*** Please note that these instructions are here just to give a general idea. These instructions are not “one size fits all” – each and every stairway project is unique. Check building code for all technical specifications***
Check building code to see where Newel Posts are required
Check building code for what types of Newels are required (Ball Top or Pin Top, how tall the post should be (43″ – 59″), how long the face of the post is (5″ – 13″)
Count one intermediate/mid-span Newel Post for handrail over 8 feet long. For example, if handrail section is 12 feet long, an intermediate post is required at the 6 foot mark.
Ball-Top Newels are for Starting Posts and Landing Posts.
Pin-Top and Taper-Top Newels are used for continuous sections of handrail (some cities and states allow Ball-Top and Box Newels when going up the stairs for a post to post system).
Check local building code for all baluster spacing specifications.
One baluster every 4” of the balustrade.
4” sphere cannot pass through the balustrade.
Shoes for bottom and/or top of metal balusters.
Shoe size matches baluster width.
Handrail & Shoe Rail:
Check local building codes for handrail height and sizing specifications. Some handrail models are too wide – others too tall. Limitations on size of the handrail vary depending on local building code.
Plowed handrails and plowed shoe rails are for square-top and/or square-bottom balusters.
Fillet is for filling in extra space under the plowed handrail
Bending handrails are for spiral or curved staircases.
Handrails terminating into a wall should be drilled into the wall stud (wooden plank of the building’s framework) to maximize stability. A stud finder device is used to locate wall studs behind dry wall.
Handrails can return into a half Newel or a Rosette, which should be attached to a wall stud.
If the stairway is less than 5 feet wide, only one side requires handrail (handrail on both sides is optional).
If the stairway is over 5 feet wide, handrail on both sides is required
Handrails should be continuous so that someone going up the stairs never has to let go of the handrail (this is required in some places – check local building code).
Check local building code for minimum width of treads and maximum height of risers.
Each tread and riser must be identical height and width going up the stairs.
Check local building code for all technical specifications.
One rail bolt or lag bolt per handrail end.
One bolt wrench or any fastening tool.
Wall rail brackets at a minimum of every 4 feet of handrail (excluding either ends of the handrail, which may or may not return into the wall depending on local building code).
One Newel bolt per solid Newel Post (more than one is okay but not required), or one Newel Plate per hallow Newel Post.
One Wood plug to cover each hole drilled.
Optional epoxy to secure metal balusters.
Optional shoes for metal balusters.
Notice in the image above that the 1” reveal (space for fingers) is maintained by the handrail in both Stairway-to-Stairway and Stairway-to-Balcony layouts. Some cities & states require continuous handrail while going up the stairs, which would require Pin-Top Newels instead of Ball-Top Newels used for Post-to-Post systems. Check local building code for all technical specifications.
Installation techniques differ based on the type of stairway. Check local building code for all technical specifications.