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Can You Put Carpet on Wood Stairs? (How To)

Stairs with carpets look so much more attractive than their bare counterparts, but not all homes come with carpets installed on the stairs. So it is left to the homeowner to take care of.

You can install carpet on wooden stairs quite easily. It is hard work and requires some planning, but doesn’t require any adhesives and can be done even if you’re not a professional builder or decorator.

Man installing carpet in wood stairs

Should You Put Carpet on Wood Stairs?

Man installing carpet in wood stairs

It’s only natural to wonder about any drawbacks to putting a carpet on your stairs, especially if it isn’t something you’ve done before.

You can put a carpet on wooden stairs—there isn’t much to worry about with this kind of project. Unless the stairs are rotten and need to be replaced, you should be able to easily install a new carpet and make it look amazing.

What Tools Do You Need to Put Carpet on Wood Stairs?

Tools used for installing carpet

As is the case with any other home improvement project, you will need the right tools to install a carpet.

There are several tools required to successfully install a carpet on wooden stairs. You’ll need tack strips, a tape measure, a carpet awl, a carpet knee kicker (a professional carpet tool you can hire), a stapler, and padding if you want to cushion the stairs.

What Preparations Do You Need to Install Carpet on Wood Stairs?

Tools used for installing carpet

Taking on a project in the home can go wrong if you don’t follow the right procedures. That’s why it’s always important to keep any necessary preparations in mind.

You don’t need to take any special precautions or make elaborate preparations when installing a carpet on wooden stairs. Just make sure you have accurate measurements so your carpet fits perfectly.

How to Install Carpet on Wood Stairs

confused man standing

Installing a carpet on your stairs may sound like a very complicated and difficult project, but once you’ve read up on how to do it, you will be surprised at how simple it is. It is still hard work, though.

To install a new carpet on your wooden stairs, you’ll have to choose between the Hollywood installation method and what is called the waterfall installation method. Then you may have to cut the carpet into the right size before putting it in place. You don’t even need adhesive!

Copyright protected content owner: and was initially posted on November 9, 2022.

Before you start installing the new carpet on your wooden stairs, you should think about the look you want because this will help you choose a way of installing it.

The waterfall installation method is a simpler process, and involves adhering the carpet to the tread’s edge. Next, you have to let it drop down directly so it meets the next tread’s back. You do this without securing the carpet to the riser. In most cases, this method is used if the carpet is thick and nubby and not so easy to manipulate.

With the Hollywood installation method, you will wrap the carpet over the edge of the tread. Next, it must be wrapped around the front edge of every step. Then you will fasten the carpet down on the riser. You get a clean and contoured look with this installation, and it’s the most common way carpets are installed on wooden stairs.

Here are step-by-step instructions to follow for a successful carpet installation:

Step One

Choose the carpet you want to install. It is best to go with a prefabricated, machine-hemmed stair runner. Using one of these will look best and make the installation much easier. 

Don’t worry, though, you can cut a carpet runner out of a standard carpet of your choice and give it a neat hem to avoid fraying. This is best left to be done by professionals. Make sure you have accurate stair measurements so your carpet will fit nicely.

The best width for your carpet is usually between 26 and 32/33 inches. This width will depend on how much stair surface you want to show. You will also have to determine the ideal length of carpet you’ll need. 

For this, you can measure the riser’s height and your stair tread’s depth and multiply this by how many stairs you have. Note that if you’re going to use the Hollywood installation method, you should add extra so you have enough that it’s possible to fasten the carpet completely. About an inch for every nosing as well as an additional 17 to 18 inches extra should be good enough.

Step Two

Once you have chosen your carpet, you will have to decide on a method of installation. The waterfall method is best for carpets that are difficult to manipulate, but the Hollywood method tends to look the best.

Step Three

It is now time to get your stairs ready for the carpet by installing tack strips. These will grip the carpet backing to keep it securely in place.

You should cut the tack strips smaller. You’ll need a pair for each stair. 

Proceed to nail one strip to each riser, making sure it is centered a quarter inch away from the stair’s bottom. You must also nail a strip on every tread. These strips must be a quarter inch away from the back, and they must also be centered.

Step Four

If you think you should give your steps more cushion, you should install a base of carpet padding. You should cut your carpet padding into squares or rectangles of the same length and width as your tack strips.

Make sure that the padding doesn’t cover your nailed-down tack strips. To install, secure the end of your now-cut padding on the tread at the front of your tack strip.

Next, pull the padding around the nosing of your stairs, making sure it’s tight. Staple it onto the next riser underneath, spaced out three inches.  

If you choose the waterfall method, you’ll have to clip the corners so it won’t be visible. Repeat these steps for the whole length of your staircase.

Step Five

Once you have the padding installed, you can proceed to install your carpet runner. You should work from the bottom to the top. Center your runner so that the same amount of stair surface is visible on the sides.

Press the carpet firmly into the very first tack strip and use your handy carpet awl to make sure you have a neat and clean appearance. 

Continue to secure your carpet runner to the stair riser. It should be secured beneath the following tread using staples that are spaced about three inches from each other. Should you choose the Hollywood installation method, you have to secure the carpet to the nosing’s underside, again spacing the staples about two to three inches apart.

Step Six

Now you re-center your carpet runner and push it over the nosing towards the following tack strip. Next, put the front of your knee kicker a little bit away from the second riser. As the name suggests, you need to use your knee to give it a firm jolt. This will ensure that the carpet is effectively and neatly tightened around the edges. 

Begin in the middle of the carpet and work towards the edges to ensure there are no bubbles. If you don’t use a carpet knee kicker, you will find this part of the installation very difficult.

Step Seven

When you are happy with the carpet’s position, you can use your carpet awl and push it into the seam between the riser and tread.  

Staple the carpet to the crease at the location that the tread and riser meet on any of the ends of the tack strip. Do so at the outer edge too.

Step Eight

Repeat the two previous steps on every stair. Do this until you get to a landing on the stairs or have worked your way up to the top.

Step Nine

Once you get to the top of your stairs, you have to fold the upper edge of your carpet backward on itself. Staple this just under the flooring’s overhanging lip.

Copyright article owner is for this article. This post was first published on November 9, 2022.

That’s it! You’re done! Now you can sit back and feel proud of your hard work.

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ReadyToDIY is the owner of this article. This post was published on November 9, 2022.

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