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8 Typical Stair Nosing Types (With Pictures)

Modern wooden staircase with stair nosing strip

When designing a staircase, you need to ensure that it’s safe for people of all ages. This is why you should consider the type of stair trends you’ll use, as well as the nosing. These two aspects are extremely important whether you want a simple or complex look.

Keep in mind that the stair treads and nosing will impact the look and overall safety of the building. If you’re not sure the type of nosing to go with, we’ve got you covered. In this article, we’ve listed several stair-nosing types and their pros and cons. Read on to find one that works for you.

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What Is a Stair Nosing?

A stair nosing is a strip of material attached to each stair edge in a staircase. It’s a relatively modern design, but it’s often suited to traditional staircase designs. Stair nosing can be installed merely for aesthetic purposes or more practical reasons.

Continuous use of stairs means the stair edge will wear out over time, and getting stair nosing prevents this from happening. It also allows the stairs to remain in mint condition for longer. Additionally, the nosing guards against tripping hazards and reduces the risk of slipping and tripping when climbing stairs.

Selecting the Right Stair Nosing Types

There are many options for stair-nosing as different companies and manufacturers specialize in various unique stair-nosing trends. This is why it’s often difficult to choose the best one for your home. Well, for starters, there are several factors you need to consider before picking a style.

1. The Environment

Top view of an outdoor stair with nosing
Image Credit: Davinsi, Shutterstock

Stair nosing offers specific functions depending on the environment they are installed in. If the area you live in experiences extreme temperatures, you need to consider whether the stair nosing is affected by extreme heat or cold.

You should also check if the stair nosing can be placed outdoors or indoors.

2. Type of Material Used

Stair nosing can be made from rubber, PVC, bronze, glass, wood, and aluminum. The setting where you’ll be installing them should influence the material that works best for you. For example, glass is inappropriate for outdoor settings in places with extreme winters.

If you are installing the stair nosing in a hotel lobby and want it to be part of the hotel attractions, it would be best to go with brass or bronze stair nosing or any material that fits the color scheme. If the stair nosing is for a backstage area, then wood, aluminum, and PVC will do.

3. Budget

PVC anti-slip stair nose
Image Credit: cheepphoto, Shutterstock

Like most building materials, stair nosing comes at different prices. For instance, there is a huge disparity between simpler wood nosing and complex glass or brass nosing. The design of the nosing and treads also affects the price.

PVC is often the cheapest, costing an average of $2.00 per linear foot, while a linear foot for a bronze stair nosing costs $50.00. Determining your budget will allow you to know which company offers the best quality for that price.

4. The Traffic on the Stairs

The steps should be capable of holding the number of people using them at any time. Stairs with light traffic don’t require the same stair nosing and treads as those with heavy traffic. You can use thinner and cheaper nosing when the traffic on the steps is low and vice versa.

If the traffic on the steps is heavy, the materials need to be durable.

5. The Setting

basement stairs
Image Credit: pisaphotography, Shutterstock

Some companies only make stair nosing for residential buildings, while others only serve commercial markets. You need to conduct proper research and find a company that can take care of your specific needs.

tool divider The 8 Types of Stair Nosing

1. No-overhang Nosing

no hang stair nosing
Image Credit: Reinhard Thrainer, Pixabay

The no-overhang stair nosing is popular because it has a sleek finished look, provides a minimalist aesthetic, and appears as a single construction. Installing it is also easy.

It looks exactly as it sounds, the nosing is at the same level and trims as the riser, and the stairs look simple and elegant. The design is mostly made using timber. Treads can be placed to create a distinct clean line with the option of a shadow line.

2. Square Edge Nosing

You can tell a square edge stair nosing by the way it juts out at the edge of each staircase. It also has a rounded edge, effectively preventing dents and scratches from repeated use. The design adds clean lines to the staircase and creates a beautiful aesthetic.

3. Half-Round Stair Nosing

The half-round stair nosing is also referred to as a bull nose. It has a smooth and curved design on the edges, which gives it a chick appeal. The surface between the edges is usually flat in most cases and takes the shape of a half-moon.

