Bullnose Steps – Best Stone to Cover Step Area

Bullnose Steps – Best Stone to Cover Step Area

Mar 28, 2023

Bullnose steps are trends in the creation of small to big scale stairs in outdoor spaces. Bullnose profile is a safe & accepted edge treatment to shape various types of treads in the staircase projects. World of Stones USA is going to add value in the knowledge of bullnose steps among the natural stones. 

What Is Bullnose Step?

The term bullnose step has two different words, BULLNOSE & STEP.

Bullnose indicates the shape which has an outline like the nose of a bull. The nose of the bull is smoothly curved in shape. 

BULLNOSE term in the dimension industry mainly applies to front edges of stones (Nose) in stairs in the following outdoor applications:

  • Patios,
  • Porches, 
  • Decks, 
  • Hills in Landscapes,
  • Pool Coping,
  • Countertops, 
  • Window Sills & Headers, 
  • Stepping Stones in garden or landscape.


A step is a contextual and colloquial term. The STEP indicates a structure in stairs consist of riser & tread. 

In short, it remains “stairs” in indoor applications while “steps” in outdoor applications. 

Types of Bullnose Steps

Based on the shapes, we can classify bullnose steps into two types:

Full Bullnose Profile

It outlines the nose of a tread stone completely curved to create a smooth edge in steps or stairs. It means it has a top and bottom edges are smoothly curved.

Half Bullnose Profile

As its name suggests, the half bullnose profile has only top edge curved while the bottom edge remains flat or sharply cornered. Half bullnose edge profile mostly applied in the case of treads, which are missing protrusion of the nose at the top of the risers.

Based on sides of a stone-step, on-which the bullnose edge-profile has applied, we can categories bullnose steps in the following types:

One-sided Bullnose Steps

In the covered type of stair structure, only the front side of steps/treads are open. So, we can apply a bullnose profile to only one end.

Two-sided Bullnose Steps

In an open type of stair structure, mainly made of metal framework, risers are absent, and stepping stones exist only as treads with support of cut stringers. 

Three-sided Bullnose Steps

Starting or feature treads and curtail step at the bottom of the staircase have three open sides. We can apply the bullnose edge profile to those steps.

Four-sided Bullnose Steps

In landscape design, often four-sided stairs developed for decorative purposes. The top step of such stairs/steps structure has four sides open. We can apply a bullnose profile to all/four open sides at a time.

External Corner Bullnose Profile

In the case of Feature Treads with two Volutes in a stair, as well as many open-sided “Steps” in garden and landscape designing, a protruding rounded cornerstone becomes an essential element where we can apply external corner bullnose profile to enhance its look-n-feel.

Inner Corner Bullnose Profile

In the case of rounded and helical stair shapes, we need an internal corner bullnose profile. Similarly, many decorative steps in outdoor applications like pool deck steps often demand an inner corner bullnose profile to implement to improve the overall appearance of steps.

Types of Natural Stones Use in Bullnose Steps

Technically, calcareous types of stones are suitable for indoor stairs. Therefore, the following types of rocks used in bullnose steps.


Limestone is one of the prime sources of natural stones in the dimension industry, thanks to its abundance in nature and availability everywhere. The softness, durability, and varieties of limestone render it the best choice for bullnose steps in outdoor applications.


Marbles are of many types and come with plenty of variations in colors, styles, patterns, veins, and grains. It is incredibly soft and brittle stone types. So, it allows easy cutting to shape the bullnose profile of your choice. Its stunning appearance makes it the best candidate for interior bullnose stair steps projects.


Travertine looks superior to limestone but quite different from marbles. Bullnose steps experts perceive it for external applications like swimming pools, decks, and landscaping steps.

Similarly, most of the siliceous stones are the best choices for outdoor steps, such as:


It is a costly stone type and mostly used in luxurious homes in interior stairs as well as on countertops.


Granite considers as the sturdiest type of stone category available almost everywhere and in abundance. However, it is costly in material and installation, but people still love it because of its durability, attractiveness, and capabilities of various resistance.


Sandstone is the most common type of natural stone used in outdoor projects—many ideal bullnose steps projects found with sandstone material.

Slate Stone

Slatestone becomes an ideal choice when we strive for swimming pool projects. Pol coping and bullnose steps are ample in the filed.

Some stone types prevalent in the market have no particular geological type origin. In the case of bluestone, those are stones found in some areas of Europe, particularly in the UK. Flagstone types of stones are consist of some local kinds of rocks, mostly found in the fields and hills, not in quarries or mountains.


Bluestone is available almost everywhere in the North American and European regions. Color options and softness in working have established it as the first choice for bullnose steps.


Due to local types of natural stone varieties, flagstones are cheaper and easy-to-go options for bullnose steps projects for outdoor applications like patios, porches, decks, and Steps in landscaping designs.

The Best Natural Stone Type Recommendations for Bullnose Steps

Now, decide which natural stone type is the best choice for your bullnose steps project based on our comparative analysis of project costings.

If we look at the material cost, installation cost, and overall cost based on the sum of both parameters, we can end up with the following.

Stone Type

Material Cost per Linear Foot

Installation Cost

Overall Cost













Slate Stone












Precast Cement-concrete 




Similarly, we compare cost per tread in the stair/steps and overall value, including installation charges with each stone type, the picture becomes more apparent to decide between buying.

Stone Type

Cost per Tread

Overall Cost including Installation










Slate Stone









Prices calculated for a 25 Linear foot staircase with ten steps. 

[Data obtained from https://www.homeadvisor.com/cost/stairs-and-railings/stone-steps-prices/?]


Based on the comparative costing analysis for each different stone type, we can say that:

  • Bluestone & flagstone types of natural stones are the cheapest choices among all kinds of natural stones used for bullnose steps. 
  • If you are striving for some good quality stones, slat stones, and sandstone varieties are somewhat cheaper among top quality stone types used for bullnose steps projects.
  • The installation costs are the highest in the case of quartzite, granite, marbles, and slat stone types.
  • Limestone and travertine are accepted material for outdoor steps projects, but installation charges and availability somewhat prohibit its applications on large scales. 

World of Stones USA is an ideal place to order your requirements online and get the best of services before and after the purchase, including guidance. 


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