Learn How to Properly Install Carpet on Stairs

The staircase is one of the most trafficked parts of the home or office. This property of the staircase means that it is always in the public eye. What’s more, your staircase can deliver aesthetic appeal when decorated in an appropriate manner.

Installing a carpet on your staircase is detailed work. You either engage the services of Carpet Installation Professionals, or you install on your own. If you choose the latter, you must ensure you cautiously adhere to the processes involved in installing a carpet on your staircase.

Modern staircase structures either follow the Hollywood method of installation or the Waterfall Method.

Hollywood Method

This method comes with staircases that are within visible areas in the home or office. Place the carpet such that it wraps itself over the stair tread, the nosing ( or edge of the step) and the riser. This method gives your carpeting an even and firm finish.

Waterfall method

The Waterfall method of installing carpets on staircases suits less visited areas. Such as the basement and underground enclosures. Here, the carpet rolls over the flight of stairs without the need for a firm placement. This method is most suitable for heavy and thick-set carpets.

The process of installing a carpet on your staircase will take you through the following steps. They include Initial preparation covering measurements and purchases. Installing Tackless Strips and Setting the Carpet Padding. As well as laying the Carpet Runner among others.

Step by Step Guide - Installing Carpet on Stairs

1. Obtain the dimensions of your staircase

This step begins your journey in installing a carpet on your staircase. You must determine the dimensions of your stairs and the size of each step. This information will cover the length, breadth and width of each stair step as well as the number of stairs.

The number of stairs is of critical importance. It determines the amount of tackless strips and padding required for the installation.

2. Seek guidance from Carpet fixing experts

Aside from procuring your carpet and other accessories, you can present your staircase data to the Carpet sales vendor. The vendor can offer specialist advice based on your staircase size and dimensions. Include your preferred tastes in color, look and finish of the carpet.

Present pictures of your staircase so that the consultant can gain more understanding. Also, it is advisable to buy more than your calculated dimensions.To compensate for any variations.

3. Plan with your decoration preferences in mind

The carpet for stairs should complement the ambience of your home or office. Choose colors and designs that are in conformity with your least expectations.

4. Buy the carpet material and accessories

Your carpet cannot stand alone when installing on your staircase. The list of essentials for your carpeting project will include:

  • The carpet itself (buy more than the amount calculated to compensate for errors and cuts
  • A measuring tape
  • Tack strips
  • A Hammer
  • Nails
  • Carpet padding
  • all-purpose knife
  • Hammer tacker
  • Staples
  • Carpet runner
  • Knee kicker
  • Carpet  knife

5. Installing Your Tackless Strips

Tackless strips are essential in keeping your carpet rooted on your staircase. These strips are thin pieces of wood that come with tacks, positioned upwards. The steps for installing the pieces are as follows:

Use tacks that are shorter in length than width of the runner you have selected. You will need two tackless strips for each stair case. On the riser, nail your strip a quarter of an inch from the base/bottom of the riser. On your stair tread, secure your strip a quarter of an inch from the back.  A rule of thumb is for the strips to place at close angle to each other.

6. Installing the Carpet Padding

The padding is another critical element of the installation process.  The carpet pad or padding gives the carpet its soft feel and cushion effect when stepped on. The padding also offers protection to the feet from protruding tacks.

  • Measure and cut a piece of carpet pad for each thread. The trick is to cut out pad pieces that are of the same length as the tackless strip, not the carpet runner itself. This arrangement gives the carpet a well-placed and tapered look and feel.
  • Place your cut-out pads over the tackless strips and secure with your staple pins. Take care to align each pad with the strips.  Installation Professionals advise that you start from the bottom upwards.So that you can settle on the padding as you work on succeeding steps.
  • Pull the carpet padding over the nose of the staircase (The Nose of the staircase is the part that extends beyond the drop or height of the stairs.) You aim to achieve a snug fit for your padding.
  • Ensure the padding is laid out well.

Carpet Installation experts advise that you begin your padding from the bottom up, so that you can the padding sits well, as you progress upwards.

7. Placing the Carpet Runner

  • The standard practice is to begin at the top of the staircase. From this position, you have a better view of the process, and you can cut off the excess carpets at the ends/sides.
  • Set the runner between the pencil marks depicting the carpet outline. With the outline, you can ensure that the carpet is in-between as close as possible. While at it, take care to press the carpet under the nose and tug the rest out. This action ensures that you make do with as much carpet as required. The key is to ensure a snug fit for each step before you move on to the next.
  • Use the carpet knee –kicker to plant the carpet into areas difficult to reach by hand. Place the knee-kicker in the centre of the runner and two inches above the riser. Apply enough pressure until you are certain that the carpet is well placed.
  • Verify that the kicking is complete by using the knee-kicker over the whole staircase.
  • Use the chisel to press the angle between the step’s height and thread, so that the carpet stays hooked in.
  • Cut out any excess carpet or run-off at the bottom of the staircase.
  • Staple each step on the staircase to the wood, to round off the carpet installation process. Staple underneath the step noses. You should aim for the nearest the angle between thread and height of the step. This arrangement will ensure solidity of the carpet placement.


Each of the steps itemized is essential for a perfect carpet installation for your staircase. Ensure you create ample time for the process and pay undivided attention to detail. These action steps are to forestall committing mistakes and wasting time and resources.