How to Cut Bullnose Trim for Stairs

The stairs inside your house have rounded front trim called bullnose trim.
Bullnose trim fits seamlessly with the tread.Bullnose trim fits seamlessly with the tread.
This trim protects your toes from getting cracked on the sharp corners where the tread meets the riser. The bullnose trim also protects the tread and riser from chipping and other damage done by rough shoes. Without this important piece of stair covering, you would need to replace the treads and risers quite often. You have to cut the trim to the exact width of the tread to guarantee a tight fit.

Step 1

Measure the width of the tread for the first step using a tape measure.

Step 2

Mark a line on the length of bullnose trim to the width of the first step's tread, using a pencil and square to draw the line perpendicular to the nose of the trim.

Step 3

Set the trim against the fence of the miter saw. Hold the miter saw with your dominant hand and the trim with the other. Pull the miter blade down toward the trim to cut on the line.

Step 4

Measure the width of the tread for the second step. Use this measurement to cut the next length of bullnose trim. Continue the same process for each step.

Things You Will Need

  • Tape measure
  • Square
  • Miter saw


  • A miter saw works better than a table saw or handheld saw when cutting trim because you can see where the blade will touch the trim at all times and you have more control over the movement of both the blade and the trim.
  • Cut each section of trim after measuring each individual step to guarantee accurate trim lengths.


  • Always wear safety goggles when cutting wood to avoid eye injury from flying wood scraps.

About the Author

Amanda Fetherlin is a writer, mother and former teacher with extensive experience in home remodeling, daycare education and domestic activities. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from St. Louis University.