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How to install carpet on stairs

Stairs are often one of the busiest areas of the home, and a well-decorated staircase can be a key area in your home’s decor. Installing carpet on the stairs, however, can be a daunting project, especially if you’ve never done it before. That’s why we offer a carpet installation service: it’s always best to have it done by a specialist.

But if you are a motivated do-it-yourselfer, or simply if you don’t live in the greater Montreal area and can’t benefit from our services, you can follow the steps described in this article.

It is important to know that the carpet installation techniques depend on the material of your staircase. You can’t install a carpet the same way on a wooden staircase as on a hard floor staircase. However, the preparation step is essential regardless of the type of staircase you have in your home.

Preparation for carpet installation


To get the necessary material for the stair runner installation, you must do according to your staircase. You should know its characteristics because the choice of the carpet depends on it.

1. Know the size of your staircase

Before buying a carpet, you must calculate the number of steps and the size of the staircase, i.e. its length, width and height. We recommend that you leave between 6 and 10 cm (2 to 4 inches) on each side to show the ends of the stairs.

Be sure to measure them one by one because risers and steps can vary in size.

Finally, when purchasing the carpet, allow for the equivalent of one or two extra steps: you can never be too careful.

2. Seek advice from a carpet specialist

After measuring your carpet, we recommend that you consult an expert. Talk to them about your project, especially your budget, your tastes, and your general expectations for the final result. Feel free to take pictures of the staircase and have the measurements in mind.

With all these elements, they will be able to give you precise advice as well as direct you towards the purchase of certain types of stair runners.

The advantage of going to a specialized store is also to take advantage of the numerous models, and even the fact that it is often possible to buy a custom-made carpet.

3. Buy the necessary tools

Here is a list of the elements you will need:

  • The amount of carpet you need, which will have been advised by the professional based on the size of your staircase.
  • An underpad to give more softness and preserve the life of your carpet.
  • A carpet kicker to stretch the carpet and avoid wrinkles.
  • If you have a wooden staircase, a stapler and its staples to fix the carpet, a hammer and nails to fix the slats to the stairs.
  • 2 slats for each step, one for the step and one for the riser.
  • If you have a hard floor staircase, adhesive glue and a spatula to spread the glue on the whole staircase.

Installing a stair runner on a wooden staircase

Four steps are necessary to install a stair carpet on a wooden staircase.

Plan the location of the carpet on each step and riser

Start by noting the location of each slat in pencil, calculating the space left on each side of the staircase. You may want to take a few inches of safety precautions to ensure that they don’t stick out once the carpet is laid.

Attach slats to steps and risers

Once you have the material, the laying of the stair carpet can begin with the installation of the slats. The slats hold the mat to the floor with mini nails. 3 or 4 nails should be enough for each slat.

Lay a carpet pad over the slats

Installing an underpad is the last step before installing the carpet, and not the least: they provide comfort and softness to the carpet. You can staple the carpet pad to the slats, making sure it is straight. All the slats should be covered by the carpet pad.

Staple the rug over the carpet pad

The installation of the carpet runner is done from top to bottom. Before you start, make sure the carpet is facing the right way: the pile should be pointing downwards.

Start by covering and stapling the steps before the nose and risers of the stairs. Using the carpet kicker will prevent wrinkles. You can then cut the few extra centimeters with a cutter. Repeat this process until you reach the last step of the staircase.

Installing a stair runner on a hard floor

The way you lay the rug is not the same, and neither is the material used. While you can staple the carpet to the wood, this is not the case on a hard floor. Therefore, you must glue the carpet pad and the carpet to the staircase.

However, the steps for installing a hard floor stairway are quite similar to those used for a wood stairway:

  • Take measurements of each step and riser and make a note of where you’ll be installing each part of the carpet.
  • Apply glue to the treads and risers with a spatula and wait a few minutes befor you proceed with your work to ensure that the glue is properly applied to the staircase.
  • Lay the carpet on the steps and risers, making sure that everything is straight.
  • Trim off any excess carpet. Again, it’s better to think too big and then cut, than to find that the carpet doesn’t cover all the steps and risers once it’s laid.

Again, we recommend starting at the top of the stairs.

The carpet installation on a staircase, a matter of specialists

As you can see, the laying of a stair runner is not an easy task. It is accessible to a non-professional, but the risks to have a rendering that is not up to the investment is important. The purchase of a high-end stair runner can really make your interior decoration go through the roof, but it must be installed with the utmost care.

As you will see in our achievements, calling upon Tapis André Viau, carpet store in Montreal, for the installation of the carpet, is to ensure an impeccable result. Trust our expert hands, that’s what we have been doing since 1957.

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