Types of nosing

UK Home Improvement

Types of Nosing

Every staircase is made up of a whole host of different elements and features. 

From the balusters to the handrail, every part of a staircase design plays its part in ensuring stairs are practical and aesthetically pleasing.

One key part of a staircase is the nosing.

As well as providing the staircase with an attractive facade, nosing plays a practical role on stairs and it’s important that your staircase has the right type installed.

With so many different types of nosing available, it can be difficult to know which is the best type for your property. 

In this article, we’ll take a look at the types of stair nosing, outlining each option to help you understand what is the best choice for you. Read on to find out more.

What is stair nosing?

First, it’s important to establish exactly what stair nosing is and the role it performs for a staircase.

One of many elements that make up a staircase, stair nosing is a strip of material that is attached to the edge of every step and that is installed to protect the stairs from damage and general wear and tear. Without nosing, steps can easily become damaged suffering from marks, scratches and sometimes even more severe issues. 

Stair nosing can be made from a wide range of different materials including wood, rubber, metal and more and is available in all shapes and sizes meaning it can easily be tailored to the exact type of stairs in your home. 

Plus, designs can be made to look contemporary for modern staircases or offer a more classic design if you want a traditional look; options are always tailored to the aesthetic requirements and preferences of the user. 

While it might not seem like a hugely significant addition to a staircase, without nosing you may soon find your steps become badly damaged.  

What are the benefits of stair nosing?

As mentioned above, stair nosing refers to the edge of a stair tread that protrudes beyond the riser. It serves several roles including the dual purpose of protecting the stairs and providing an aesthetically pleasing look. Stair nosing contributes to the safety and longevity of a staircase, and it comes with a wide range of benefits.

This includes:

Safety enhancement

Stair nosing provides a slip-resistant edge to the stairs, minimising the risks of slips, trips and falls. This is especially the case in areas of high foot traffic or if the area is exposed to moisture. The contrast in colour and texture between the nosing and the main stair helps individuals to perceive the edge of steps more easily, protecting people as they ascend or descend. 

Durability and protection

Another great benefit of stair nosing is that it helps to protect the edge of the stair treads from wear and tear as well as damage that can be caused by the impact of regular foot traffic. This is particularly important in commercial or public spaces where stairs may experience heavy use. 

Aesthetic appeal

Not only does stair nosing provide a range of practical benefits, but it can also contribute to the overall aesthetic appeal of the staircase and complement the interior design of a space. Stair nosing is available in various materials, styles and colours and so can be tailored specifically to the design you want.

Great comfort

Nosing provides a smooth and comfortable transition between steps, ensuring a more natural and easier walking experience. This may be important in households where people have mobility challenges. 

Low maintenance

Stair nosing helps to reduce the accumulation of dirt and debris at the edge of your stairs. This makes cleaning and maintenance easier and more manageable, something that is particularly important for stairs in high-traffic areas.     

These are some of the general advantages of stair nosing, but each individual type also has its own specialist benefits.  

Types of nosing

Stair nosing is available in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and styles and the type that is best for you broadly depends on what you’re looking to achieve. 

The main types of nosing you can choose from include:

Pencil round nosing 

This type of nosing, as the name suggests, features edges that resemble the edge of a pencil. This includes rounded corners and an absence of sharp edges. 

The front of the edging is flat and it is a suitable choice for both modern and traditional staircases and designs. Usually, this is the preferred choice of stair nosing for those households that contain children or pets as the edges are not sharp and there is, therefore, less of a chance of an accident occurring. 

Square nosing

One of the more subtle options, while square nosing is (unsurprisingly) predominately square in shape, it also includes slightly rounded edges that provide great protection against potential damage. 

This offers a visually striking appearance that helps make your staircase a feature of a room and is suitable for those looking for bold design choices. 

Half-round nosing

Half-round nosing, also sometimes referred to as a ‘bull-nose’, is a type of stair nosing that has smooth, curved edges at the stair edge but also features a flat surface in the middle. 

Typically, this style is favoured for the landing stair which is the step at the bottom of the staircase. This is because it provides additional space on the bottom step. 

Full-round nosing 

The full-round nosing is a smooth, rounded curve that extends around the entire edge of a step. 

Often, this shape is only used on the landing stair as it is not as slip-safe as some of the other options. It’s often a more stylistic choice than a practical choice. 

No overhang nosing

If the staircase nosing sits flush with the riser and has no overhanging pieces, it is known as no overhang nosing.  

This produces a magnificent look and offers the illusion of a continuous shape throughout the staircase.

One of the most contemporary types of nosing available, it’s perfect for those looking to create a modern look in their property.


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