In this article we will discuss how to cover your hardwood stairs with carpeting. First of all decide if you want to cover the entire stairs or just the high traffic area. Depending on the condition of the hardwood on your stairs, you may want to consider a carpet runner for your stairs. Using a runner, you reap the benefits of the carpeting and you can still show off the beauty of your hardwood.
However if your hardwood is not in the best condition you may wish to cover your stairs completely with carpeting. Laying a runner is simple, just start at the bottom and use a stretcher to tighten the carpet at each step before stapling the runner to the steps. We are going to go into detail on how to carpet the entire stairway.
Choosing your Carpet
For stairs, you are going to want to choose the correct type of carpet. Since stairways are generally a high traffic area, you will want a carpet that hides stains well and is durable enough to handle continual foot traffic. I recommend a Berber carpet. Berber carpet is made with loops that are stronger than regular carpet. Also, choose a color that will not show dirt easily like a brown or a tan and brown mix. Combining more than one color in your carpet will always hide dirt better than a single color carpet.
First of all you are going to want to make sure you have the proper tools and materials. You will need the following:
• Knee kicker style stretcher
• Carpet knife
• Carpenter’s square
• Tape measure
• Stair tool
• Tack strips
• Berber carpet
• Straight edge
Steps for covering the entire stairway with carpet
To make installing the carpet over your stairway as easy as possible, we have assembled ten easy steps for you to follow while installing your carpet. They are:
1. Measure across a stair tread to determine the width of your carpet. Add 3 inches to the width if you did not order ready bound carpet. You will need an inch and a half on each side to fold over for your even edges. A professionally bounded carpet is preferred. Then all you do is have it cut and bound to the proper width.
2. To get the length of the carpet you will need to measure the tread and the riser. Add 3 inches for each step if you are going to use padding. Add another inch per step if your treads have a nosing.
3. Once you have the carpet cut to size, start at the bottom of the stairs and staple the edge of the carpet to the first riser. You should place a staple at least every 3 inches across the width of the carpet.
4. Apply your tack strips at the edge of the tread that meets the riser(the crotch of the stair).
5. Stretch the carpet taut up over the nose of the first tread.
6. Use the stair tool to compress the carpet under the nose of the first tread and run a line of staples under the nose into the riser.
7. Using the knee kicker, stretch the carpet across the tread and hook it to your first tack strip. Then use the stair tool again to firmly tuck the carpet into the crotch of the stair.
8. Take a step back and make sure you have no slack in the carpet and that everything is perfectly straight.
9. Begin up the second rise. Staple the carpet to the rise towards the bottom and just under the lip, using your stair tool again as before. Then you can stretch across the tread like on the first step.
10. Repeat this process until you are done.
This is one way of carpeting your stairway. This method may not be the correct method for your stairway. If you have a curved stairway for example, you are going to have to follow a whole different process. If you still have any unanswered questions ask your local carpet supplier for assistance. They should be more than happy to give you advice, especially if you purchased the carpet there.
Photo by Daniel Morrison, Creative Commons Attribution License