A Stair Nose is used to round off the forward edge of the top, horizontal surface of a stairstep. It not only provides a unique finish for the edge of a step, covering the exposed edges of the surface material, but it also helps make the step safe to walk on. It can help you see the ends of your stairs in low light, and provide a non slip border for the end of each step. Basically, the stair nose overlaps or connects with the top surface of the flooring, and then hooks a round to meet the vertical face.
If the piece connects with the locking mechanism on the top piece of flooring, it’s called “flush”. You can also lay a stair nose flush if the locking mechanisms aren’t compatible, by cutting each edge flat and pressing them against each other. If it is a more generic piece, resting slightly over the top of the edge of the flooring, then dropping down to rest on the step’s subfloor before arcing down to the vertical face, it’s called “overlap”.
You may read online here or there that the stair nose can be used where the laminate flooring meets the staircase. This might be a little misleading, because it sounds like you would use this piece where your first level floor meets the bottom of the staircase, and that really isn’t going to work. What you want there is either a quarter round nailed to the staircase bottom, or an endcap resting over the flooring. On the other hand, this use of a stair nose is proper at the top of a staircase, where the floor becomes the top of the first step.
Stair nosing can be installed on wood and concrete steps, as well as those with an open grating, and checker plates. They are a must if you use laminate flooring on your stairs. You would not need these trim pieces if your steps are made of a stair tread and a riser. (Those form what appears to be a single piece of wood going from the top to the front of the step. Each piece is glued to the staircase, the riser to the vertical front, and the stair tread to the top, sometimes meeting flush at the corner, and sometimes overhanging. No noses are needed with this kind of construction.)
– – – –
David is a Writer at Floors To Your Home (.com), as well as the PPC Manager, a Marketing Strategy Team member, a Researcher, Videographer, Social Strategist, Photographer and all around Resource Jitō. In my spare time I shoot and edit video, explore film history, mix music (as in ‘play with Beatles multi-tracks’) and write non-fiction for my friends. Connect with me on W. David Lichty’s Google+