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Old 05-23-2012, 08:58 PM   #1
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Mounting replacement newels on existing stairs and landings


Evening all,

We are about to replace an all iron railing with a wood railing/newel combination and iron balusters.

Each iron newel was fastened with four 2" screws directly into the surface of the flooring and treads. As you might imagine it wasn't the most stable assembly, especially after years of use. Several screws had already stripped their mounting holes.

The question I have is about mounting turned wooden newels to existing stairs and landings. I have no idea what the structure is beneath the existing surfaces.

Here is a photo of the original railing, and the newel positions relative to the landing and treads:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/67579312@N08/7261249918/

What is the best way to proceed to ensure solidly mounted newels? I've looked at the different mounting systems and I'm not sure which is best. I'd prefer not to have to tear apart the stairs to access the underside, but I will if necessary. I just want sturdy newels.

Fortunately with the new starter step I am able to add a block to the end of the step before installing it and use an adjustable dowel newel. I expect that to be very stable.

Any advice would be appreciated.

Kind regards,

Joe


Last edited by josephmartins; 05-24-2012 at 06:59 AM.
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Old 05-24-2012, 03:44 PM   #2
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Mounting replacement newels on existing stairs and landings


Joe sorry to be so late in responding. From the picture there should be solid wood right under each of the Newel posts unless your house has the engineered joists. There is no way to say if the joists or headers are doubled so it could be anyone's guess there. You can tell for sure if there is solid wood or not directly under where your newels should secure to the structure by drilling a very small hole under the foot print of the newel.

One way the newels can be mounted would be to move the whole rail system forward so you could half the bottom of the posts and face mount them. (see picture below) You would probably have to replace the landing tread as it has the screw holes in them. This would make a strong balustrade. The posts on the steps would then mount onto the front of the risers. One thing I would do different from the picture is have skirt boards under the landing tread that would add some strength to the posts and move the rail back further on the landing tread.


The way I like to install the stairs would be way more invasive and would be your least favorite. I like to secure the base of the newels below the floor into the framing members.
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Mounting replacement newels on existing stairs and landings-finished-balcony.jpg  

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Last edited by BigJim; 05-24-2012 at 08:52 PM. Reason: Changed and added more info
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Old 05-24-2012, 08:25 PM   #3
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Mounting replacement newels on existing stairs and landings


The first thing which comes to mind is that there shouldn't be a rake rail on the left side. It wasn't designed to have one, at least it shouldn't have been. That would make the newel at the top of the stair the one which will take most of the load. Given that this is a remodel it is likely that standard framing lumber was used so there should be a rim joist to tie into. I would suggest a Shure-Tite anchor, it's not as strong as boxing out the framing but with finished floors it may be your best option. You can tighten them up, check for plumb and trim accordingly. Before you do anything do as Jim suggested and drill a small hole to find out what you are dealing with.
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Old 05-24-2012, 08:46 PM   #4
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Mounting replacement newels on existing stairs and landings


Keith, I have been out of the business too long I have never used one of the Shure-Tite anchors, I agree that would be the least invasive and his best way to go. After I got to thinking about the dowel in the bottom of the newel the less I like that method, that could take too much meat out of a header and make it weak and unsafe. I had to look up the Shure Tite anchor, here is a link to one.
http://www.buystairparts.com/Product...mily=72&cat=32
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Old 05-31-2012, 01:16 AM   #5
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Mounting replacement newels on existing stairs and landings


The sure tite anchors work great!
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Old 05-31-2012, 06:55 AM   #6
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Mounting replacement newels on existing stairs and landings


I guess the OP didn't like us or something. Maybe he got killed or he may be in the hospital, can't ever tell.

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Last edited by BigJim; 05-31-2012 at 06:56 AM. Reason: Added
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