How to Carpet Stairs How to Carpet Stairs

What You'll Need
Tape measure
Knee kickers
Tack hammer
Utility knife
Stair wedging tool
Carpet fastening strip
Tack strips

Knowing how to carpet stairs is a useful skill and one that will save you money when you need to re-carpet the stairs in your house. There are two ways to carpet stairs. One way is to install a runner that goes down the center of the stairs and the other is the waterfall method that covers the entire stair.

Step 1 - Measuring

After removing all the old carpeting and tack strips from your stairs you’re ready to learn how to carpet stairs. You need to begin by measuring so you’ll know how much carpet you’ll need for the job.

Measure around one entire tread, including the height and then add 1 inch. Convert to feet and multiply this by the number of treads. This will give you the measurement in feet. Divide by 3 to give the length in yards. Stair carpets are available in widths of 27 inches and 36 inches. When you select your carpet, also buy good carpet padding or underlay.

Step 2 -Fastening Strip

With a saw, cut the tack strips to fit at the side of each stair at the edges. These should be nailed in in place along the edges of both the tread and the riser. Cut the carpet fastening strip to the width of the stair minus 2 inches and staple into place over the edge of each tread down onto the riser. At the very bottom of the stairs run a fastening strip across the width of the stair.

Step 3 - Padding

Lay the padding in place from the top step and cascading down over the remainder of the stairs. It won’t be quite as wide as the stairs themselves, so the tack strips will show at the edges. This is how to carpet stairs properly. Secure the padding in place with staples, pushing it tight over each tread and riser. Use staples ever 2 inches for a tight, secure fit. It’s important that your padding is straight so that it fills each stair properly.

Step 4 - Carpet

With the padding in place, the next step in how to carpet stairs is to put the carpet itself in place. Lay the carpet in place on the stairs, making sure it’s absolutely straight. The bottom edge should be at the bottom on the stairs. If there are any uneven edges, trim them with a knife.

Use an awl to push the carpet into place, fastened on the fastening strip. On the first step, use the knee kicker to push the carpet tight against the stair before using the awl to secure the carpet on the fastening strips. Repeat this on each step to be sure the carpet is secure. At the top of the stairs, use the knee kicker to stretch the carpet before tacking it into place. Use a screwdriver to push the edges of the stair carpet down against the walls. Tack the edges in place.

Step 5 - Runner

If you're putting a runner on the stairs, it needs to be centered in the stairway. Use fastening strips, making sure they're no wider than the runner and use tacks on the edges of the runner to keep it in place.

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