How to Install a Staircase Runner in 10 Steps!

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                                          How to Lay Carpet on Stairs


Today we will be showing you how to install a Staircase Runner in 10 steps,

How to Install it, What tools you will need, and where you can buy a fantastic DIY Stair Runner

All things Being Said this is one Great Tutorial about Stair Runners! Enjoy

And if you're Not Big on Reading and want to get right to it!

Watch the Video!


Step One: Choosing your Stair Runner

One of the hardest things for people to do with anything is make a choice! Especially when it comes to a carpet runner.

So many colors to choose from, do I go with the clean look or Waterfall Method with stair rods? Should I Install a Stair Runner myself or hire a contractor?

Do I Use Rug Pad or a carpet pad? Synthetic fibers or Natural Fibers? Are the outer edges of the stair runners finished? And what is the total runner length to be? Should I just Do Stair Treads? AHHHH

These Really are the concerns for home improvement projects such as Purchasing a Stair Runner!

TIP: When Choosing a Stair Runner, Carpet Runner, or Carpet Stair Treads

Answer: Choose a Carpet you will for at least 10 Years!

Take your Time to Shop Around, Check to See who has the Carpet Runner you need. Do you want a Classic Herringbone Stair Runner for Hardwood Stairs?

Looking for a Carpet Runner that is Modern Farmhouse Ready?

Maybe Your Just Looking for something inexpensive to cover those old raw wood stairs because you are thinking of selling your Home!

Here is a Great Place to Start your Stair Runner Choosing Journey

Step Two: Measuring for your Stair Runner

Measuring for a Stair Runner is Easy if you know what to do with this next step we will teach you exactly what you need to know and at the end, we will include a video as well!

How Wide Should My Stair Runner Be?

Let's Assume you have 12,5 Stairs that go straight up to the second floor and your staircase is a width of 34 inches wide.

I would Suggest a Stair runner with a width of 26 inches wide to 28 inches wide, this will leave 3 inches of wood showing on each side of your stair runner for a 28-inch wide and if you want more wood showing you can go with the 26-inch wide stair runner.

How Long Should My Stair Runner Be?

Now let's do some math on the length of the carpet runner!

Take the Number of Stairs that you have in our case we have 12.5

Multiply 12.5 x 19 inches divided by 12 equals 19.79 ft to be on the safe side 20ft or even 21 ft a little extra goes a long way!


Tip: The customer orders 18ft for 12.5 stairs and is short 2 ft and has to pay almost as much as their first order because now it's a custom purchase! Special Delivery!

What did we Learn Answer: Order More it will save you money!

My Staircase Has a Turning Landing?

Ok Here is How We Measure for a Turning Landing!

Example: I have 6 Straight Stairs going up to the landing that turns 90 degrees to the left, and then I have another 5 Stairs from the Left turn landing going up to the second floor!

Ok, the Math goes Something like this: 11.5 straight stairs x 19 divided by 12 equals 18.20 is the total length needed!

Now I know that this straight piece of carpet will be cut into 2 pieces, one piece for the 6 stairs up to the landing and one piece for the 5 stairs going up from the landing.

So instead of ordering 18ft, I will order 20 ft of straight runner plus one left-turning landing!

Left or Right turning Landings

If you have a landing in the middle or bottom of your stairs that turns to the left or the right 90 degrees you will need a one-piece left or right-turning landing.

If your doing a DIY Stair Runner There are a few places on the Interwebs that sell these Landings Here is a Link to their one-piece landing pages


Step Three: Buying Your Stair Runner

There are a Few Places where one can Purchase a Beautiful Stair Runner.

These Days You Can Buy Everything online and get exactly what you want, has some great rugs Amazon has a few Stair Runners, If you're Looking for Contemporary Modern Farmhouse Stair Runners has a great selection and they also have those matching 90 degree left and right turning landings I was Talking About Before as well!

Now you could Always Shop Around locally and Find Something close by with a one price fits all deal like a stair runner, rug pad, and installation

Tip: Start Looking on Pinterest for Stair Runner Ideas!



Step Four: Tools You Will Need for Installing a Stair Runner

1: Staple gun / Duo Fast or Roberts / Amazon or Daily Rental Facility

2: Tackless strip / If Needed Home Depot

3: Knee Kicker / Roberts /Amazon or Rent

4: Carpet Tucker / Roberts? Amazon

5: Measuring Tape / Amazon

6:Carpet Knife. / Amazon

7: Scissors /Roberts Amazon

8: Hammer. Amazon

9: Glue Gun / Amazon

10: Staples and Blades / Amazon

I've left a Direct Link in Blue Above to a Few of the products on Amazon in case you're curious

Watch the Video


Step Five: Installing the Under-pad

Rug Pads, Rug Pad, Carpet Pads, Underlay or Under-pad This is Pretty much all the same thing!

When we talk about the rug pad or underlay we usually mean chip foam/ this kind of pad has been used for years, can be recycled and good quality pad holds up on stairs for years.

First things first is lets center out Rug Pad/ Rug Pads.

Example: if your stairs are 34 inches wide and you are installing a 28 inch carpet runner, your rug pads will be 26 inches wide/ Pad needs to be 1 inch shorter than the stair runner on each side!

34 inches minus 26 inches equals 8 inches divided by 2 equals 4 inches on each side.

Meaning your pad will be set at 4 inches from the side wall of your stairs and your stair runner will be set back 3 inches from that same side.

Method 1

Using a Tape Measure you can line up each piece of padding 4 inches from the same side all the way up tacking the pad in as you go up the stairs.

