How To Install Carpet On Stairs

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how to install carpet on stairs

Have you been wanting to place new carpets on the stairway in your home?

This is a great way to make the stairs more comfortable to walk on, especially without shoes, and create a more inviting and cozier atmosphere.

They can also make the stairs safer since they give you a smaller chance of falling and gives you padding if you do a trip.

However, if you don’t have the budget to pay professional installers to take care of the carpet for you, you will have to learn how to install carpet on stairs yourself.

This is not as difficult as you might think, but you also don’t want to guess how to do it only to need to do it again. So, if you want to know how to install carpet on stairs so you can get this job done, here are all the steps. 

What You Will Need To Finish the Job: 

tools to install carpet on stairs

When you decide to do your installation for carpeting your stairs, you want to make sure that you have the proper tools to get it done. Here is a list of everything that you will need:

  • Carpet knife 
  • Tape measure 
  • Carpet and padding 
  • Stair tool 
  • Tackless strips 
  • Scratch awl 
  • Seam sealer 
  • Hot melt seaming tape 
  • Straightedge 
  • Hammer stapler 
  • Wall trimmer 

Installing Carpet on Stairs: Step by Step Guide 

Now that you have all of your tools for the job, you can get started on the hard work. Here is how to do it: 

Step 1: Measure and Cut the Carpet Pad to Fit 

measuring carpet

First, you need to cut the carpet pad to fit each stair. It should measure from the stair exactly from where the tack strips will be, so you want to be as precise as possible. However, if it is a bit too big, just cut the size one you figure it out and all will be good.

Step 2: Install Tackless Strips 

These strips will need to be placed along the base of the next step and the end of the step you are covering. These areas are called the riser and the tread. The strips will be close together, but you want to ensure that there is enough space between them to tuck the excess carpet into, so make sure that they are not touching. 

Step 3: Put on the Carpet Pads 

Once the tackles strips are in place, use the hammer stapler tool to attach the pads to the stairs. The carpet pad should be stapled along the entire length of the stair, and it should not be stapled into the strip below. The staple should be placed right in front of it. If you notice that there is a bit extra that you need to trim off the padding, do so before you staple it on. 

Step 4: Fit Carpet Pad to the Stair 

You will want to take the carpet pad and flatten it against the stair so that it is formed to the shape of it. This should start taking on the shape of the stair the more you tighten the pad against. Once you have the carpet pad shaped against the stair, you want to use the stapler again to keep it in place. 

Step 5: Measure the Stairs for the Carpet 

You want to make sure that you have the right sizing of the carpet before you make your cuts, and you also want to add a few extra inches to be safe. This is what you will use as a template for the rest of the stairs so that you don’t have to measure every step. 

Once the measurements are finished, use the straightedge to cut the carpet to size for each step. You will want to measure the pieces after you’re done to ensure that they are all about the same size. 

Step 6: Install the Carpet 

Place the pieces of carpet that were cut from the template and place them on the stairs, making sure that you carefully place each carpet piece in and use your scratch awl to push the carpet against the tackless strips. The goal of this is to make the line of the carpet to be as clean and seamless as possible.

Step 7: Staple the Carpet Down 

staple carpet down

Once the carpet pieces are in place, you will need to staple along the riser. The staples should not be placed on the tackless strips and should instead be right along the side of it. You want to have enough staples to keep the carpet in place, but you don’t want to have too many that it creates a line where the staples are. So, keep them about an inch apart to keep it looking clean. 

Step 8: Stretch Carpet and Create Crease 

Next, you need to use a knee kicker to stretch the seam of the carpet so that it stays close to the step. You need to begin in the middle of the step and work outwards. This will allow the carpet to stay closer to the curved part of the step and gives it a more fitted look. 

Then, you want to make that look even more defined. Using your stair tool and the rubber mallet to create a crease along the same line where you stretched the carpet. Use stick the stair tool in the crease and use the rubber mallet to hammer it. This will push the carpet onto the tackles strip better and create a crisp crease that you are looking for. 

Video Tutorial

End of the Process 

Looking at the stairs now that you have installed the carpet yourself, you should feel accomplished. And, now that you know how to install carpet on stairs, you can help others to do the same. This finishing touch can make your home look comfortable and it can make it safer as well. 

Keep in mind that carpets get dirty with time, so you might want to vacuum your stairs, and use a portable carpet cleaning machine.

If you ever need to review this guide again, just come back to this article and use it as a guide to install a new carpet on your stairs whenever you need to.

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Nora has more than 5 years experience in the floor covering industry, acquiring vast knowledge about installation and material selection. She now enjoys working as a writer and an interior decorator. Her work has been featured in The Spruce, Homes & Gardens, Southern Living and Real Homes. See full biography here.

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