How to Install Stairway Carpets
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Giving your stairs a carpet layer is an effective way of adding some luxury to your household. Although people might not take direct notice of a home’s carpet and flooring, it nonetheless has a major impact on the overall vibe and tone of a room or house. A carpet emits less volume when walked upon, and it’s generally more comfortable to walk on — especially if you’ve taken to walking barefoot. From a home renovation perspective however, arguably the most important reason to carpet your stairs is the benefit it lends to wear and longevity. Due to the fact stairs receive proportionally greater foot traffic than the rest of the house, it makes sense to coat the steps with some extra padding.
Installing carpet can look like a daunting task, particularly if you’ve never done home renovations on your own before. However, provided you have all of the proper equipment at hand, it shouldn’t be too difficult. In this article, we’ll cover how to prepare for your carpet installation job, the process of measuring out your stairs and carpet for proper cutting, and the proper installation of the stair carpet. If your stairs already have a carpet and you want to replace it, you’ll need to remove what’s already there before starting this process.
Get Your Supplies Prepared
Step 1: Get your home renovation equipment together. Not including the carpet materials, you’ll need a tape measure and carpet knife to gauge the required length and cut pieces to size accordingly.
You’ll need a hammer stapler to lock down the tackless strips underneath the carpet. Seaming tape and sealer are also required for finishing touches and proofing the floor. If you’re planning on running the carpet across the entire width of each step, you’ll also need to get a wall trimmer.
Step 2: Choose a suitable carpet. A perfect choice of stair carpet will be one that matches (or at least compliments) the existing design palette of the home’s interior. It is recommended you take measurements of your stairs first before going to the store to pick up a carpet.
Considering how much foot traffic stairs tend to attract, it is recommended that you spend the extra money on a higher-grade quality of material. Ideally you’ll want a carpet that is nice to look at, soft to the touch, and relatively easy to clean. The customer service professional at your local home hardware store should be able to point you in the right direction.
Step 3: Purchase stair padding and tackless strips. Padding is a cushioned layer that is meant to go underneath the carpet to give it that distinctive carpet softness; not only is it a major boon to comfort, but it also helps with the carpet’s longevity.
Tackless strips will be used to hold the carpet down to the floor. There is carpet available with the back padding already attached to it, but it’s not recommended due to the fact that’s often of a lesser quality and harder to work with.
Step 4: Free up the staircase for a few hours. Laying down a carpet can transform a staircase. This doesn’t mean that people won’t want to use it in the time being while you’re working on it.
Unless you live alone, it is good form to inform people when you’re going to be working on the stairs, and request that people stay clear for the hours you’re working on it. This can mean taking any necessary items from upstairs down for the sake of ready access.
Step 1: Measure the width and length of the stairs. With a tape measure, measure the dimensions of the stairs, adding the depth and height together to account for the prospective carpet runner’s length.
You can actually measure the span of the stairs with your carpet runner itself, provided it’s been cut down to a suitable length. Do a mock placement of the carpet as you think it will look when finished, starting from the floor and wrapping the carpet tightly around each step as you ascend.
If your staircase curves, you’ll have to measure out and hew a section of carpet for each step.
Step 2: Mind the common overhang in interior steps. There is often an overhang with steps, so if you’re not able to include that directly as part of the measurements, you should always cut off more of a carpet length than you think you’ll need; additional factors such as padding will also change the final length to a certain extent.
Fortunately, steps are typically of uniform dimensions as the rest in a given flight, which should make the stairs easier to measure.
Step 3: Draw placemarkers on the wood steps to align the carpet. One of the easiest ways to make a carpet look amateurish is to place it off-center. You can make placement easier on yourself by taking a pencil an drawing short lines with a ruler at intervals up the stairs, thus providing an outline of where the carpet runner will go when it’s set.
Once you have made your marks on either side, you should take measurements again to ensure the placemarkers share equal distances from the far ends of each step; the distance should be equal among placemarkers on all steps as well.
Step 4: Cut carpet padding to fit the carpet of each stair. After measuring the length and width of each step, you should cut the underpadding into appropriately sized rectangles.
Remember to leave some width at the back of the stair and bottom of the riser for the tackless strips, as these are needed to hold the carpet in place.
Step 5: Have the carpet edges cut according to the measurements. If you’re not completely sure what you’re doing, you may consider having the carpet ends hewn by a professional. Otherwise, you may fray the carpet and it will look amateurish as a result.
Lastly, although it should go without saying, you should make sure that your measurements have been consistent and accurately reported before you start making irreversible cuts. Use the same tape measure if you can, and double-check the measurements before taking a knife to the carpet. After all, once you commit to a cut, there’s no going back.
Installing the Stair Carpet
Step 1: Install tackless strips. Before you move on with the carpet padding, you need to install. There should be two strips for every stair: one at the back of the tread, with another one diagonally adjacent to it at the bottom of the riser. Tackless strips can be nailed into the stairs with a hammer.
Step 2: Lay down the stair padding. If you have not done so already, With a hammer stapler, lay down and secure the carpet padding to each stair, beginning at the far corner and working your way both up and forward.
Make sure that the padding is evenly distributed and accurately placed before committing to the action. Shape the padding around the step with your hands after you’re finished. Removing staples is a lot harder than double-checking, and you may wreck the padding if you pull it up again.
Step 3: Place the carpet according to the placemarkers. If you have measured out a carpet centerpiece, you should already have placemarkers lightly etched on parallel sides of the naked steps. Before you press the carpet down, you should make sure the carpet is equally as aligned with the placemarkers at the top as it is at the very bottom.
With the new stair dimensions created by the new padding and strips, you may need to cut a bit more off of the end of the carpet runner; this is fortunately easily done off the top once the carpet has been set.
Step 4: Crease the carpet into the edges. A professional carpet is going to look tightly locked to the floor; tightness is also important for safety.
Just like you did with the padding, shape the carpet around each step, moving your way from top to bottom. The tackless strips you installed earlier should hold the carpet in place. If you have one available, a knee kicker is an efficient way of cinching the carpet into the corners of each stair.
Step 5: Trim and seal the carpet edges. Even after folding the carpet into the edges, there may be a bit that trails further than it should. Trim off any excess carpet past the treads. Apply a sealant to the far ends of the carpet. This will lessen the potential wear on the carpet and will also make it look nicer.
Once all steps have been completed, it is always a good idea to double-check your finished product. A carpeted staircase looks and feels great, and you’ll want peoples’ first impressions of it to be free of frays and imperfections. It may be a time consuming venture, but if done correctly, the end result is sure to pay off.