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How far apart should I install tactile studs in place of stair nosing?

There’s currently no guidance that pertains to exactly how far apart tactile studs should be installed on a set of stairs in place of stair nosing, as generally stair nosings are used across the board.  In the absence of this guidance, it’s still important to adhere to various principles to prevent their installation from becoming a hindrance.

Incorrect installation

If they’re installed too close together and don’t provide enough room for the foot to touch the surface adequately, they can cause the foot to pivot over the studs and become a hazard. The same can be said about their proximity to the edge of a stair tread, if they’re installed too close to the end of the stairs they can cause slippage for those ascending.

Correct tactile stud spacing – taking cues from existing guidance

There is existing guidance that we can draw from to draw a best practice. Within the DETR (Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions) guidelines blister paving is spaced at 41.8mm from the centre of each stud. The distance between the studs allows for the shoe sole to touch the studs and feel the space in between while getting all the grip benefits the studs offer.

Distance from the edge of the step

The next measurement that needs to be taken into consideration is the distance from the step’s edge. Installed too close and they can become a hazard, too far away and their impact is minimised. We recommend installing them at 27.5mm from the edge of the step (the centre of the stud being at the 27.5mm mark). This spacing is the midpoint for the average stair nosing in general use and covers the same effective area. If the stair set is made of stone, there may be an issue with the fragility of the surface. In this scenario it’s best to install further into the step, up to 80mm from the edge.


In conclusion, there are no hard and fast rules for tactile stud spacing when used as stair nosings. By looking at pre-existing guidance on tactile indicators and their use, we can pull together optimum spacings in terms of their distance apart at 41.8mm and their distance from the steps edge at 27.5mm. While these spacings are open to interpretation we’d recommend going no closer together than 41.8mm and no closer to the step edge than 27.5mm.

If you’re looking for help or assistance in using tactile studs in place of stair nosing, please give us a call on 01686 807 450 or email us at [email protected].