Why are there different stair nosing types?
Stair nosing refers to the leading edge of a stair. There are many different stair nosing types in various shapes, sizes and types of materials.
Different types of stair nosing profiles are created based on aesthetic preferences, stair nosing requirements, and the materials used on the flooring as well as the overall suitability of the material for stairs.
Each product and style has its own benefits and differences such as durability and ease of maintenance. So, the choice of nosing often depends on the specific needs and design goals of a project as well as the suitability of the material for use in the specific environment or setting.
Common shops and types of stair nosing
Flush face or no overhang stair nosing
Flush face or no overhang stair nosing means that the nosing is flush with the riser, forming a 90-degree angle. With flush stair nosing, there is no protrusion or overhang beyond the vertical face of the riser.
Square stair nosing
Square stair nosing features a square edge with an underside return and forms a 90-degree angle with the riser. It’s a popular choice for both residential and commercial applications because it’s straightforward to install and provides a clean, modern look.
Half-round and full-round stair nosing
Half-round stair nosing type has a semi-circular, rounded profile that protrudes slightly from the front of the stair tread. A full-round stair nosing has a fully circular, rounded profile that protrudes from the front of the stair tread, forming a complete, smooth semicircle.
Though less common in new builds and renovations, these types of nosing are often used to achieve a more traditional and classic look on staircases.
Pencil round stair nosing
Pencil round stair nosing features a small, rounded edge at the front of the stair tread. It is more subtle than the full or half-round profiles and gives the stairs a finished and refined appearance without a pronounced protrusion.
Pencil round nosing is a popular choice in residential applications where a softer edge is desired but without the pronounced curve of a full or half-round profile. It’s often used in homes for its pleasing aesthetic and its safety feature of not having a sharp edge.
Materials used in stair nosing types
Hybrid flooring is designed to bring together the best attributes of both laminate and vinyl. It is constructed in multiple layers, including a core that can be made from a variety of materials, a decorative layer, and an underlay for cushioning and easy installation.
Laminate flooring is a multi-layer flooring product that simulates traditional flooring materials such as timber. It is made by fusing several layers of materials using heat and pressure, typically including a high-density fiberboard core, a decorative layer with a printed image, and a clear protective textured top layer.
Laminate flooring is a popular option, and combined with laminate stair nosing, a harmonious transition between stories can be achieved. Laminate stair nosing can be created with a flush face or square edge and can incorporate Arrowhead® profiles for a high-end and more reliant finish.
Vinyl flooring is a popular and versatile flooring choice known for its resilience, water resistance, and wide range of design options.
Vinyl flooring is made from synthetic materials, often polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Because of this vinyl or LVT flooring can be particularly well-suited to areas that might be prone to moisture and can be a great option rather than timber in certain environments.
Like the flooring itself, vinyl can also be a great option on stairs especially when used with a vinyl stair nosing manufactured by Holzbau, creating a durable, cost-effective and maintenance-friendly option on stairs. Holzbau-manufactured LVT nosings come in a square edge profile.
Engineered timber is a modern, adaptable flooring solution, the most similar of all the plank flooring products to traditional hardwood flooring having a thick layer of hardwood as the decorative layer. Engineered plank flooring is not only more cost-effective than solid timber floorboards, but it is also generally a more stable product and more resistant to movement due to a cross-laminate ply core which creates stability against moisture and changes in humidity.
When used on stairs, engineered timber stair nosing can achieve a high-end finish to compliment the floor. Engineered nosings manufactured by Holzbau can have the option of either a flush face finish or a square edge profile. Both options can be enhanced by incorporating a Holzbau Arrowhead® aluminium profile for additional leading-edge durability and to create a more designer finish.
Trims and Accessories for Stair Nosing
With the development and growing popularity amongst new generation plank flooring and stair nosing products such as hybrid, laminate and LVT products, aluminium or plastic stair nosings trims were frequently used to create a transition from the riser to the tread whilst covering the right angle join at the juncture of these two parts of the stair. Whilst these types of products are a cost-effective solution allowing the customer to continue to use the same plank flooring product on the stairs as the floor, generally these trims do not achieve a streamlined finish and detract from the visual continuity from the floor to the top of the stairs.
Holzbau manufacturing processes allow us to produce stair nosings from the actual plank flooring products themselves and when installed with an additional plank to complete the tread surface, our customers end up with a stair solution using the exact same products as their floor. This results in a high-end streamlined finish, closely resembling the same look normally only achieved using solid timber square edge nosing. In the case of laminate and engineered flooring, a less traditional, architectural flush finish is also achievable.
Choosing Between Different Stair Nosing Types
Choosing between different types of stair nosing is a decision that can affect the safety, aesthetics, and durability of your stairs. Whilst most domestic shoppers’ stair choice will largely be determined by their choice of flooring, the choice of flooring should not be made without consideration of any stairs included in the project. There’s a wide range of options to choose from, and choosing a suitable stair nosing type can depend on a variety of factors.
Purpose and usage
Consider where the stairs are located and how frequently they’ll be used. In high-traffic or element-exposed areas (water, sun, or humidity), you might want a more durable material that is less prone to warping and expansion, like laminate or vinyl.
Safety and standards
Though more important in commercial and public spaces and outlined by , it can help to opt for profiles that provide a clear distinction between steps, especially in dimly lit areas. Stair nosing types with rounded profiles might be less popular due to losing this distinction.
For added visual contrast, incorporating Holzbau’s Arrowhead® into either a square edge or flush profile in both engineered or laminate nosings can offer a stylish solution when additional contrast is desired from one step to the next. Alternatively incorporating a riser in a contrasting colour to the stair tread and nosings can also boost visibility.
Both of these solutions provide the opportunity to customise and enhance the design of a staircase.
Your choice should complement the overall design theme of your space. Modern and minimalist spaces might benefit from flush face or square nosing, while other designs might prefer rounded profiles.
If durability is a priority, hybrid and engineered timber may be the most suitable stair nosing type for your space as both are more solid and scratch-resistant than other materials.
In terms of ongoing maintenance and care, vinyl and laminate may be the most forgiving stair nosing types and the easiest to care for. So, they would also provide long-lasting solutions, being suitable for years of foot traffic.
Always balance the initial costs with potential long-term benefits, such as reduced maintenance or increased lifespan. As another example, rounded stair nosing is far less common in modern builds, and may only be available in traditional materials. And because of that, it may be more expensive to produce.
If you’re using a Holzbau-manufactured stair nosing, installation should be as easy as installing the floor itself as Holzbau maintains the original lock on the source product allowing it to simply click together with an additional board to complete the width of the tread. When installed by a flooring industry professional who we work with, you will enjoy long-lasting results.
For help and more information about stair nosing types
There are many different options of stair nosing types in both shape and material. Choosing one that fits your space will come down to the look and feel you want to present, durability, and ease of maintenance you’re after.
Holzbau product-matched stair nosing
Holzbau’s ability to convert any plank flooring into stair nosing offers our customers a seamless flooring solution, unlike anything else on the market. Your stairs will perfectly match your floor’s colour, pattern, and texture, no matter the brand or style of flooring you have chosen.
Whether it’s hybrid, laminate, vinyl, or engineered floors, we can effectively manufacture custom flush face and square stair nosings suitable from most quality hybrid, LVT, laminate and engineered plank flooring products.
To learn more about how these types of stair nosing work, explore our latest articles where we explain each flooring material and stair nosing type, as well as other tips, information, and stair nosing news.