How to Fit a Balustrade


Top Tip
If it is possible to have a qualified carpenter fit your stairs please do so. If you want to fit the stairs yourself please bear in mind the following top tips

Step 1- Fit the top and bottom newel post first.
Sand the tang (the round bit at the end of the newel post that fits into the newel base) with sandpaper to ensure a smooth fit. Dry fit both newels first to ensure both fit well. Drill a 5mm hole in the side of the newel base into the cavity centre, this will allow air to escape and ensure a really tight fit. Apply glue to both the tang and the newel base. Fit the newel post into the base by applying turning, downward pressure until the gap between the newel and the newel base has closed. Key point is to ensure the post is square and plumb to the stairs and the newel base.

Step 2- Take the angle of the stairs using a bevel square
This angle will be used to cut the String cap, the handrail and the newel post.

Step 3- Cut the string cap & handrail to length and correct angles
Cut the string cap first. It is the lightest and easiest to manage. Once the cuts have been made dry fit to ensure a good fit is ready. Once confirmed, align the string cap to the handrail and mark the handrail for cutting also. Cut the handrail.
Fix the string cap to the stairs using glue and 40mm screws. Screw straight down through the string cap into the stairs string.
Remember to clean any residual dirt or glue from the string cap once secured

Step 3- Fix the handrail to the newel post
Cut two spindles to height using the same angle used for string cap and handrail. Remember to reverse the angle for top and bottom of the spindle. The spindle height should be maintained. Now place one spindle in the string cap and next to the top newel, and the bottom newel. Use a small clamp to hold each spindle in place. Gently place the handrail on each spindle.

Start by fixing the handrail to the bottom newel. First drill a plug hole in the newel- then a 6mm hole through the newel and into the handrail. This hole will guide your screw and ensure a tight fit. Drill your screw through the newel post and into the handrail. Remember to wipe clean excess glue and dirt.

The top handrail is affixed from the bottom as you are approaching it from a different angle to the bottom. Drill two countersunk holes by using a 10mm bit, followed by a 5/6mm bit to drill through the handrail and into the newel post. This hole will guide the screws. Drill two 70mm screws through the handrail into the newel post. Remember to wipe clean excess glue and dirt.

Step 4- Cut the spindles
Cut all spindles according to the same angle as the first two spindles. Check for tops & bottoms before making the cuts

Step 5- Cut the infill
Cut the infill at the same angle as the spindles. Remember the largest allowed gap between the spindles is 100mm on the horizontal. Start at the bottom. It goes like this- infill then spindle then infill then spindle. If all infills are cut the same length the spindles will be plumb.


The only difference between a landing and stairs balustrade is how the newel post is secured. If you need to secure to the wall follow the same instructions above on fitting the handrail to the newel post (pilot hole, 6mm drill bit, 100mm screw into the stud/ or other fixing if into block/stone) and then set up the strong cap and handrail the same way. This is a little easier than on the stairs as there is no angle to worry about

Take your time. Use a bevel square. 5mm air-holes in newel base. Try to drill plug holes first for a better finish at the end.