Create Safe Stairs2018-08-21T12:02:40+00:00

Your 3 step guide to selecting the correct
stair nosing and fixing method for the step

Whether you are installing 20 flights in a commercial office building or three steps in a doctor’s surgery, the same guidelines apply for creating safe, accessible staircases.

Get it wrong and it could cost you a great deal more than just the replacement. 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 8300-2:2018 and BRE contain best practice guidelines aimed at ensuring buildings are accessible to all users and safe to use.  The information contained in our simple three step guide is based on this guidance and, therefore, ensures that you are taking the right steps in selecting the safest stair nosing for your installation.

Specification Guidelines

BS 8300-2:2018 refers to research undertaken by BRE. This research shows that if the depth of the tread is less than 300mm the risk of an overstep is increased. A stair nosing that wraps around the riser will reduce this risk by increasing the slip-resistance at the step edge.

Gradus stair nosings offer a wide range of profiles that satisfy all the latest building standards and guidelines and accommodate a wide range of floorcoverings.

Don't take the risk

Types of stair nosing

XT range

  • Aluminium or PVC-u Hardnose
  • Extended insert design ensures maximum safety underfoot
  • Locking mechanism secures insert in place
  • View Profiles
  • View Video

Elite range

  • Aluminium or Bronze
  • Insert supplied separately to the channel offering a neat, concealed fixing and eliminating the need for screw head cover plugs
  • Mechanical lock for insert

Traditional range

  • Aluminium, Chrome, Bronze or PVC-u Hardnose
  • Factory bonded inserts supplied with capping plugs to conceal screw heads after fixing

Trans-Edge range

  • Aluminium
  • TEX range: Factory bonded inserts with visible fixings

Shape of Step

Select the correct stair nosing for the step – this 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 (see below). Kinked face profiles can be used on square and some rake back stairs.


Rake Back

Kinked Face


Tread (going)

The depth of the tread (going) will also have an influence on the stair nosing selected. A study conducted by BRE found that slips on stairs are often as a result of an overstep, especially on narrow treads (less than 300mm). To help reduce the risk of slips in an overstep situation, the XT stair nosing range incorporates a slip-resistant insert that extends around the leading edge of the profile in line with BRE recommendations.

Gradus offers a wide range of profiles to suit different tread sizes:

Single Channel

  • Single channel – ideal for use on treads up to 300mm deep
  • View Profiles

Wide, Double & Multiple Channel

  • Wide, Double and multiple 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.
  • When specifying multiple channel stair nosings, the front insert should always be in a visually contrasting colour to the remaining inserts to ensure definition of the step edge. The remaining inserts must always be of the same colour and ideally match the surrounding floor covering.
  • View Profiles


The gauge (thickness) of the stair nosing should be a flush finish to the floorcovering to avoid a trip hazard being created. When used with soft floorcoverings such as carpet and carpet tile, the gauge should achieve a flush finish with the compressed thickness of the floorcovering.

Gradus offers a range of gauges to suit the majority of commercial floorcoverings (see below).

Gauge Typically used with
Ramp back No floorcoverings   /   Resilient floorcoverings – install profile on top of the floorcovering to ensure a safe fit
2mm – 3mm Resilient floorcoverings
4mm – 5mm Carpet   /   Carpet Tile   /   Resilient floorcoverings with a bevelled underlay in heavy use areas
6mm Carpet   /   Carpet Tile
7mm – 10mm Carpet   /   Wood   /   Ceramics   /   Other heavy duty floorcoverings
10mm – 15mm Ceramics   /   Stone   /   Marble

Fixing Method

A secure fixing between the stair edging and the step is essential to ensuring a safe installation. The stair edging profile, type and condition of the substrate and the application will affect the type of fixing method required.

Adhesive only fixing – Gradus Grip

A specialist adhesive designed to securely bond stair edgings, eliminating the need for screws and screw head cover plugs, providing a neater finish. The Gradus Grip adhesive bond is available with a 10 year warranty.

Mechanical and adhesive fixing

A combination of screw fixings, cartridge adhesive and screw head cover plugs are used to achieve a secure fixing.

