A stair nose is a piece of material that is used to cover the top (horizontal) edge surface of a step. The purpose of installing stair nosing is to protect the part of the stair that tends to wear down the fastest (the top, horizontal edge of each step that is most often used when people climb stairs), as well as for preventing slips and falls on stairs.
As stair nosing is available in a variety of different finishes, colors, and materials, you should be able to find a stair nose product that meets your needs with regard to both style and utility.
You may be wondering; how do I install stair nose? Is it difficult to install on my own? Do I need to hire a professional to install stair nose? In short, to install stair nose on floating floor, you’ll need to ensure that you carefully measure your stairs to get a better idea of the size of stair nosing that you’ll need, order the appropriate amount of materials, remove any carpeting or other materials from the stairs, ensure the stairs are level, install shims (technique and number will vary depending on your selected stair nose), and securely attaching the stair nose to the step using construction glue or nails to secure the stair nosing to the stairs/shim.
Keep reading for more information and a detailed breakdown of installing stair nose, the purpose of stair nosing, and the types of stair nosing available.
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Step-by-Step Guide on How to Install Stair Nose (DIY)
- First and foremost, you’ll want to ensure you obtain accurate measurements of all parts of your stairs, which is especially important if you have stairs that vary in size as they go up or down. You’ll want to ensure you get accurate measurements for the tread, riser, and overall length/height/depth of each step.
- Order your flooring and matching stair nosing (be sure to specify that you want matching stair nose and flooring, otherwise you may end up with two very different looks on your stairs). It’s best to order a bit more than you’ll need, according to your measurements, which leaves room for a margin of error. Typically, there are Standard Flush Mount stair nose and Overlap stair nose available. The installation is slightly different for each (more details below).
- Remove any carpet on your stairs; you may need a pair of pliers, gloves, a pry bar, and some elbow grease to remove carpet (it’s typically attached using tacks/staples or an adhesive strip).
- You’ll need to ensure the step is completely level; if it’s not, you’ll need to sand the area so that it is completely level.
Standard Flush Mount Stair Nose
- To install Standard Flush Mount stair nose, you’ll need to begin by first installing shims (meant to hold the treads level), which will need to either glue or nail it down. A second shim will need to be applied on top of the first shim, creating an extension underneath the edge of the floating floor of the step
- You’ll then install the stair nosing pad against the shim and attach using construction glue or nails
- If you are planning on using nails/screws, be sure to pre-drill to prevent the stair nose from splitting or cracking.
Overlap Stair Nose
- If installing Overlap stair nosing, you’ll need to make sure you don’t directly attach any molding onto hardwood floor directly (you need to allow for expansion underneath the stair nose).
- You’ll need to install shims where you plan on installing Overlap stair nose; it should be 1-3/4“ from the front edge of the riser.
- To secure the shim in place, you can nail or glue it down.
- Install the floating floor so that it’s over the shim (only 1/4 to 3/8-inch shim should be visible underneath the floor).
- Place the Overlap stair nose in place on the step, using minimal amounts of construction glue to securely attach the stair nose to the subfloor.
- As with any materials, be careful when using screws or nails so as not to split the wood. Overlap stair nose must have a small gap (1/4 to 3/8-inch) to allow for expansion of the hardwood flooring underneath.
Of course, all of the afore-mentioned steps are for a DIY install of stair nosing; if you’re more comfortable, you can have a handyman or contractor install it for you.
The Purpose of Stair Nosing
The purpose of stair nosing is two-fold; stair nosing not only protects the part of each step/stair that tends to wear out, but it can also help to prevent slips and falls. Stair nosing slightly protrudes over the top edge of a step to provide a little extra room for people to place their feet on the step. Stair nosing can make walking up and down the stairs more comfortable while also reducing slip and fall accidents on stairs.
Stair nosing is available in a variety of different finishes and materials, so you can select a variety that will enhance the style and appearance of your stairs. All (indoor) stairs have some form of stair nosing; some stair nose pieces are rounded, some are more square, while some stair nosing doesn’t have any overhang beyond the treads of the steps. Carefully selecting a stair nose material will help to protect your stair treads from wear and damage.
Types of Stair Nosing
There are a variety of options when it comes to stair nose materials. Your selection may be based on one or more of the following factors, including: appearance, price/cost, longevity, and your intended use (for safety, for style, etc.). Stair nosing can be made from a range of materials, which include:
- Wood/Faux Wood
- Laminate (otherwise known as ‘Floating Floor’)
The type of stair nosing that you select may be more or less suited for a particular use (for example, indoor use versus outdoor use or for safety versus appearance); if you are unsure about what type of stair nose is the best choice for your needs, you can ask an employee at a hardware store that sells stair nose, seek out a contractor or technician (who will likely be able to help guide your selection and install it for you, if that’s something you’re interested in), or you could do research online based on your needs.
Stair nosing is also available in different finishes, such as rounded, square, or stair nosing that does not have an overhang (the stair nosing is flush with the treads of the stairs). You’ll also find that generally, Standard Flush Mount or Overlap stair nose moldings are the most popular offering. Certain types of stair nose finishes complement different design motifs and styles better than others; for example, a square finish stair nose would beautifully complement a modern-contemporary design style, while a rounded finish stair nose would complement a more traditional-classic style.
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A Final Note
Installing stair nosing may sound daunting and tedious, but in reality, it can be quite simple. To ensure you get the best results from your stair nose installation, first make sure you are purchasing the correct stair nose for your needs and style preferences (Standard Flush Mount stair nose, for when you don’t want an overhang, or Overlap stair nose for a similar look and simple installation). No matter what, if you don’t feel comfortable doing the installation yourself, you can seek out a contractor or handyman to help, as you will have to install shims in addition to the stair nosing.