How Do I Get a Bullnose Edge Finish on Concrete Stairways?


A bullnose edge finish puts a rounded edge to your concrete projects. Besides looking good, the bullnose edge helps prevent the edge of the concrete from chipping and cracking. You get a bullnose edge finish on concrete stairways by using a hand-held edger. The edger is a small steel trowel that is slightly curved at one end. They come in a variety of sizes to give you the amount of curved edge that you need. Using one is easy, but it may take some practice to get it right.

Things You'll Need

  • Bucket
  • Water
  • Concrete edger
  • Fill a bucket with water. You will use this to clean your edger as you work. Dip the edger in to wet it before you begin.

  • Seat the curved edge of the edger between the concrete and the form at one end of the tread. The best way to do this is to make a sawing motion with the edger until the flat of the edger is resting on the concrete tread.

  • Tilt the edger slightly toward the form and away from you and draw it along the form to the opposite end of the tread. You want the edger to be lifted up slightly in the direction you are pulling it so it does not dig up the concrete.

  • Lift the edger straight off the concrete. Clean the edger in your bucket of water and repeat these steps for each tread.

Tips & Warnings

  • Wait to begin edging until you see the water begin to rise to the top of the finished concrete. You can test for this by inserting the edger as if you were going to begin and moving it back and forth just a few inches. Lift the edger off and check to see if water has risen to the surface. If it has, then it is time to begin.
  • Do not skip cleaning the edger between treads. Any concrete that begins to harden on the edger as you work will then dig into the concrete, preventing you from getting a smooth finish.

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  • Photo Credit stairs image by Rui Vale de Sousa from
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