To ensure the correct installation method is selected further information can be found in our installation instructions available at

Ultra strong stair edging adhesive

• Save time
• Save money
• Gradus 10 year warranty
• Rapid curing
• No more screws & plugs
• Ultra strong bond
Download the NBS at

Step 2 - Select the correct slip-resistance for the conditions

Specification Guidelines

BS 8300-2:2018, BS 5395-1:2010 and BS 9266:2013 refers to the slip-resistance of surface finishes on stairs. A pendulum test is used to assess slip-resistance and a Pendulum Test Value (PTV) of greater than 36 is required in both dry conditions and also when the stairs are at risk of becoming wet through walked in moisture and spillages.

Gradus insert test results – Click here.

Don't take the risk

Slip-resistance & Performance

An insert provides a surface that creates friction between the sole of the shoe and the step edge, hence providing slip-resistance and reducing the risk of slips on stairs. All Gradus inserts are tested for slip-resistance – see results.

Where is the stair nosing being installed? Ensure the required level of slip-resistance is achieved to reduce the risk of slips and falls on stairs by selecting the correct insert for the environment:

  • Interior installations – not always dry conditions. Consider whether there is a risk of the stair nosing becoming wet and select the correct insert accordingly.
  • Safety flooring – select an insert that matches or improves the slip-resistant qualities of the flooring.

Types of Insert

Insert Type Conditions Applications
Xtra-grip Interior Wet / Interior Dry Increased surface roughness where the stair nosing may become wet
e.g. stairs close to entrances or where safety flooring is used.
Areas where health and safety are a priority e.g. schools and hospitals.
Xtra-grip Plus Interior Wet / Interior Dry As Xtra-grip, with the addition of an enhanced insert bond system for areas subject to more frequent cleaning
e.g. catering and food preparation areas.
Interior Interior Dry Areas where there is no risk that the stairs will be contaminated by moisture.
Standard Exterior Exterior Everyday outdoor use
e.g. car park entry / exit steps.
Heavy Duty Exterior Exterior or Interior Extreme exterior conditions / heavy traffic environments
e.g. motorway foot bridges, railway stations, airport terminals and sports stadiums.

Step 3 - Choose a colour that visually contrasts

Specification Guidelines

BS 8300-2:2018, BS 5395-1:2010, BS 9266:2013 & Approved Documents M (ADM) & K (ADK) of The Building Regulations 2010 highlight the need to ensure there is sufficient visual contrast at the step edge, providing a safe environment for all building users.

Project Rainbow and ADM recommend that there is at least a 30 point difference between the LRVs of the stair nosing and floorcovering to achieve a suitable contrast.

All Gradus stair nosing 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.

Don't take the risk

Visual Contrast

All Gradus stair nosing channel and insert colours are measured for LRVs in accordance with BS 8493:2008+A1:2010 to help achieve this difference. Gradus PVC-u Hardnose stair nosings can be selected with the channel and insert in the same colour to provide the ideal solution for creating visual contrast (picture 1), in line with Approved Documents M & K and BS 8300-2:2010, BS 5395-1:2010 & BS 9266:2013 guidelines.

Good Visual Contrast

picture 1 – Installed with Gradus Stair Nosings

Picture 1 - Installed with Gradus Stair Nosings

Poor Visual Contrast

No Stair Nosings – Don’t Take the Risk

No Stair Nosings - Don't Take the Risk

Tonal Contrast

It is important to achieve a tonal contrast between the floorcovering and the stair nosing as people with visual impairments may not be able to see some or all colours but can perceive light and dark. The photographs below show that colour contrast (picture 1) visible to fully-sighted people may not always offer a tonal contrast (picture 2) for partially-sighted people.

Fully-sighted People

picture 1 – Tonal Contrast

Picture 1 - Tonal Contrast

Partially-sighted People

picture 2 – Poor Tonal Contrast

Picture 2 - Poor Tonal Contrast

Aluminium profiles

Choose an insert colour that visually contrasts with the floorcovering to define the step edge available in a range of attractive and hardwearing aluminium channels.

Aluminium Stair Nosing Profiles

PVC-u Hardnose profiles

Select the channel and insert in the same colour to provide the ideal solution for creating a single solid band of colour, that visually contrasts with the tread and riser.

PVC-u Hardnose Stair Nosing Profiles