Newel – Our Word of the Week


Newel, or Newel Post – a newel, or newel post is the post at the bottom of a flight of stairs, or at turning points in the stair. A newel supports the handrail. It’s usually larger and more detailed than the other posts (balusters) that make up the handrail support system. The newel post is where the handrail starts when you’re heading up the stairs – or it’s where the handrail ends if you’re coming down. The style of a newel post can emphasize the overall architectural style of the house and is an important decorative element in the house.

Newels serve an important structural function. They are the strength of the railing. Unlike the balusters that are lightly anchored to the stair treads, newels are anchored deeply into the frame of the stairs. They not only look like the right way to anchor a railing, they actually are the anchors of the railing.

Here’s something most people, including architects, don’t know. In the case of a spiral staircase, the center pole that the stairs wrap around is also called a newel.


I hope this information is helpful to you. You might want to get yourself a copy of my best-seller, Designing Your Perfect House. It is chockfull of valuable tips and advice that will save you many times the cost of the book on your house building or remodeling project. You might also like The Well-Centered Home: Simple Steps to Increase Mindfulness, Self-Awareness, and Happiness Where You Live. It will show you how to make your home a happy place.

Bill Hirsch | Architect

Bill Hirsch

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