Method 2

Using a Pencil at 4 inches all the way up of the stringer so that you can just line up the padding on the pencil marks

When Installing stair runner padding Some Folks Like to Wrap the pad over the nose of the stair/ the reason for this is, it helps for wear and tear on the carpet itself/ when we install a stair runner we do not wrap the nose as this pushes the carpet farther of the nose and creates little gaps between the carpet and the stairway, this does not look good and people dislike this look very much!

When Installing the padding first set it up flush with the front of the stair tread and using a hammer stapler, rug tape, carpet tape or your electric staple gun/tack the Padding in only on the front edge! (one staple every inch or so!)

After the front of the padding is tacked on, cut the extra padding at the riser against the tack strip and if you are not using tack strip Cut Back the Padding 1 Inch back from the riser.

Watch the Video

Step Six: Centering Your Stair Runner

Let's Center our Runner, now when Centering our Runner we can use a few different methods,

Method 1

Just as we centered our carpet pads we can use the same methods for centering our Carpet Runner, only this time it will be much easier because the carpet padding is already centered and down, really we only need our runner width to be 1 inch off the padding.

But just for shitz and giggles lets go mover this again.

Method 1

We know our stair runner width is 28 inches wide and we know our stair width is 34 inches wide, and that suggests that we should line up the edge of the runner 3 inches off each side of our stringers and now we would be perfectly lined up!

We can use pencil marks for each step, measure out 3 inches and to tell you honestly its best to only mark one side where the edge of the runner will sit and stay the course all the way up on the same side consistently.  (makes for a straighter runner)

Method 2

Painter's tape Lots of People use painter's tape, I have never personally used tape to center my stair runner but let's talk about it anyway!

Measure out from the stringer 3 inches Make your pencil marks on each step on the (one side only) all the way up and the use painters tape to accentuate the lines, this way it will be easy to see and it will be a great guide for you to follow during your DIY Carpet Runner installation!

Method 3

My personal and favorite way to center my rug pad and line up my runner is with a good old fashioned tape measure,

Watch the Video


Step Seven: Your First Step

To Install a stair runner or DIY Stair Runner we must take our first step into a larger world and if you're reading this far, this must be your first runner and a first runner needs a first staple!

This is the fun part,so lets get on with the install shall we!

Make sure all your tools are set up properly and close by such as your staple gun, staples, carpet tucker hammer, etc., Our Install will start on the bottom stair on the bottom riser with the finished edge of our carpet.

Roll the carpet runner rolls down the stairs from the top and try to eyeball center it, carefully make your way down the stairs to the bottom.

Using one of the ways discussed center your Staircase runner's edge!

Tip: pre center your staircase runner all the way to the top Loosely, this will help immensely!)

Once you have this done and you've triple checked that your carpet runner is centered staple and lock that carpet runner into place!

Now that your runner is locked into place finish stapleling the bottom edge and outer edges of the carpet where the bottom riser meets the floor.

Now we are stapleing up the first riser underneath the first stair tread, Stapleling underneath on a 45 degree angle, every inch an 2 staples on each side for good measure!

Now we want to go up our first tread and over our first stair tread to our second riser with some help from our knee kicker.

Using our knee or our thigh put some pressure on the knee kicker towards the riser making sure you are centered with the tape or measuring tape, Once you're on track staple down between the binding and the carpet 3 times to secure that first edge down.

Now with the same method do the same thing on the opposite side!

Congrats you now know how to install a Carpet Runner! now only 11 more to go



Step Eight: Keeping your Stair Runner Tight

Keeping your Carpet Runner taut is really the key right? Have a loose fitting runner does nothing for nobody! So keeping it tight and that is Gold! So let's talk about it.

If you follow your guidelines up the staircase you may run into a course correction issue, what i mean by a course correction issue is when a plane flies from Miami to Los Angeles it sets a course but always has to course correct it's just par for the course lol!

No different here because folks, no staircase is straight and you will have to course correct!

That Being Said just make sure as you go up the staircase keep pressure on that knee kicker at all times!

This is what will keep your stairs, tight for years to come, and to see this method in action please watch the video below!

Watch the Video

Step Nine: Stapling Your Stair Runner

Stapling your runner? First off, it's better to watch the video attached to get the gist of it, but I know some like to read so here goes!

Stapling your runner comes into play in 3 different areas, we always Tack the riser from end to end with a staple every inch or so on a 45 degree angle, then we use our hammer and carpet tucker to bang those staples in even further making a really nice straight line at the same time. See video!

We also Tack under the stair tread nose on a 45 degree angle 2 on each end and one staple every inch or so!

On our open ended sides on the left and on the right we use 3 staples evenly from front to back splitting the pile of the carpet and the binding, we may use 4 if needed! See video!

On Our last Riser we tack in on each end and only a few at the top, because it's a very visual piece and you don't need a ton!

Step Ten: Your Final Step

The Top Riser Well, you have made it this far and you're almost finished, when you get to the final step you will need to cut the carpet off on a 45 degree angle.

Measure your riser using the finished edge of the cutoff piece, mark with a pencil and cut with shears or scissors!

Fit your Riser Piece into place and staple it using only a few!

Watch the Video



Well There it Is, Now you Know What I Know! We came from Step one all the way to the last step, we discussed what tools to use when installing along with some great tips and tricks and if you didn't get the written word there are many great videos and pictures to accommodate? I'm Keith Shannon Professional Carpet Installer, I hope you enjoyed this written tutorial on Installing a Carpet Runner

Carpet Stair Treads you will Love 

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