20 April 2017

Stairs are pretty straightforward. They’re one of the few features of architecture that haven’t changed much in over a thousand years. In spite of this, there have been a number of different innovations; the majority of them more practical than they are aesthetic, to which stairs (and by extension staircases) have been privy too.

One of the most popular modifications that make up the standard of modern stairs is stair nosing. Nosing is the horizontal protruding edge of stairs that is often installed to help provide more traction and grip, or to accentuate the edge of a staircase to prevent accidental tripping due to poor lighting or a lack of discernible contrast between the treading.

Stair nosing is often found in public buildings and places of business that encounter a lot of traffic, such as high-rise offices and malls. While escalators and elevators are often the primary means of ascent and descent in these buildings, stationary staircases are often installed as a fail-safe in the event of a power outage or for emergency purposes.

The nosing of choice for most places of business, as well as public, government-funded offices, is often chased or fluted aluminium, which is highly conspicuous, very durable, and almost maintenance free. Aluminium provides just the right amount of grip without skimping on the durability.

Private homes and more posh offices on the other hand may find aluminium too ‘industrial’ for their tastes and so often relegate such nosing to outdoor stairs, preferring a contrasting hardwood nosing instead. Often a colour lighter or a tad darker than the base wood of the stairs, they are often textured or specially lined with felt to provide grip, with the colour being specifically chosen to provide a very marked contrast that adds to its visibility without compromising the overall aesthetics.

Plastic stair nosing is not as popular, but can still be found in some places, often as a temporary choice that is installed prior to a ‘final’ nosing, or as an affordable (albeit less durable and less reliable) alternative to either aluminium or wood. Stainless steel, copper, brass, and even iron stair nosing is also available, although they tend to be rare.

For more information about stair nosing visit you can contact Planet Stairs – your number one resource for everything involving timber staircases, contemporary staircases, and balustrade.

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