3 Basic Styles:

1.  "Post to Post "

The railing runs between the newel posts as depicted here. This traditional style of staircase design allows for the newels to be of a Box construction, or a Ball Top turning.  Mid span posts on a raked hand rail interrupt the continuous use of the handrail and are considered illegal in most jurisdictions. Lateral strength on rail runs in excess of 10' in length can be achieved by other methods, but this design lends itself well to "L", "T"  or "U" shaped stairs with a legal landing at the turn in direction mid-way on the overall length of the rake. Most building codes allow for interruptions of continuous railing in the case of the staircase being divided into individual flights by a mid landing or turn in direction.

This is a photo of a "post to post" design.

2.  "Over the Post " 



The railing runs over the top of the newel posts as the name suggests.  This classic style of staircase has a fluid look to the railing and is easily adapted to any shape of stair with the use of rail fittings







  This is a photo of an "over the post" design


3.  "Combination Post "


A combination of both of the above (#1 and #2) designs used carefully** can make a dramatic statement in your entry foyer.

**CAUTION: The best of both worlds could become an eclectic architectural mistake, throwing off the balance of the overall staircase. 

This design can truly be the best of both worlds when employed tastefully as shown in this drawing and photo.



This is a photo of an "combination post" design

Note:  All three of the drawings and photos above depict an open tread design (visible treads in this view).  Incorporating the use of a curb wall  is a design possibility with any style of balustrade or stair shape.

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