Wine and whiskey aficionados are known for nosing samples before sipping and savoring, and everyone loves nosing around in other people’s business. In our case, however, nosing designates a physical items and not an action, and it’s one of the components of something that each of us encounters all the time: stairs. A nosing is the edge of a stair tread (or step) that projects over the riser (the vertical part). Since navigating stairs can be difficult for some, there are codes regulating the size, shape, and construction of nosing in public spaces. In applications with low lighting conditions, luminescent material – and even actual strips of lights – can be used on top of or as part of the nosing in order to delineate the edge of the step. Nosing can be squared off or rounded, made of the same material as the tread, or consist of something completely different, such as wood, rubber, metal, terrazzo, etc.
You should also know that the term nosing can also be used merely to describe the projecting edge of a molding or a similar rounded projection and have nothing whatsoever to do with stairs. Go figure.