How to Install a Stair Nosing Strip

How to Install a Stair Nosing Strip

Stair nosing strips can enhance the aesthetic appeal of the staircase while also enhancing its overall performance and safety. By safeguarding the edges of the stairs from wear and tear, chipping and cracking can be prevented. The quick and effortless installation of a stair nosing strip makes it an ideal do-it-yourself project.

Most stair nosings have an L-shaped or 90-degree profile when viewed from the side. This design allows the strip to wrap around two surfaces: horizontally across the top edge of the stair tread and vertically down over the riser. Some stair nosing strips have an L-shape that is curved on the front to conform with bullnose-shaped stair treads.

Stair nosings make stair treads and risers look nice and keep the edges safe from damage. And because most stair nosing strips have a grooved texture, they’re also slip-resistant.

Ultimately, the subtle lip serves as a crucial safeguard against any possible tread slippage and also serves as a clear visual marker of the tread’s precise orientation.

What Tools You Need to Prepare

Measuring tape
Mechanical pencil
Hand or power saw
Cordless drill
Professional-grade caulk gun
Hammer or mallet
Assorted drill bits
Metal file (if necessary)


1. Measure the Stair

Just grab a tape measure and measure the width of the stair tread. If your stairs are open on one or both sides, you can just set the nosing in place and mark where to cut it.

2. Cut the Stair Nosing Strip

Please mark the width on the stair nosing and proceed to cut the nosing to the appropriate length. When working with metal stair nosings, it is recommended that you use a hacksaw for optimal results. For plastic stair nosings, either a hacksaw or tin snips will suffice. Please exercise caution while sawing to prevent the formation of metal burrs along the cut edge, as aluminum is susceptible to this. In the event that burrs are present, kindly use a metal file to remove them and smoothen the edge.

3. Dry-Fit the Stair Nosing Strip

Please ensure a snug fit by firmly placing the strip onto the leading edge of the stair tread. The strip presents a flat side with pre-drilled nail holes and a curved side. The curved side should be positioned against the stair riser (front), while the flat side should rest atop the stair (the tread).

4. Pre-Drill the Pilot Holes

In many cases, it is possible to directly insert nails into stair materials. However, certain situations, such as solid hardwood flooring types, thick laminates, or tile, may require an alternative approach. It may be necessary to pre-drill nail holes to penetrate the dense layers, underlayment, and subflooring effectively.

To comply with professional standards, we suggest relocating the nosing strip’s holes by marking them on the step with a pencil in the aforementioned cases. Remove the strip and drill pilot holes in each location with a drill bit that is slightly smaller than the nails’ diameter for hardwoods, laminates, or other hard surfaces.

5. Add Adhesive Caulk

For added durability, it may be beneficial to apply a small amount of adhesive caulk beneath the stair nosing. Use a 1/4-inch to 3/8-inch bead of caulk on the interior angle of the nosing strip as necessary.

6. Install the Stair Nosing Strip

Secure the nosing strip firmly in its designated spot using nails, starting from one end and then progressing to the other. Promptly remove any excess adhesive that may have seeped out. Be cautious to keep the unfastened end of the stair nosing strip in position to ensure it remains securely placed.

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