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Can I save money by putting skinnier nosing’s on my stair treads or is this false economy?

Recent blogs about using correct anti-slip stair nosings has had great response but it has identified more questions from you that need answering. A common question has centered about what size (depth) industrial anti-slip nosing gives the best balance between economy and performance, well let’s look at this here.

Depth of StairnosingsIt is asked if by cutting this depth down, say to a minimal 50mm, can you save money and will the nosing’s still work as well? The short answer is that bigger is better, and YES, there is a minimum depth below which you start to get secondary problems.

While most of the anti-slip action happens right at the leading edge of the nosing, the depth does do important work, especially when ascending stairs when the foot contacts deeper and flatter on the tread. The absolute minimum depth of an anti-slip stair nosing should be 50mm and this is in fact specified as a minimum in most safety Standards around the world, including Australia, however Safety Step recommend to you that 75mm be your minimum.

Using minimum 50mm depth stair nosing’s is not ideal and is likely to set up secondary issues that will far outweigh any minimal cost savings.

  • Fixing such narrow stair nosing’s (50mm) to industrial stairs with treads that almost always have a pronounced radius at the leading edge can be difficult and most often result in the nosing not sitting flat on the tread, lifting at the rear and creating a trip hazard at the back of the nosing. Deeper nosing’s, say 75mm, will sit much more tightly, neatly and safely.
  • 50mm stair nosing’s will be very difficult to adequately fit to industrial open grate steel treads, especially the type that has a welded-in, radiused front edge. Added installation time and cost on these treads far outweigh any drop in material cost.
  • The downward/forward shearing action created when walking on stair nosing is much greater the less depth a stair nosing has. Narrow 50mm deep nosing’s tend to pull loose from timber treads and plug and screw methods in concrete because of this higher shearing action. A deeper nosing, say 75mm, with fixings located further back are very much more reliable.
  • The greater the accident risk the deeper the nosing, so if there is a lot of localized soiling to be walked onto the stairs then increase the depth of the non-slip nosing. Similarly exterior stairs that are exposed to the elements should have higher spec nosing’s than interior nosing’s (generally). As a minimum use 75mm nosing’s and in very high risk areas use 150mm deep nosing’s.

Safety Step recommends that the minimum depth for any industrial stair nosing should be 75mm. There is no worthwhile monetary saving in reducing this size, and secondary risks will almost always arise.

Don’t forget to ensure the nosing provides at least a 30% colour contrast to the stair tread it is fitted to.