4. Full Round Stair Nosing

A full round stair nosing curves around the step and is usually used on the landing step only. This is because it has less slip protection compared to other stair nosings. It’s mostly found on grand-scale staircases and is usually installed for aesthetics, not practicability. It also has a smooth look and feel.

5. Pencil-Round Nosing

Pencil-round nosing gets its name due to the resemblance between the roundness of the edges with that of a sideways pencil. It’s mostly made using timber and can be left carpeted or exposed. This nosing is associated with traditional designs and is pretty rare to see in modern architecture.

6. Bendy Bull Stair Nosing

The bendy bull nosing is mostly used for stairs already fitted with an LVT. It comes with screws and a simple method of installation. It’s pretty simple to install this type of nosing, and it’s mostly used for aesthetic purposes since it adds a more elegant and minimalistic look.

7. Ali Wrap Nosing

Ali wrap nosing is usually made from wood, is very durable, and can easily fit into any existing overhang without compromising the state of the riser. It can also be used on a wide range of stair edges since it pairs well with several finishes. The finishes mostly used to install this nosing include; brass, chrome, and black.

8. No Bull Nosing

This type of stair nosing often comes in various finishes and has a stylish method of securing the vinyl to the staircase. Unlike most nosing types, it has no curving on the edges, which allows it to lie flat against the stairs. It has a clean and simple design, making it popular for commercial buildings.

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Benefits of Stair Nosing

There are several benefits of installing stair nosing in your home or institution. They include

1. Aesthetics

White Stair Risers
Image Credit: All About Space, Shutterstock

When picking the right stair nosing for your house, you need to consider how it will look. This is especially true if the stairs lead up to your house and are the first thing guests will see. A rounded edge gives the entire room a softer impression than a square edge. So, if you want your office or organization to look sharp to investors, it would be better to go with square nosing.

2. Safety

Most stair nosings are non-slip and non-trip. They offer more grip since there is a small gap between the nosing and the step, which provides a larger surface area for your foot to land.

3. Performance

Old Stairs
Image Credit: Lucía Hernández, Unsplash

Scratches on stairs are less likely to be visible and noticeably if you install a stair nosing. If you plan on using the stairs for a long time without having to replace them, this is your cue to get one. However, some damage will still be visible, especially with heavy traffic.

4. Cost-effective

Maintaining a staircase with stair nosing is easier, especially if you use quality treads and materials. You also don’t need to replace the stairs as often as you would without one.

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How to Install Stair Nosing Using Black Finishing

The installation process depends on the stair nosing type and the staircase you have. However, most installation steps are pretty basic and must be followed in all cases, no matter what staircase and nosing you have.

1. Clean the Floor

Cleaning tools in bucket on stair are prepare to cleaning
Image Credit: Piyaset, Shutterstock

Before installing any stair nosing, you must first clean the floor. This means ensuring there are no pre-existing cracks in the floor and no dust or debris. To do this, consider vacuuming the area and wiping it down with a rag and water with detergent. If the stairs have any damage, such as cracks and holes, apply a wood filler and allow it to dry before sanding it down.

2. Take Measurements

You need to make sure you measure your staircase before you start installing the stair nosing, including measuring the edges. You must be attentive to the curve, shape, and size covered area.

3. Prepping

top view of stairs construction
Image Credit: dotshock, Shutterstock

You need to take several steps when preparing for a stair nosing. The first step is ensuring that all the pieces are cut according to your desired size and design. If you plan to do the installation work yourself, you must double-check before making the first cut. You can also cut the pieces slightly bigger than they need to be to give you room to trim them down.

4. Dry Fitting

Before you apply the finish and nail the stair nosing down with screws and adhesive, try dry fitting to ensure that everything has been measured correctly. Dry fitting also allows you to gauge whether that specific style fits your aesthetic.

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If you want a simple, stylish, durable stair nosing, consider using wood or brass. You should only use glass inside the house when you’re sure there will be low traffic on the steps. It’s vital that you take your time and conduct proper research before deciding on the style and shape of the stair nosing you want to install.

Featured Image Credit: Sila Pinprasert, Shutterstock


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