I got a call from a family that needed to know how to fix a loose newel post on their stairway. This is the post at the bottom of the stairway that anchors the handrail. It’s a pretty important structural component in the handrail and baluster assembly.
Actually, the post was more than loose…it had been removed. They had put in a new ceramic tile floor and the contractor had taken a reciprocating saw and cut through the screws that had secured the post to the floor. They wanted the post put back in place. But the problem was, there was a ceramic floor tile located where the post needed to be. How would I go about anchoring the post securely?
For new construction, it’s best to secure the post to the floor joists before laying the subfloor. But I didn’t have that luxury. After researching some possible solutions online, here’s what I came up with.
I drilled a small hole in the ceramic tile centered on the location where the newel post needed to be. I stuck a wire through the hole and into the basement. A quick trip down the basement stairs revealed what I had hoped to see — the wire popped through between two accessible floor joists.
With that discovery, I decided to anchor the post with a long piece of 1/2″ threaded rod epoxied into the bottom of the post. This meant drilling a 1/2″-diameter hole about 12″ deep, centered on the bottom of the post. (I happened to have a long auger bit.) I mixed a wad of epoxy putty and stuffed in into the hole, then tapped in the threaded rod, twisting it as much as I could the get a good “bite” into the epoxy. For extra measure, I dribbled some Gorilla Glue polyurethane glue onto the rod as I tapped it in place.
I’ll enlarge the hole in the ceramic tile to 1/2″-diameter with a masonry bit. Then I’ll head to the basement and secure a block of 2-by material to the underside of the floor between the joists. I’ll head back upstairs, spread a bead of silicone on the bottom of the post, and insert the threaded rod through the hole. A fender washer, split lock washer, and nut should secure it.
We’ll see how it goes. If it doesn’t work out, you’ll be the first to know about it.
Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.