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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
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    cold, snowy, humid northeast
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    Default How to Anchor Deck Newel Posts

    My question is can a good solid deck newel post (freestanding at bottom of stairs) be accomplished without anchoring the newel directly to concrete? Here are a couple of pics with added comments/questions. I'd like to know if these methods might accomplish a newel that resists lateral movement and feels strong (without bracketing the newel to the concrete)?


    I like this because of it's simplicity. For those who have used this boxing in method, does it (or a variation of it) offer a solid newel post? I'm picturing the use of lateral metal brackets within the framed box (maybe unnecessary). Also, the bottom riser could be bracketed to the concrete.......
    newel post2.jpg





    Does this 2"x4" laying flat at the bottom offer a big advantage because the newel can be anchored to it (hence indirectly anchored to the concrete) This design concerns me because of moisture below this 2"x4" (I suppose it could be shimmed off the slab).
    deck newel.JPG
    Last edited by hank mavery; 09-30-2013 at 08:27 PM.
    Ain't too Proud to Learn

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    563

    Default Re: How to Anchor Deck Newel Posts

    That is pretty much how I install posts in that situation. I put Vycor on the bottom of the post wrap it up the sides a few inches, and any other elements that contact the cement.

    I drill the treads and install screws through the block, riser and stringer. I feel adding these tie points helps.

    I've also done it where I add a stretcher between the post blocks.

    Keep the 2x and bolts as low as you can.

    Tom

  3. #3
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    Sep 2004
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    down the shore
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    Default Re: How to Anchor Deck Newel Posts

    I couldn't get to the attachment, Hank.

    From your description, I gather you lay a 2x4 on the ground and knotch the stringers on top.

    The only problem I have with your picture is there is nothing to stop the stringers from kicking out. I like to either bolt a 2x to the ground and knotch the stringers to it, or set the newels into the ground and bolt the stringers to it. This will lock the stringers in place.

    I normally do the 2x bolted to the ground ( I think the DCA specifies it), but with reservations as 2x's are usually not ground contact. I don't think it will be a problem as it is on concrete and not buried.

    Another way to secure the newel is it to move it back against the second riser. I'll back the riser with a 2x, and bolt the newel both to the riser and to the stringer.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: How to Anchor Deck Newel Posts

    I got the second picture in there, and yes you were right about the 2X4 laying flat with notched stringers Joisey.

    I've used the second riser as an attachment point, but it's not always an option for me. Most exterior newels originate at the front of the bottom tread on the historical homes that I work on, so unfortunately I don't have that option.

    I've searched and searched through the forums here and found where the subject was superficially discussed, but without specifics, e.g., attachment to concrete, brackets/hardware used, framing techniques (welded box?), adhesives used (or not).

    I'm really trying to understand how to make a solid newel attachment that comes out of the front of the bottom tread for decks or porch posts.
    Ain't too Proud to Learn

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
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    Greenville, SC
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    111

    Default Re: How to Anchor Deck Newel Posts

    I've run a 1/2" threaded rod from one newel to the other with solid blocking in between the stringers. When you tighten it down it's rock solid. Of course the higher you can get that rod on the post the less of a lever arm it becomes and that adds to the rigidity. Doing one right now (will finish tomorrow0 where we anchored the 4x4's into the top 2" of the concrete and then notched the newels into the treads and around the stringers. It too is rock solid without the threaded rod. These particular steps are over 10' wide.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    563

    Default Re: How to Anchor Deck Newel Posts

    You could have stood up that 2x4 (or a ripped 2x), notch the 4x4, run another 2x4 (or ripped 2x) stood up behind, bolt through the 2x4 sandwich, also bolt through the stringer and post. Riser hides everything.

    I know about the don't notch the post rule, this assembly can be made to over come the notch.

    Tom

  7. #7
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    Default Re: How to Anchor Deck Newel Posts

    I'm always testing porch newel posts (at bottom of stairs). The trouble is you can never see the carpentry!
    Ain't too Proud to Learn

  8. #8
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    Jun 2004
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    St Louis, Mo for the past 25 years
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    Default Re: How to Anchor Deck Newel Posts

    working on historic homes I have seen the posts set into concrete, as in a hole in the ground and the post in the hole and concrete poured around it. Cannot get much more secure than that.

    Now many will say that it will rot away and it will. But most that I have seen are rotted away about the same time that the rest of the steps need replacing anyway. So if it is an option I have done the post in the hole and been very happy with how sturdy it feels.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
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    18

    Default Re: How to Anchor Deck Newel Posts

    One comment I have about the first picture is that using only one thru bolt creates a pivot point. Adding a second bolts will prevent this from happening. I realize that it is hard to see if there is a perpendicular bolt because of the white fascia trim, but eventually something will loosen up.

  10. #10
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    Northern Jersey
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    Default Re: How to Anchor Deck Newel Posts

    I used to do it like the photo you posted, now I do as SJoisy. I only provide a toe board/shoe cleat in the second photo if I feel the connection is a kick out risk. Its technically correct but I dont like the kind notching out that much of the smallest riser. With the grain it looks like a future split to me.

    But like SJoisey if you move the post back behind the riser you add signifacant strength because you shorten the leverage. You can go even farther, if you doweled down too it would be fabulous.

    If your going composite, most companies sell a taller sleeve. I order them whenever I do steps. You will need it.
    Tom

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Stamford CT
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    108

    Default Re: How to Anchor Deck Newel Posts

    I've used the post sleeves that mount to concrete. They are great. I've also tried to lag screw/ thru bolt to the stringer. Being that the point of connection is so low down on the post, the leverage or force that can be applied is too much for any real lateral resistance to take place. The only way I've successfully gotten a super stiff newel is to set it as deep as you can into the ground. Even some post setting agent helps, too. I agree that it should be wrapped in Grace or vycor.
    I'm open to suggestions, though. It is a common problem I gather.
    Good topic.

    With decking, seems easy. Connect down below at framing and block it all in. Doesn't Simpson make a nice corner brace?

    My question. Is the reason u don't want to notch, because it weakens the whole thing? I've tried this, and screwed into structure through the newly gained overlap. Again. Leverage, right?
    Amazing there isn't some product out there but physics are what they are, eh.

    Jon
    Last edited by JNComplete; 10-24-2013 at 09:10 PM. Reason: incomplete

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