How to Install Tile Nosing

Written by amy a. whittle
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Tile nosing is used to protect the edges of areas where ceramic tile is installed. Typically found on the edges of stairs, nosing can also often be used on counter tops and the edge of ceramic floors. While tile nosing is considered the finishing touch of many ceramic tiling projects, it should be installed before the tiles for best results. By installing the nosing prior to the tiles you are ensured that the nosing fits securely on the edge without being impeded by existing tiles.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Degreasing cleaner
  • Tile adhesive
  • Notched trowel
  • Tile nosing
  • Grout spacer
  • Grout
  • Rubber float

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  1. 1

    Clean the area where the tile nosing will be installed using a degreasing cleaner as needed. In this project, tile nosing is installed on concrete stairs, but the same techniques can be used for any location. Allow the area to dry thoroughly before continuing. Plan the location of each piece of tile nosing. Ideally, the nosing will require no cuts to fit into a space. If cuts are required, try to centre a single piece of nosing and allow for equal-sized pieces of cut nosing on each side. Do not forget to allow space for grout lines if desired.

  2. 2

    Apply tile adhesive to the back of the tile nosing, using a notched trowel. Press the piece of tile nosing into place. It is often best to start the installation by installing the centre piece of nosing and then work on either side.

  3. 3

    Add a spacer on either side of the nosing to allow for grout lines. The grout lines should align with grout lines on the tread and riser of the stairs, if at all possible. If grout lines are not desired, skip this step. Attach another piece of nosing to the stair edge on either side of the centre tile. Continue installing tiles and spacers as necessary until the entire stair edge is covered with nosing. Remove the grout spacers after the tile nosing installation is complete.

  4. 4

    Use this system to install the tile nosing on all the edges of the stair treads. Allow the tile adhesive to cure for at least 24 hours before continuing. Install any flat tiles on the stair treads and risers at this time. If there are no other tiles to be installed on the staircase, skip this step.

  5. 5

    Fill any channels created by the spacers with grout. To complete this step, carefully mix enough grout with water to fill the gout lines. Use a rubber float to push the grout into the channels between each tile and piece of nosing. Smooth the grout lines with a damp cloth, making each line slightly concave. Buff any haze caused by the grout off the finish on the tile nosing. If you do not intend to grout between the tile nosing and other tiles, ignore this step.

Tips and warnings

  • If you are working on stairs, start installing tile nosing at the top step. This will prevent you from accidentally jostling the nosing before it has cured.
  • Tile nosing can be difficult to cut using the scoring methods that can trim tile. Pay to have it cut to your specifications at a home improvement centre or rent a tile saw if needed.
  • The American Disability Act Accessibility Guidelines restrict the radius of tile nosing used on stairs to be less than ½ inch to prevent falls. Although private residences are not subject to these guidelines, consider carefully before installing nosing that exceeds these rules.
  • Tile can become slippery when wet. Check the friction coefficient of any tile prior to installing to prevent accidents.

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