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Newel Post Height – Guides & Specifications

Newel posts are a crucial component of staircase design, providing both structural support and aesthetic appeal. Properly determining newel post height is essential for safety and compliance with building codes. Here’s a full guide to understanding newel post height guidelines for staircases.

Newel post turnings add a touch of sophistication and elegance to any staircase. But with a vast array of options available, choosing the right one can be overwhelming.

Read More: Boxed Newel Posts vs Turned Newel Posts

If you’re planning to build or renovate a staircase, we’re going to discuss the often overlooked world of newel post turnings and varying newel post heights. 

We’ll explore the most popular styles and equip you with the knowledge to select the perfect turning for your staircase.

First we’re going to go through some standard newel post heights available with stock newel parts.

Specific Types of Newel Post Heights

1. Top/Bottom Newel Turning NT160

(Sizes are examples only)

The NT160, also known as the top or bottom newel turning, is a workhorse stair part. This versatile newel post reigns supreme for its functionality and adaptability.

The defining characteristic of the NT160 lies in its name. Unlike newel posts designed specifically for the top or bottom of a staircase, the NT160 excels in both. 

This versatility makes it a perfect choice for a variety of staircase configurations and ensures a coherent design from top to bottom.

You’lll see NT160 on:

  • Straight staircases: The NT160 shines on straightforward, single-flight staircases. Installed at the top and bottom, it adds a touch of elegance.
  • Landing transitions: For staircases with landings, the NT160 seamlessly bridges the gap. It can be used at the beginning and end of the landing run, maintaining a consistent style throughout.
  • Post-to-post stairs: The NT160 is built for “post-to-post” systems, a common staircase construction method. This system utilizes newel posts for support, with balusters (spindle-like supports) connecting them for the handrail.

Material and dimensions

The standard NT160 is available in pine, hemlock, primed, and oak for a luxurious aesthetic.

The NT160 features a square post that usually measures 3.5 inches x 3.5 inches (90mm). This size provides a substantial presence without overwhelming the overall design. 

The turning itself, often described as a “tulip” style, adds a graceful curve to the post, creating a visually appealing transition between the vertical post and the horizontal handrail.

Additional considerations

While the NT160 is a highly versatile option, it’s worth considering the overall style of your staircase. 

The tulip turning offers a classic elegance, but for more modern or minimalist design themes, a different style of newel post might be more fitting.

2. Winder Newel Turning NT202

(Sizes are examples only)

The NT202, also known as the winder newel turning, is a specialist option. 

This newel post caters specifically to navigating the turns and curves encountered in “winder” staircases. 

Unlike straight runs, winder staircases utilize angled steps to change direction, creating a more compact design.

The NT202’s defining feature is its ability to accommodate the unique geometry of a winder staircase. 

  • Handrail continuity: The NT202’s turning profile provides a solid and stylish base for the handrail to seamlessly curve around the corner, ensuring a safe and comfortable ascent or descent.
  • Kite winder support: The turning profile of the NT202 offers support for both the upper and lower sections of the handrail on the kite winder, creating a structurally sound design.

Material and dimensions

The standard NT202 is crafted from solid wood like pine and oak. The NT202 features a square post measuring 3.5 inches x 3.5 inches (90mm), providing a sturdy and substantial presence on the turning point of the staircase. 

The key difference lies in the turning itself. The NT202 incorporates a 90-degree bend, allowing for the smooth connection of handrails on both sides of the winder.

Additional considerations

While the NT202 excels in winder staircases, it’s not suitable for straight runs.

3. Intermediate Newel Turning – NT415

(Sizes are examples only)

The intermediate newel turning NT415 acts as a bridge between landings in a multi-level staircase.

Unlike newel posts designed for the top or bottom, the NT415 provides a secure and stylish connection point midway through your ascent or descent.

The NT415’s defining characteristic lies in its double block design. This translates to two distinct turning sections stacked upon each other. 

This unique configuration serves a specific purpose:

  • Handrail continuity: The NT415’s double block design provides separate anchor points for the handrail sections on both the lower and upper flights of stairs. This ensures a smooth and secure transition, enhancing both safety and aesthetics.
  • Visual appeal: The NT415 typically features a “tulip” style turning, adding a touch of elegance to the midpoint of your staircase. This decorative element creates a visually interesting focal point.

Material and dimensions

The NT415 typically comes in a range of solid woods, offering affordability and a classic look. 

The NT415 is a square post measuring 3.5 inches x 3.5 inches (90mm) for a sturdy presence. 

The double block design adds extra length. The lower block incorporates a spigot designed to fit snugly into a pre-drilled newel base for secure floor or landing installation.

Additional considerations

The NT415 is ideal for staircases with landings but might not be the best choice for single-flight configurations. 

For straight runs, consider top/bottom newel posts like the NT160. When used appropriately, the NT415 injects both functionality and elegance into your multi-level staircase, creating a safe and visually captivating passageway within your home.

Newel Post Height on the Staircase

The standard height for newel posts on a staircase may vary depending on local building codes and individual preferences, but there are general guidelines that are widely followed. Here are the typical specifications for newel post heights on a staircase:

On the Rake (Stair Slope)

  • Residential Use: The height of a newel post on the rake is usually around 36 to 42 inches (91 to 107 cm) from the nosing of the tread directly below the post.
  • Commercial Use: For commercial settings, this height can increase to around 42 inches (107 cm) or higher to meet safety regulations.

On the Landing

  • Residential Use: The height of a newel post on a landing is generally consistent with the handrail height, which is typically around 36 to 42 inches (91 to 107 cm) from the floor of the landing.
  • Commercial Use: Similar to the rake, commercial buildings often require a height of 42 inches (107 cm) or more for safety.

Additional Considerations for Newel Post Height

  • Local Building Codes: You should always check your local building codes as they may have specific requirements that differ from the general guidelines.
  • Handrail Continuity: Ensure that the handrail height is continuous and at the same level along the staircase and landing for safety and aesthetic purposes.
  • Baluster and Spacing: Ensure the newel post height complements the balusters and maintains the correct spacing and height for the handrail.

These general newel post height guidelines help ensure safety and comfort but adjustments may be necessary based on the specific design and local regulations.

Read More: How to Install a Wood Newel Post

Interested in bespoke Newel Turnings for your own staircase? Contact Dutchess Millwork today for a fast, free quotation!