The rails can the be screwed into the post.

flamtap 06-24-2011 08:45 AM

Thanks for the responses.

After more investigation last night, I've found that the newel post at the bottom is looser than I remembered. The newel and the balusters around it have a bit of movement, and the railing is not firmly attached to the newel.

This is not too surprising as the house is 16 years old and everyone who goes up the stairs tends to pull this in one direction or the other.

What would the process be to tighten this up?

Thanks again,


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