Making your own bullnose stair trim

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Ivan Turbinca

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I am having a hard time with the engineered hardwood floor retailer that sold me the hardwood floor that is being installed next week
I tried to order a manufacturer made square bullnose piece and I was paying through my nose for it, 180CAD for 96" and needed like three to start with and I was going to order more. They missed the ball and they did not place the order so now the installer will start next week and he will need at least one of these.
I am now watching videos on YouTube about how to do this and I am seeing two things:
-they make the square bullnose from the same hardwood floor material by cutting 45" edges
-the above 45" edges are put together using nails
Here is the process

My questions:
-those 45" cuts will never be perfect and they present higher chances to wear off on the exposed edge where the stair user walks on -how do avoid this?
-they seem to use lots of nails and carpenter (?) glue to put them together -aren't those nail holes visible (

I think they build something like this
ffz4HNW.png

or like this
xSl4hxh.png
 

highup

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Even though the price of the factory made bullnose is outrageous, to do a really nice job in the manner that this guy is demonstrating would probably cost more in labor. Doing the steps in the manner of this man showed would leave an extremely sharp edge because it's a simple 45. I'm thinking the pieces made for your flooring are probably radiused a little bit on the edge.
If the flooring that you have has a thick wear layer on top, you could hand make these trims like the fellow showed and put an 1/8 inch or 1/4 radius on the edge but then, you'd have to stain it and finish it.
 

Ivan Turbinca

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the floor is excellent quality I think it has 3/16" layer of hardwood (3/4" thick boards)
yes that is my problem, matching that finish. Even if I get the color right (Sherwin Williams can do it for me) the sheen of the color won't match even if this is a matt color, if I bevel that edge it will still be visible as a different color
 

C.J.

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You could pick up a solid piece of white oak and fabricate your own stair nose. Or how about fabricating a stair nose and wrapping it with the 3/16 wear layer that you get from some of your hardwood. Rip it down with a table saw then run it through a planer to get your final thickness. It’ll be work, possibly enough work to make one say F it and just pony up the money for a factory one.
 
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JPfloor

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I can see you’re a particular man who knows what he wants and are putting a lot of effort into getting it right.

I’m a lot less picky but I’m sure I would not be happy with a 45 degree mitre cut for the nose of my steps. That’s just asking for failure. Do what CJ said. Even if it means putting off the installation. Personally I like his first suggestion. All the fancy cutting in the world isn’t gonna be as nice as a good piece of solid oak. Even if the color is off a little.


 
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Ivan Turbinca

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Fabricating my own is a problem here since I won't be able to match the finish
I do not see how using a planner and a thin layer obtained from the existing hardwood will solve my problem, unless you are assuming that I would be able to create some sort of veneer based on the hardwood that is being installed. I doubt that that is possible and it brigs up another problem ...how do you install it to look fine.... it will have to be a very long strip, like 44" long, max 5" wide and flexible enough to around whatever I put there as nosing material
 

JPfloor

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So if you’re dead set on the stairs and bullnose being a perfect match to the flooring you have answered your own question. Either wait for the factory to build you what your need or make it out of the floor boards as you described.

Are you planning on installing a carpet runner on the steps? Or leaving the finished wood? I just don’t see that mitered edge lasting too long under foot traffic.
 

Ivan Turbinca

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I guess I will have to wait for the manufacturer but the installer is starting tomorrow.
While I will do the stairs myself I need a solution for the top strip that will transition the floor to the stairs, the one highlighted in the picture. What can the installer do to finish his work? To the right in the picture there is the living and that is the largest room in the house
The hardwood boards will be perpendicular on the stairs
zE34AfD.png

The floor layout is below and I think he will have to follow the red arrows when he is installing the floor
We are discussing the area marked with an X where the stairs are, the areas without arrows do not get hardwood (kitchen and bathroom)
So would it be possible for the installer to use something temporary there like a placeholder till I get the right piece from the manufacturer ? Here is the profile of what the manufacturer provides. This nosing poses a problem for me as I need it to go longer than 1" on the vertical side in order to mask the existing nosing there that will be left in place (the added subfloor is flush with the existing nosing now)
3ApOF71.png

kAMOUyD.png
 

C.J.

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While it is ideal to have everything for the job at the initial time of installation so that it can be completed 100%, it is certainly not unheard of for an installer to have to come back and finish a job because transitions were not there. You have the specs for the stair nose. Your installer should be able to figure it out. If he can’t then is that really the installer you want doing your job.

Not having a stair nose does lead to the question of how do you apply finish to the floor then try and match that same finish on the stair nose at a later date. Do you wait to apply finish until after the stair nose is finally installed. Do you push off the install until the stair nose has arrived. These questions are nothing new. A headache, yes, but I’m sure your installer has dealt with these situations before.

