Building stairs is one of the most difficult parts of building a house, and building handrails is the most difficult part of stair building. There are two types of open handrail systems. The first is the post-to-post system, in which the rail is cut to fit between the individual newel posts and the posts extend above the rail line. Height change is achieved by using different post lengths and types.

In the second method, known as the over-the-post system, the handrail runs in an unbroken flow from bottom to top of the stair flight. This provides a nice clean look, but it makes for a more challenging installation. Unlike the post-to-post system, where the rail can be cut into the post at one height and exit the post at another, changing...

or Register to read the full article.