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Wondering how to fit your timber balustrade or how to fit wooden spindles to stairs? Torn between oak timber and pine wood? Looking for more information on how to fit oak spindles or how to fit various banister spindles? Then look no further; you have come to the right place! This handy guide will provide information on fitting timber balustrades and components.
Step 1 – Using new or existing newel posts?
Firstly, you need to decide if you are looking to keep your existing newel posts in place, or if you are looking to change these. We offer full newel posts which can be viewed here by exploring the different timbers available such as pine and oak. We also offer a spigot newel post option, which is designed to be used where an existing newel post cannot be completely removed. This video by one of our suppliers, Richard Burbidge, shows how the spigot newel posts are secured in place and a good example of where you would use spigot newels.
It is key that the new newel post or newel base is positioned centrally to the stair string to ensure the handrail can be fitted correctly. Also, you must ensure the newel post is long enough to support the handrail to the height outlined by current legislation (900mm tall, March 2019). The handrail height is measured from the pitch line which is an invisible line running from the bottom to the top of the stairs across the nosings of each tread.
Step 2 – Installing the banister/handrail and base rail
The base rail is very simple to install. All you need to do is place the baserail on top of the string and mark where this needs to be cut to sit flush against the newels. Then simply apply a bit of PVA wood glue and screw the baserail down into the stair string.
Installing the handrail is a very similar concept, however, the handrails are fitted to the newel post and where they gain their strength.
Another option that can be considered for fitting the handrail is our chrome or brushed nickel universal handrail connectors which we have to suit a range of different handrail profiles we offer. These are simply fixed to the newel post and screwed to the handrail and adjust in angle to suit most stairs and landing sections.
Step 3 – Installing the spindles
Now you are ready to install your spindles! This guide focuses on fitting wooden spindles to a stairs, however the first few steps can be applied when fitting other styles such as glass balustrades, chrome spindles or iron balustrades.
Firstly, make sure you’re up to date on all current legislation regarding balustrade, for example, the current requirement for spacing between spindles is a maximum gap that a 100mm sphere cannot pass through. Also for UK domestic balustrades, the handrail height achieved would need to be a minimum of 900mm, therefore requiring you to use this size spindle (March 2019).
*picture above is our contemporary Raymond twist range
Similar to the method of cutting the handrail and base rail, offer the spindles up to the gap between the rails and mark where these need to be cut and to the angle of the stairs. Ensure enough is left at the top and the bottom to fit comfortably into the groove of both rails. Simply space your spindles, equally between the newels. You can use the infill provided to help you do so, but ensure you do not exceed the maximum gap between each spindle which is allowed (currently a maximum of 100mm). You must ensure the infill used between each spindle is at the very least glued in place, if not nailed or pinned also. This will ensure the infill stays in the right place and maintains the consistent flow of the spindles. You would use the same method for fitting spindles to the landing also.
Step 4 – Installing newel caps
Although there is no specific regulation against needing to use newel caps, the majority agree these help complete a staircase refurbishment and finish off the stairs nicely.
We offer a range of newel caps here at Shaw Stairs, including timber and metal caps or even combinations of the two so we are guaranteed to have something that suits your style!
The majority of our newel caps are recessed on the underside so you will simply apply a layer of PVA wood glue and place the caps on top of the post. These are really simple to install yourselves and are great if you aren’t very competent in carpentry!
The following instructions are a guide to be used when fitting timber spindles and parts to a staircase or landing area. If you have any further questions, you can contact our technical sales team on 01827 54988.
*If you are looking to finish your staircase balustrade, then we strongly recommended this is completed prior to installation. The sooner the parts are finished, the sooner they are protected against moisture and other environmental factors. Once installed, we would recommend a final coat to finish the stair parts to a high standard.