Now we get to the profile of the available stair nose. The profile doesn’t look right but it will supposedly match the rest of your floor. What do you do. Which is more important to you, match or profile.

Dealing with shit like this is how and why I learned to fabricate or modify transitions out of the existing materials. I wouldn’t get paid for a job unless it was complete. 100% complete! Stair nose is 2 weeks out, that means my pay is 3 weeks out AND now I gotta make a return trip at a later date to boot.

The first pic is of a Bruce stair nose. They have one profile and it’s for a 3/4” hardwood. What do you do if you’re installing a 3/8” product? You modify the stair nose to make it work or you go home with no pay for the day, that’s what you do. The second pic is a stair nose that I fabricated out of a 3/4” prefinished solid hardwood, probably another Bruce product. I epoxy two boards together then between a table saw and a router I shape the stair nose to an acceptable profile. Yes I do have to stain and finish the exposed raw wood on the bullnose but in the big picture of things that’s nothing and I can make a stair nose like that in a couple hours when I’m doing a job. If I start in the morning, I can have it shaped, stained, finished and installed by the end of the job. I would do that with your floor but since it’s an engineered product you would see the plies on the bullnose.

So here’s the winner winner chicken dinner solution. You pony up the chedda for a stair nose. It will match! It’s an 8’ piece and you need just under 4’. Cut that sum bitch in half and glue the two pieces together. Now you use a table saw and a round over bit to create your profile. Now you have a stair nose that has the profile you want and perfectly matches the rest of your floor. If I was your installer I wouldn’t even charge extra for doing that.

B837242C-8435-49F5-BE59-AB977657110C.jpeg
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Ivan Turbinca

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Not sure what you mean by sandwiching the two and routing them
If I want to use the piece from the manufacturer then I can do the below, practically dress the stairs in the new hardwood but the problem here is the edging of the open end for those three stairs

Dark brown is the existing 1" steps that will be shaved 1" be flush with the raiser
I will now need to take care of two edges on the side
vp1faFX.png

I will have to do something like this for the edges
vjVsJFm.png


Or I might replicate what I have (they used white 1" shoe molding under the step where it joins the raiser on the side and at the front
l4gkA.jpg
 

C.J.

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The stair nose that you can order is only 1” thick. For a 3/4” product that leaves you with only 1/4” of overhang. How do you get more overhang? Glue more wood to the underside where you want more overhang. If you have enough overhang you could eliminate the piece of cove molding under your current stair nose because your new star nose would cover whatever that cove molding is covering. Wrap the stair nose around the open side and now you’ve eliminated that piece of cove molding as well.

Are you painting your existing risers or are you installing new ones. If you install new ones I would return the end of the riser on the open side. Now you don’t have to trim that out because a returned end is a finished end. Flush it out with the wall and all you have is a little bit of spackle and paint to do to clean it up.

Many of these products are designed to be installed the way they are. The fabrication part comes into play when you don’t like the look of what the manufacturer has to offer but still want something that matches perfectly.

Have you talked to your installer about options? What do they do in this situation? Or are they just doing the flat lay and the rest of this is this all on you? Stairs are definitely their own thing and some installers ain’t got it when it comes to doing stairs. IMO shoe molding in the crotch of the stair and cove molding underneath the tread make it look like you’re trying to cover up sloppy work.

Here’s a flight I did and didn’t need anything more than a smear of Alex Plus between the treads and risers. As far as wrapping the stair nose around the side, you’re trying to achieve the same effect as if you were buying a solid tread with a returned end. Only difference is you’re the one making it happen with a piece of stair nose.

0C408FD2-4754-434D-BCE4-615C420D2169.jpeg
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Ivan Turbinca

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I do not want to remove the existing steps for two reasons: it is a lot of work and it will be difficult to install matching steps there and the top of the stairs will raise 3/4" anyway
So that forces me to install hardwood floor on top of them. Because the manufacturer bullnose is 1" thick and that leaves me with just 1/4" nose that will cover the existing step. You are saying glue more wood there but I do not see how, that will add a long cut like.
Here is the drawing if I do not cover the riser with new hardwood. Dark brown is the existing step. The new nose does not cover it completely. That is why I would use 1/2" molding like they did. I do not know the reasons why they used molding

xI49bc2.png




Also I do not understand the term star nose
Are you referring to this ?

jTJOPn3.png
 

Ivan Turbinca

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This is what I represented in post #10 The problem is at the open end.
I think that using the manufacturer provided nose and trim like the one that is already there, to cover the step is going to be the easiest way.
That will allow me to leave the existing riser in place, I just need to cut the existing step flush with the raisers.
So it will look like this, represented with only one side with trim installed
dp7y4lm.png


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JPfloor

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This has me a bit confused? Floor boards should run perpendicular to the joists? Looks like you have the living room split in two different directions?
 

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