How to Install Stair Nose Molding

Written by michael straessle
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How to Install Stair Nose Molding
Stair nose moulding installed (stairs image by Dmitry Nikolaev from

Finishing out the front edge of the stairs is crucial to the overall look of stairs. Installing stair nose moulding is one of the most important parts of making stairs look good and function properly. Moulding is available in plastic, metal and wood. A metal cutting blade can be used on both metal and plastic, and a wood cutting blade should be used on wood moulding.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Measuring tape
  • Electric mitre saw
  • Hacksaw or handsaw (optional)
  • Variable speed drill
  • 1/16-inch drill bit
  • Sandpaper
  • 6 penny finish nails
  • Hammer
  • Nail set

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  1. 1

    Measure the distance from one side of one step to the other. Cut off the end of the stair nose moulding with a mitre saw to ensure a square cut end from which to measure.

  2. 2

    Place the end of the measuring tape on the square-cut end of the mould and mark it according to the width of the step. Cut the mould with the mitre.

  3. 3

    Make a mark 1 inch from each of the ends of the mould. Measure from one end of the piece of the stair nose mould and make marks every 6 inches. Since most stair nose moulding hangs over the front edge of the step, be certain the marks are far enough from the front edge of the mould that the nails will secure it to the step.

  4. 4

    Drill pilot holes on the marks with a 1/16-inch drill bit. Drill from the top side of the mould so any splinters that occur due to drilling are on the bottom side of the mould.

  5. 5

    Turn the mould over and sand the drilled areas until the splinters are removed. Turn the mould back over and set it in place on the step to check its fit. Adjust it if necessary.

  6. 6

    Secure the mould to the step with the finish nails. Drive each nail in just short of the surface of the mould. Drive the nails to just below the surface of the mould.

Tips and warnings

  • Fill the nail holes with putty and sand them before applying a finish.
  • Take measurements twice to avoid mistakes in cutting it.
  • Do not leave power tools within reach of children.
  • Do not apply stain or paint to the mould without proper ventilation.

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