Types of Carpeting for Stairs & Factors to Consider

Benefits of Stair Carpeting

The main reason people carpet their stairs is to prevent slipping on hardwood flooring. Additional benefits of carpeting include added warmth and comfort, reduction of noise and protection of the carpet underneath. Stair runners are also a great choice for covering any scuffs or stains on stairs and flooring.

Stair Carpeting – 3 Primary Ways:

  1. Stair Runners: The most common and decorative option. Carpet runners for stairs are decorative strips of carpet which run down the middle of staircases, leaving a strip of exposed steps on either side.
  2. Stair Treads: The most inexpensive option, because they call for the least amount of material, are stair treads. Stair treads offer similar functionality and benefits as stair runners, except the
    pieces of carpets are designed to adhere to the individual steps.
  3. Wall-to-Wall Carpeting: The most practical option if you don’t want to expose the ugly plywood or imperfect hardwood on your steps. This option covers the entirety of each step with full

Choosing a Carpet Material

The Carpet Workroom offers an extensive selection of carpet materials. The premier floor – covering material is wool for a number of reasons. 100% wool textile provides the most resiliency, which means it will stand up to traffic the longest without showing wear paths.

Nylons fall just behind wools and are preferred by some because they don’t shed. Olefins and polyesters are at the bottom of the list because they look and feel the most plastic. In terms of pile, the most important thing to consider is the pile height. Plush carpets will show wear a lot quicker and more dramatic than tight pile carpets.

Carpet Color and Patterns (or not!)

One of the most important factors of buying a new carpet is choosing a color that matches the design aesthetic of your home or business space. If your walls or furniture are patterned, opt for a solid color carpet. Stick with one color scheme such as warm or cool colors. On the other hand, if your décor is simple, consider creating a conversation piece by adding a patterned carpet. Visual balance between color, patterns and texture is a vital aspect of interior design.

Rather than matching the walls and other décor in your home, look for coordinating colors in the same color family. Consider the pros and cons of choosing light and dark carpeting. Although lighter carpets can make a room appear larger, whites and light tones show stains and wear faster. Darker colors are best for rugs in high-trafficked areas or for homes with pets or kids. Dark carpets hide dirt and spills which can prolong the life of the carpet. On average, a carpet should last between five and ten years.

The questions you should consider when choosing a floor covering are:

Carpet Sizing and Pricing

Stair Runners: The most common and decorative way to carpet your stairs is with a runner. Carpet runners allow you to decoratively expose the hardwood on your floor while also practically covering the traffic areas. The standard widths for runners are 27” or 30”, but can be made into any custom size if converting from broadloom. Many manufacturers have their own runner lines, but because they pre-fabricate on their own, they tend to be very expensive.

The most cost effective way to do a runner is by finding a carpet remnant. Most carpet stores won’t tell you that if necessary, stairs can be installed one at a time rather than in continuous runner form. They keep this secret from you so they can order excess material and then sell it as a remnant. The Carpet Workroom is a family business that guarantees a fair and affordable price. The common rule is that you need 18 linear feet of carpet to cover 12 steps, so a remnant saves you a lot of money. Most runners are finished using a standard ¾” binding that keeps it from fraying but you can dress it up by using wide bindings, serging, or even bordering.

If you cannot find a remnant you like, just order broadloom and request the installer makes it into a runner. The last thing you will need to consider is how much wood you want to reveal. The standard reveals are 3” to 6”, but it all depends on your preference. The newest design trend for stair runners is painted risers. This is certainly something to consider if you really want to impress. Just picture the contrast of a dark-stained step, a white riser, and a patterned runner. This modern look is a designer’s dream.

Wall to Wall Carpeting: If covering a set of stairs that hasn’t been renovated, it is probably wisest to carpet the steps wall to wall or wall to spindle. All the same rules apply for this method, but you will need slightly more material to cover the extra width. If you have spindles or an exposed side that requires upholstery, the pricing could go up. However, you will not need to worry about binding or other fabrication.

Stair Treads: Stair treads are the most inexpensive option because they require the least amount of material. Stair treads simply cover the area that you step on. They come ready made with a sticky backing or can be made to order from any remnant or broadloom material.

Once you decide on a carpet type, color and size, it’s time to choose an installation method. The way the carpet is adhered to the stairs will determine the aesthetic.

Carpet Installation
The two most common types of installation methods are Waterfall and Hollywood style. If you’re not
sure which one is right for you, refer to the post Waterfall vs. Hollywood Carpet Installation Styles for more information on each method. No matter which way you decide to carpet your stairs, The Carpet Workroom offers professional rug installation services.

If you have any questions or would like a consult, please contact us and we will be happy to assist you.


Blue and white cheveron style fabricated and installed as a stair runner.

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