I needed a mattress. I had been sleeping on layers of comforters folded in half to resemble a mattress shape, and the old tip that sleeping on the floor is good for a person's back was proving to be anything but true. Previous mattresses had self-destructed pretty quickly, so this time I wanted to do my research and find a good, comfy bed that would last. I logged into my Consumer Reports account and searched for mattresses. What I found was an article from them all but saying, "On this topic, we can be of little help." They actually had a bit more than that, but I definitely wasn't going to get my trusted red and black circles giving me any sense of "This brand does this well, that one less so, but they're good in this other area…" like I can with just about anything else they've evaluated. It has to do with multiple manufacturers making overlapping products for overlapping distributors with overlapping names, and the basic inability to be specific about exactly which mattress is being tested.

Definitionally, the bullnose is our mattress. The topic is a mess: What is a bullnose? It is used in everything from heavy, outdoor construction to meticulous furniture design. In the flooring industry alone, the word is used for laminate step noses, ceramic versions of baseboards, decorative wood pieces and many more items. It's ceramic, it's wood, it's thin and round, it's wide and flat - it's just an overused term for many, very specific things! When I looked "bullnose" up online to see what kinds of results people would get, I found no less than 7 very different shapes and kinds of trim.

At Floors To Your Home, we rarely carry trims of any sort which could be called bullnoses, so if you need to find a type of bullnose for your home project, we want to offer some advice on shopping. You see, there are too many things called “bullnose” for you to be anything less than meticulous in your search. What we can say is that at the most basic level, it is a flat piece with a single, rounded end, but that alone led me to find pieces of the following shapes:

7 very different things, all called "bullnose"

In almost all of its uses, a  bullnose is a finishing piece featuring a rounded edge, offering an aesthetic alternative to hard, squared off edges and corners, and the proliferation of types just emphasizes how many options there are to use it. Bullnoses are used at the ends of countertops, especially granite countertops. It is used in making desks and tables. If drywall is rounded off at the edge, it’s called a bullnosed finish. The term pops up in larger realms like the construction of buildings.

With flooring, you’ll see  bullnose options primarily with real ceramic tile floors, where it can be used in place of cove base. It also has uses with wood and laminate (though it may also have another name, like “Stair Nose”). It can be used as an elegant way to frame your floor.

Our advice to you would be to be very, very clear when purchasing, or shopping for anything designated a bullnose. Communicate with your customer sales person:

1. Of what material it should be made (ceramic, wood, etc.)
2. Where you intend to use it (the perimeter of the floor, where a floor meets the stairs, etc.)
3. What size it should be, as exactly as you can state it.

This will help your people help you to make sure you get exactly what you need, and not something completely wrong just because you asked for a bullnose, and the person sent you their thing called “bullnose”, but you each meant something completely different.


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David has written and made videos about flooring products and installation since 2011 at Floors To Your Home (.com), where he is also the PPC Manager, a Researcher, a Website & Marketing Strategy Team member, Videographer, Social Strategist, Photographer and all around Resource Jito. In my spare time I shoot and edit video, put together a podcast, explore film history, and mix music (as in ‘play with Beatles multi-tracks’). Connect with  W. David Lichty


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