Ceramic Tile on Steps


Old 12-06-04, 08:11 PM
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Ceramic Tile on Steps

We have a set of short wooden steps leading to our kitchen. We would like to put ceramic tile on them. However they have a bullnose. Can you buy ceramic tile to cover the bullnose or do we have to replace the steps?
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Old 12-07-04, 10:56 AM
Join Date: Oct 2004
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My first guess is that your steps were not built with ceramic in mind as a surface. If the steps are dimensional lumber, you'll want to remove the treads and rebuild with 3/4 bc plywood for the treads. You will want additional stringers to get the span down to atleast 16" on, which if you have a 3' step with a center stringer, move it over and install a second stringer inside the body of the sair case. Preferably, you would add another layer of 1/2" bc ply and then cement board. You on't be able to tile the bull nose. You have a few options though. First would be to use a prefinished stairnose, available wherever you can purchase prefinished wood flooring, at which point, you would have about 4" of oak on the end of each step, with a 1" or so overhang. You can buy oak 1/2 round, with a 3/4" radius, install your stair tile leaving it about 1/8" from the edge of the step, install the 1/2 round flush with the finished height of the tile and fill the 1/" gap with a caulk that matches your grout, or lastly, use a metal edge, either straight or rounded (see www.schluter.com) at the stair edge. Just removing the bull nose will likely leave your tread too short for code, not to mention the dimensional lumber tread issue. Using a bullnose tile on the edge will likley result in chipped tile. Use the color/texture matched caulk in all changes of plane, that would mean where the tread meets the riser and where the riser meets the tread, under whatever bullnose option you choose. What ever option you choose, you will also need to make accomodations to your existing stringers as your tread height must also remain consistant. Usually it's 7" of rise and 11" of tread. Look for a tile with a very very high coefficient of friction as tile can be extremely slippery when it gets wet.

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