How to Anchor Newel Posts

Updated February 21, 2017

Newel post are the large posts that anchor a stair rail system. Characterised by the large ball shape on top, they are found at the bottom and the top of the stairs. It's vital that they are anchored securely for safety and the fact that they are used for leverage when climbing stairs. If newel posts are anchored right, the stair rail system will last for years without any problems.

Measure two inches up from the bottom of the post and make a single mark on three sides, right in the centre of the post. Choose the three best sides. Insert the drill bit into the cordless drill and hold it on the mark. Turn on the drill and begin drilling.

Tip the drill at a 30 degree angle and drill out through the bottom of the newel post. Insert the countersink bit into the drill. Bore out each one of the holes just deep enough to sink the head of a screw inside it.

Stand the newel post in place on the steps. Insert one screw into each hole. Using the cordless drill with a Phillips tip bear down on the screws and screw them into the floor all the way around the post. The screws will work on any type of floor.

Drill another hole angled down through the fourth side if the newel post sits directly on top of the stairs. Insert a screw and screw the fourth side down.

Drill another hole horizontally up two inches through the bottom of the newel post, if the newel post fits flush against the bottom or top step. Countersink halfway through the post with the countersink bit. Insert and screw the newel post to the step horizontally.


You can insert hardwood plugs into the countersink holes, but most base moulding is 2 1/4 inches tall and will cover the holes.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Drill bit, 3/16 inch
  • Countersink drill bit, 1/2 inch
  • Wood screws, 3 1/2 inch
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About the Author

Specializing in hardwood furniture, trim carpentry, cabinets, home improvement and architectural millwork, Wade Shaddy has worked in homebuilding since 1972. Shaddy has also worked as a newspaper reporter and writer, and as a contributing writer for Bicycling Magazine. Shaddy began publishing in various magazines in 1992, and published a novel, “Dark Canyon,” in 2008.