How to Replace Newel Caps
Replacing newel caps can instantly improve the look of any staircase. Here, we break down what’s involved in replacing some of the more popular styles of newel cap. These instructions will help you to fit our timber flat newel caps or our forge metal flat caps.
- How to replace a square newel cap with a flat newel cap
- How to replace an acorn/ball newel cap with a flat newel cap
Want to find out more about newel posts? Read our guide to newel posts for information on what a newel post is, the different types available, frequently asked questions and much more.
How to replace a square newel cap with a flat newel cap
What is a newel cap?
A newel cap sits on the top of a newel post to give it a finishing touch. The caps are available in metal and timber and in a range of styles from decorative ball and acorn caps to modern flat newel caps.
- Check if the current newel cap is screwed or glued into place.
- If the newel cap is screwed into place, there will likely be a circular shape on the top of the newel cap that is noticeably different to the surrounding timber. This is known as a cover button and is used to hide drill holes. If the newel cap is painted and the cap is screwed on, the cover button will look like a circular bump on the top of the newel cap.
- If the newel cap is glued, there will be no noticeable marks at the top of the newel post and the cap should be relatively easy to replace.
If you don’t feel confident removing the newel cap, contact a joiner for advice.
If your newel post is painted, continue to step 2. If your newel post is not painted, continue to step 3.
- Use a sharp chisel or craft knife to run around where the newel cap joins the newel post. Work carefully and slowly to avoid any accidents. This will help to stop the paint splitting and leaving a poor finish after you have removed the cap.
- Using a small hammer, carefully hit the underside of the newel cap, all the way round the newel post. This should loosen the cap enough so that you can remove it. If any glue is left on the top of the newel post, clean this off so the top surface of the newel post is flat.
Please note: If the previous cap was attached with a large amount of glue, it may be difficult to remove without damaging the top of the newel post in the process. If this happens, you will need to sand or fill in the top of the newel post to create a flat surface for the new cap.
- Make sure your new newel cap fits the newel post. Take some wood glue and place a small amount in the centre of the flat surface, so nothing can spill down the sides.
- Attach the cap firmly and fix it with masking tape, so the cap stays in place while the glue dries.
How to replace an acorn/ball newel cap with a flat newel cap
Most ball newel caps are held in place with PVA glue. They also usually have a peg that fits directly into the newel post. Removing this type of newel cap can be problematic due to the peg and the amount of glue needed to secure the cap.
If you don’t feel confident removing this type of newel cap, contact a joiner for advice.
The easiest way to remove these caps is to cut them off. They usually have a curved top, so cutting this flat will help prepare the newel post for the new flat newel cap.
- You will need to cut straight across the newel post to create a flat surface. This is best done by measuring where you need to cut, then using a spirit level to mark the cut and make sure it’s flat. If the newel post is painted, apply masking tape to the surface of the post to avoid damaging the paint.
- Once you’ve cut off the top, sand and/or fill in the surface so it’s completely smooth.
- Make sure your new newel cap fits the newel post. Take some wood glue and place a small amount on the centre of the flat surface, so nothing can spill down the sides.
- Attach the cap firmly and hold it in place with some masking tape while the glue dries.
View our range of newel caps here to find the perfect finishing touch for your balustrade.
Read our complete guide to newel posts here for information on the different types of newel posts, fixings and accessories and much more.