How to Install Bull Nose on Tile Stairs

Written by danny donahue
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Tile is a popular and easy to maintain floor covering. But, what happens when you get to the stairs? You can either stop and cover them with carpeting, or, you can continue the tile all the way up the stairs. In order to tile your stairs you need only a bit of time, a few tools, and a little know how.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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Things you need

  • Standard and bull nose floor tiles
  • Adhesive
  • Grout
  • 12-inch level
  • 3-inch plastic putty knife
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Spacers
  • Bucket
  • Water Sponge
  • Wet saw
  • Safety glasses
  • Leather work gloves

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  1. 1

    Spread construction adhesive onto the vertical face of the top step with your putty knife. Apply standard tiles to the face. Add your spacers between the tiles. Measure and cut bull nose tiles with your tape measure and wet saw for application on the top layer of the step. Place the bull nose tiles so that the rounded edge is 1/8 inch above the top of the stair.

  2. 2

    Cover the horizontal surface of the stair with adhesive using your putty knife. Apply the standard tiles using spacers. Measure, cut, and apply the bull nose tiles so that the rounded end meets the vertically mounted tiles.

  3. 3

    Apply tiles to each stair in the set one at a time. Work from the top to the bottom of the stair case. Allow the adhesive to cure overnight.

  4. 4

    Remove the spacers between your tiles. Cover the top stair with grout. Spread the grout with your damp sponge. Spread it into the crevices on the horizontal and vertical faces of the stair. Dip your sponge into the bucket of water and wring it out periodically to insure a clean and uniform project.

  5. 5

    Continue spreading grout into the crevices on each stair from the top to the bottom. Keep your sponge wet and clean. Wipe away any excess grout from the face of the tiles leaving only grout in the spaces between the tiles. Allow the grout to cure overnight.

Tips and warnings

  • Leftover adhesive and grout can be stored in a cool, dry place until needed on a future project.
  • A wet saw is an electrical power tool. Please read and follow all of the manufacturer's instructions before and during use of this tool.
  • Always wear appropriate safety equipment, such as leather work gloves and safety glasses, when using a wet saw.
  • Never dispose of grout or adhesive into the plumbing system of your home. Allow these scrap materials to cure completely and dispose of them in a legal and environmentally friendly manner.

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