Tie in stair nosing correctly

Q: I’m installing 3/4″ flooring in hallways. There are 2 steps down into the front room. I’m not quite sure how to install the stair nose pieces, one of which will be parallel to the rest of the planks, and one perpendicular.

One of my concerns is that beneath the stairnose is drywall, so I think I need to cut out a strip of drywall and install a piece of wood there to make it stronger under the stair nose. I thought about a 1×2, but I’m wondering if I should use 1×4 instead. Do you have any advice as to how I deal with the perpendicular end, to tie in stair nosing correctly? I think the stair nose needs to go on last, but I’m concerned about how I make sure the planks end where they need to and that they’re square to the stair nose. Maybe the better question is: how do I start the first strip in the hallway, to make sure the stair nose will tie in correctly when I’m done with the planks?

A: You need a square, a straight edge, and a chalk line. The 2 intersecting pieces of stair nose will need to be mitered where they join. Probably at 45 degrees. You could cut the drywall lower so that the nosing lip sits on top of it, rather than over the outside edge. This would move the nosing into the room the thickness of the drywall, which would mean more of the nosing is sitting on a solid sub structure. Don’t just nail it. Glue it too.

You could set the nosing in place, but not secure it. Mark a pencil line down the edge that will have the flooring run into it, and use your square to get a straight line off that for your starter row.

Follow-up Q: [Drawing Attached] I see now that I didn’t word my question quite right, although your advice is helpful anyway. I’ve got two different steps down into the front room, and the stair nose on one of the steps will be perpendicular to the rest of the boards, and the other one will be parallel with them. Either way, I understand what you said about the drywall and getting the stair nose on the solid structure. I guess I was thinking of adding a 1×2 there, so there’s a nice square edge to fit the stair nose onto, rather than the subfloor; your recommendation is simpler and easier.

I do have another question: in both of my cases, the front edge of the stair nose will obviously take a lot of direct hits, so it has to be fastened particularly well, doesn’t it? I was thinking that instead of nailing and gluing it, I should screw it and glue it, of course countersinking the screws. Am I being paranoid?

And I’ve got another question… Here’s a drawing of the hallway and room I need to do next. I think this drawing explains my question. Am I on the right track?

A: Nice sketch. I never learned how to use a cad program. Very nice.

Where the boards change direction so that you have groove to groove; What I do is this: First, both rows of flooring get the glue treatment. With the first row, I drill and nail through the bottom edge of the groove. Then, apply glue to the splines and tap into the groove on the first row. The next row of boards get some glue into the groove and I tap into place, with the spline now holding both rows together. This second row gets nailed into the top of the tongue. You wouldn’t believe how many “installers” will simply face nail both rows. No splines. No glue and to rows of nails down the floor. Fast and ugly.

Follow-up Q: I understand the nailing, spline and glue. Of course, to glue the flooring to the subfloor, the roofers felt has to go. Should I cut out a hole just beneath the groove to groove joint, exposing 1 inch of the floor beneath each board, for a 2” wide hole in the felt? As opposed to a hole the full width of both boards? I would never think of face nailing both rows-– unbelievable!

What about the stress on the stairnose, and whether to use nails or screws?

A: I would remove all the underlay paper where you are going to apply adhesive and glue down both rows. I’ve never used screws but nail and glue on nosing and never had one crack off. You can screw and plug, but it is overkill.

Leave a Comment