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How to choose the right Stair Nosing

Step by Step guide to selecting the correct stair nosings

It does not matter if you are choosing nosings for 20 flights of stairs in a commercial office building or two steps in a school, the same guidelines apply for creating a safe and accessible staircase.

Getting it wrong could be costly not only to you,as the person either reponsible for the building or installation, but also to the person that might slip or trip.  Over 100,000 injuries are reported on non-domestic stairs every year, resulting in over 100 deaths. Approved Documents M & K of The Building Regulations 2010, BS 8300:2009+A1:2010 and BRE contain best practice guidelines aimed at ensuring buildings are accessible to all users and safe to use and should be used as a guide but can get confusing and does not take into account all the variables.


It is important to choose the right nosing for the Shape of Step

The edging should be a tight fit to the step to ensure that the profile does not lift or rock during use. There are four main stair nosing shapes to choose from -

  • straight or Square 
  • Rake Back 
  • Kinked or Chevron
  • Bull / Rounded

Thickness of the nosing

The stair nosing should be a flush finish to the floorcovering to avoid a trip hazard. We split our nosings into categories that include ones suitable for -

  • No Flooring
  • Vinyl and Thin Carpet
  • Carpet and Carpet Tiles
  • Thick Carpet tiles and Ceramic Tiles

The nosing should achieve a flush finish with the compressed thickness of the floorcovering.

Tread (going) of the stair

The depth of the tread (going) will also have an influence on choosing the most suitable stair nosing.


  • Single channel – ideal for use on treads up to 300mm deep
  • Double channels – suitable for stairs with a large going, especially if they are subject to heavy volumes of foot traffic e.g. railway stations, supermarkets, department stores, secondary and further education establishments and major hospitals.
  • When specifying double channel stair nosings, both inserts should be of the same colour and be of a contrasting colour to the surrounding floor finish.


An anti slip insert is fitted to the nosings to create an anti slip environment but it is important to distinguish between a standard interior inster and one that is suitable for exterior use or very wet areas.

All stair nosing insert colours are measured for Light Reflectance Values (LRVs), allowing you to make the right decision when selecting colour in accordance with BS 8493:2008+A1:2010 and they should be a minimum of 30 points difference from the floorcovering or step colour.  You should never match the stair nosing colour to the colour of the carpet or vinyl.