How to Install a Newel Post

newel post
  • 6-12 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 150-450
What You'll Need
Newel post stair set up
Screw drill bits
Construction pencil
Recording tablature
Tape measure

A newel post is an essential part of any circular staircase since it serves as the spine of the stairs. Proper installation is important to a solidly built circular staircase. Follow these steps to install a newel post on the staircase in your home.

Measure the Tread

The tread to the stairs is the horizontal board of the stairs upon which your step. You will have to first measure the tread of the stairs. You should keep a tablet and pen to write down the measurements as you go along.

Install Newel Post

You will place the newel post at each of the landings by the use of your level. Proper use of the level will help you make sure the post is as vertical as you can get it. With your drills and screws, secure the post to the floor.

Determine Number of Balusters Needed

This step will be completed using the measurements of the tread you took in Step 1. Each baluster has to be spaced no more than 4-inches apart per code. Proper spacing will prevent heads from becoming stuck, both those of children and of animals. Use something like a 4-inch round ball or tape measure to determine the proper space. The ball shouldn’t fit through the spacing.

Cut Top of Balusters

The top of the balusters will then need to be cut at an angle. Use a table saw for the best accuracy and straightness. The angle will need to be the same as the angle of your stairs. It will be helpful with making sure the handrail fits properly.

Measure Handrail Thickness

With your tape measure, determine the thickness of the handrail.

Cut Bottom of Balusters

The balusters will need to be cut so that when the handrail is installed, the height of the railing is 34-inches of the landing and 30-inches on the tread.

Install Balusters to String

The string is the support pieces for both the riser and the tread. Install it with housed and mortared joints. The baluster will stretch into the string, coming from under the capping.

Secure Handrail to Newel Post

With your power drill screw bit, secure the handrail to the newel posts by drilling screws into the brass knee plate, to the end of the rail’s underside, and into the newel post.

Level the Balusters

With your level, put the balusters in a vertical and straight position. Make them as level as you can. Take your time to ensure that it is level. Going back will be difficult.

Connect the Handrail and the Balusters

Screw the long side of the baluster top that has been splayed. Now drive the screw through the handrail’s underside.


Repeat Step 10 until all of the balusters are secured to the handrail.

Check Sturdiness

Carefully ascend your staircase and wiggle the railing, checking for any weakness in construction. It's better to find a weak point now than have an unsuspecting stair climber take a tumble from a loose baluster later on.