Porcelain Bullnose Steps & Copings : Everything You Need to Know

Porcelain Bullnose Steps & Copings : Everything You Need to Know

Looking for that finishing touch for your patio makeover project? Here at Caledonian Stone, we are in the small percentage of porcelain providers that provide in-house step bullnosing to add that finished look to any project! If your garden has any raised edges or steps, featuring the bullnose design will complete the transformation by adding evenly, smoothed edges to any paving cuts or sides.

You can feature bullnosing on any edge on your patio, not only steps!

Most commonly the bullnosing technique is used for steps but it works beautifully on;

  • copings
  • step treads
  • swimming pool edges
  • countertops/sills
  • skirtings

The technique itself is done using our bespoke, inhouse bullnosing machinery and overseen by our expert stone masons who meticulously ensure each edge is smooth, seamless and of a high standard. We won’t bore you too much with the technicalities of their job!

What is bullnosing?

Simply put, bullnosing is a term commonly used in construction and landscaping for rounded convex trim and it got its name, you guessed it, from the rounded edge of a bulls nose! The technique dates back to Ancient Greek times, where you can picture the rounded edges of stone & marble being used to construct the buildings we know from historical architecture today.

What are the benefits of porcelain step bullnosing?

Our in house bullnosing service includes a very quick, 2 week turnaround and can be done with any of our porcelain paving range! Meaning you don’t have to worry about mismatched steps or edges. The thickness of the finished bullnosed edge is the standard size of our porcelain – 20mm. This will finish off any edge nicely and allow for maximum uniformity throughout.

Safety is an important factor to consider in any garden renovation project as the paving to be laid must be safe for years to come. Paving can become slippery in rain so it is important to consider the safety of your steps and edges. Having harshly cut, sharp step edges will mean any unforeseen accidents or slips are more likely to result in injury. Simply including bullnosed steps or edges in your design adds peace of mind that should any trips or falls happen, there are less sharp corners to add insult to injury.

Now that we have the safety covered, lets talk about appearance! It’s clear to see from the images below that the bullnose steps not only tie in the whole project but add an element of smoothness and luxury to the overall feel of the patio. Though not a necessary design element, you can see the appeal.

Do you need to bullnose steps?How to bullnose an outdoor tile step

What are the different types of porcelain step bullnosing?

Bullnose steps come in 3 different variations – full bullnose, half bullnose and pencil bullnose.

Example of Full Bullnose Outdoor TileHalf Bullnose Outdoor Porcelain Tile ExampleHow to Pencil Bullnose a Tile

The differences in each option are mainly aesthetic and don’t affect the overall purpose, it is simply down to personal preference or picking an option that suits the overall design in which the bullnose will serve its purpose. Some designs include many rounded edges, whether this be different planters, porcelain being cut circular to create a certain design or fit to a certain landscape. This is where a full bullnose would look best and tie in the rounded edges of the whole garden. Pencil bullnose on the other hand is slightly more rigid and not as rounded, this may be suitable for a more contemporary style garden where there are a lot of straight lines and edges. Half bullnose may be used on porcelain steps or countertop spaces where the underside needs to be flat.

What are the costs of porcelain step bullnosing?

To determine how much your bullnose steps would cost, we first have to identify how many sides are to be bullnosed. If you have a set of steps directly outside of your back door or patio doors, these would typically be bullnosed on 3 sides with the other side flush to the house or outdoor wall. The price for this service will be subject to how many sides you need bullnosed, how many steps you have and your paving choice per m2.

When you have chosen the size & finish of your paving, we can estimate the cost of your steps. To do this, we use linear meters. In simple terms, linear meters are used to measure the length of each side of the paver to be bullnosed. For example, a 600x600mm paver to be bullnosed on one side would be 0.6 linear meters. To bullnose on 3 sides if it was a step coming from the side of the property, it would be 0.6 + 0.6 + 0.6 which equals 1.8 linear meters.

A full bullnose on 3 sides of a step using 5m2 of our popular Cemento Grey porcelain paving in the size 600x600mm would be around £244. This is calculated by the m2 price of the paving chosen for the steps and the length of the edges to be bullnosed. A 5m2 project using Cemento Grey 600x600mm would work out at around 14 tiles. The cost of the desired bullnose style is then added on top of this. Full bullnose is on the higher end of the price scale at £30 per linear meter + vat but provides the best results to the overall project. Half bullnose is £19.98 per linear meter + vat and pencil bullnose £9.98 per linear meter + vat.

Porcelain Stone Bullnose Comparison and Benefits

What are the alternatives to porcelain step bullnosing?

While it’s clear to see the attraction of bullnose and how nicely it finishes off the patio, there are of course other options available. You can leave your steps square as seen above in the picture comparison or you can purchase tile trim. Tile trim is a cheaper alternative to finishing off a step edge and in most cases is nicer than an exposed step edge or joint. It be used with any tile however, tile trim will usually not last very long as the steps are subject to continued foot traffic. It often comes loose and needs replacing, which can sometimes be more costly in the long run. We definitely recommend going with bullnose for that luxury completion your garden steps need!

Next Steps

To order your bespoke, professionally profiled bullnose edges for steps or copings in your garden you can get in touch with our expert porcelain paving team who can advise the best format to suit the needs of your project!

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