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How to Install Carpet on Stairs

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There are some great benefits to carpeting the stairway. Besides the cozy feeling created by the soft appearance of the carpet on the stairs, you can also take advantage of softened footsteps and increased safety. The chances of slipping on the stairs can be significantly reduced with the help of a carpeted stairway. If you plan on installing carpet on stairs, it’s safe to say that you need to get ready to put in some considerable effort and time in the process. Let’s take a look at the essential steps required to deal with this job.

1. Select the Carpet

The first step required is to figure out which carpet works best for the stairs. Considering that this is a heavy-traffic area, you should invest in a high-quality carpet that can withstand a lot of wear. Focus on durability and convenient cleaning abilities. It’s also important to be aware of installation difficulty. Some carpet runners can be easier to install in some cases but you might need to deal with the hemming process for a custom cut.

2. Measure and Cut the Padding

Installing the carpet on your stairway requires mounting the foundation first. A special cushion material forms the foundation needed for extending the carpet’s lifespan. By adding padding before installing the carpet, you can benefit from superior softness. Padding has to be cut for every step of the stairs as well as for the landing. Make sure you’re taking careful measurements for each stair tread and riser. To create precise cuts, we recommend using a utility knife. If you’re lucky enough to have standard-sized steps, just make a template to speed up the cutting process.

3. Apply Tackless Strips

Tackless strips need to be added on the riser and back of the tread. These strips are made of wood and will simplify your DIY install work. Affixing the strips is done using a hammer as each unit has to be nailed down. With the help of a spacer built by joining two tack strips together, you can get more precise when it comes to positioning the strips. By inserting some cardboard between the baseboard and the strip, you can prevent damage caused by hammering.

4. Staple the Carpet Padding

It’s time to staple the carpet pad in place. We recommend starting in the middle of the tread in front of the tackless strip. Before you get to work, look closely at the position of the pad to ensure it’s correctly wrapped around the stair. Staple across the whole length to keep the padding firmly attached.

5. Installing the Carpet

Now that you have the padding installed, it’s time to bring in the carpet from the bottom step to the landing. Make sure you measure and cut the carpet because using single pieces prevents tripping hazards. A correct installation can’t be done by relying on just the long strip of carpet. Add some extra inches when checking the width to properly cover the edges of the stairway. Similar to the padding, a simple template can be used if you have identical stairs.

6. Other Carpet Installation Methods

There are different methods you can use for installing carpet on stairs. One of the best solutions is called the French cap. This is a recommended method to obtain a clean finish by wrapping the carpet’s tread and contouring its edges straight to the riser.

Another great installation method is called Hollywood. This is a great choice if you wish to get a contoured appearance. It covers the carpet over the edge of the tread and the front of the step. As its flashier name suggests, the Hollywood method works best for those stairways that benefit from great visibility.

A simpler installation can be achieved with the help of the waterfall method. It’s less overwhelming compared to the French cap style. The result won’t be as polished-looking but it’s a good compromise, especially if you’re dealing with thicker carpets. In this method, the carpet is affixed to the tread’s edge and dropped down to the next tread while skipping the riser.

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