Monday, 1 June 2015

How To Find Your Ideal Stair Nosing

There are a number of different stair nosing products out there, and each is suited to a certain environment. It is important to locate a good match for your environment not only so people are best protected, but also to ensure that you are operating well within government building codes. The Building Code of Australia and Australian Standards are now requiring all new public spaces to include appropriate and effective stair nosing to enhance public safety and minimise risk.

First of all, you will want to consider the material that your nosing should be made from. Typically nosing can come in a wide range of types, from plastic to aluminium and rubber. There are of course many variations within each of these categories. The material and the exact style of nosing that you choose will be dependent on the traffic that your area receives. While stair nosing is required on all new public stairs, they do not all get used equally so it makes sense to have different levels of grip.

Rubber is perhaps the least durable of the three materials. While it does offer impressive grip initially, under frequent foot traffic the material will disintegrate easily. Rubber might be suitable for less used areas, but not for main entrances or walkways. Metal is a more popular choice, although care should be taken to choose a durable texture and type. Aluminium is a very popular choice, and is surprisingly durable for such a lightweight metal. A ridged metal surface is preferable in high traffic areas, as this will wear more slowly, and is more effective in draining away water, as well as obviously offering more grip.

Unfortunately, metal is susceptible to erosion from small grains or grit. This means that seaside locations are better off seeking out other options. Grains of sand as well as salt in the air will quickly degenerate the surface, making it ineffective and uncomfortable to walk on. Beachside locations are difficult, in that grip should be effective even in wet conditions, but also comfortable to walk on with bare feet. Rubber is a logical choice here. Very high traffic areas can benefit from fibre reinforced plastics, which are resistant to wear, or oxidised aluminium, which gives a gritty texture and is extremely effective.

Once you have determined the material and texture, you will need to consider the colour. On the surface this may seem like a purely aesthetic choice, but in fact government regulations specify a minimum luminance contrast that nosing must comply with. Stair nosing is designed to improve safety for everyone, and in particular improve stair safety for the vision impaired. This means that the nosing should stand out as much as possible, so that it can be easily seen and communicate where the edge of each step is. A concrete stair case for example will likely need a bright yellow or green nosing, rather than a grey one. There is enough of a range available that you can usually choose a colour that isn’t too garish but still offers enough visibility.

Whether you ultimately choose rubber, aluminium or plastic, there are quality suppliers out there of each who should be able to professionally install and, if need be, maintain your nosing products. If you are still unsure, talk to a trusted nosing supplier and request advice on the best solution for your situation. They may even like to conduct a site inspection to recommend the best product. For any further assistance or to enquire about our durable stair nosing, please contact Step Solve at

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