How to Measure for a Stair Runner

Here's How-to do it!

how to measure for a stair runner


How to Measure for a Stair Runner and or a Carpet Runner So if you are looking for a DIY Stair Runner,

Stair Runners or Carpet Runners  Are Usually Sold By the Foot and Can Be Installed by the Do it Yourselfer.

Or Can Be Hired Out to a Local Contracting Team!

Today Lets Teach You How to Measure your Stairs For a Stair Runner so you’ll know how much Carpet you”ll need Regardless!

Stair Runners Come in Many Different Widths but we will calculate that later,

Let's see how long of a Stair Runner your’e Going to Need first

 Stair Runner Calculator

Things you Will Need Before We Start Measuring for your Stair Runner

  1. Tape Measure
  2. Calculator
  3. Pad of Paper



1.Measure the Tread & Riser all Together (Stair Runner)



  The Picture Below illustrates what the Tread of the Stair is Exactly and How to Identify it, and the Same Picture Also Shows The Stair Riser.

A Normal Residential House Will Usually have 12 Stairs and 13 Risers,

  (Some will Have 13 Stairs and 14 risers)

Don't Worry About that 13 risers just yet, Lets Concentrate on Our first Measurement

picture of someone with tape measure Measuring for a Stair runner

Take a Tape Measure and Measure the Distance from the Bottom of One Stair Riser and Run it Over the Edge of your Stair Down the Front of the other Stair Riser as seen in the Explainer Picture below!

 Measuring for carpet Runner Carpet

You Should Come Up With a Measurement of Around 18.5 inches to 19.5 inches

(This is the Standard Size of Most Stairs) Some are Bigger than Others.

Success You Have your First Stair Tread Measurement! Now lets Move On


2. Measure The Top Riser

Whether you have 6 stairs, 12 stairs or 15 stairs you will always have one extra Riser!

That Riser Usually leads to a Stair Landing or an Upper Hallway. This is Your Extra Riser that Will Need to be Carpeted As well, So we Need to Measure it!


The Picture Below Illustrates how to Measure the Riser.

 Put your Tape Measure Under the Nose of the Last Step (Upper Hallway or Landing) to the Bottom of the Riser and that's Your Riser Measurement!

Easy Stuff, Right!

measuring stairs with a tape measure to determine the size of stair runner



3.Calculating How Much Stair Runner You Will Need!

Alright You’ve Got your Stair Tread and Riser Measurement Check!

You’ve got your Top Extra Riser Measurement Check!

Now it's Time to Calculate your Stair Runner Measurments and Marry the Two Together!

1. Count How Many Stairs You Have!

2.Take your First Stair Measurement that you took from tread to riser and Multiply  that by the Number of Stairs you have.

For Example, if your Measurement was 19 inches per stair and 6 inches for the top Extra Riser this would be the Calculation

19 inches x 12 stairs plus 6 inches top riser / 19x12+6=234 inches now divide that by 12 to get How many Ft and if my Math is correct the Answer is 19.5 ft you will need For your Stair Runner


geometric stair runner picture of a indigo blue carpet

Ad one Foot Extra onto the length of your stair runner Just in Case, to Have a little to Play with, Trust Me on this, Always have a Little Extra Length for your Stir Runner

So by My Calculations you Would Need 20.5 Ft of Stair Runner!


How Wide Should My Carpet Runner Be?

Alright, so you've Graduated and Now Know How Much Length you’ll need for your Stair Runner Good Stuff!

But How Wide Should Your’e Stair Runner Be?

Hmm? That's A good Question!


Let Me, Ask you a Few Questions About Your Stairs, Or Better Yet Here are the Questions you Should Be Asking Yourself.

 I'm Sure you Already Know the Answer to but Lets Ask them Anyways!

  1. Are your Stairs New or Old?
  2. Do You Want to See a lot of Wood on the Sides of your stair runner or a Little?


How to Measure for a Stair Runner If you're Stairs are old?

If your stairs are old and Have Seen Better Days you May Want to cover more of the Wood than Not.

That Being Said the Minimum Space gap on Each Side of you're  Stair Runner Should be no Less than 2 Inches.

Reason for this is that no Stairs are Completley Straight and True,

So When you're installing your Stair runner you may have to course correct!

This means you may have to adjust your stair runner as you install it!

A little to the left or a little to the right, and if your gap is too little, you may really notice the distance between the carpet and the stringer are off!

Our Recommendation is 3 to 4 inches of wood showing on each side of your Stair Runner as the normal eye will not be able to see the adjustment from side to side.

This is just a guide, you are ultimately the Boss here!


Old Stair Runner on Stairs



How to Measure for a Stair Runner If you’re Stairs Are New?

If your stairs are new and you want to show off that  the New Wood Look with your new stair runner, But you are trying to Minimize slips and falls.

Maybe you just like the look of a modern stair runner the most common size of stair runner that we put in and sell at is a 28 inch Stair Runner.

A 28 inch Stair Runner is  the Most Common Size of Stair Runner/Carpet Runner

The Next Most Popular Size Down is a 26 Inch Stair Runner

And the Next Most Popular Size of Stair Runner is 30 inches

The Most Common Sizes of Stair Runners Are 28 inches Being the Most Popular and 26 inch and 30 inch stair runner being lol the Runner up Hah!

That's a Good One Runner Up!


Stair Runner Sold by the Foot in a geometric pattern


Ok, Ok, I got It Keith So How Wide Should My Stair Runner Be then?

Personally After Installing Thousands of Stair Runners My Self and Having a Pretty Good YouTube Channel Showcasing How to Install a Stair Runner,

My Professional Opinion is I Like 4 Inches at Least, and at Minimum  3 inches will suffice, but I like a 4 inch gap for my stair runners, to me it just looks right.

This Showcases the Wood on New Staircases and Covers up the Old on Older Staircases!

DIY Stair Runner in a light grey color

 Measuring your Stairs

So For Example, if your Staircase From Stringer to Stringer (Example Picture Below) is 36 Inches Wide a 28 inch Stair Runner would Work Nicely,!

Let's do the Math (36 inches - 28 inches  = 8 inches)

This Means a 28 Inch Stair Runner Would Work Perfectly Allowing 4 inches on each side showing just enough wood. I

If you wanted to show a little less wood a 30 inch wide Stair runner would Work as well leaving 3 inches of wood showing on each side!


So We Learned how to Measure our Stairs for Our Stair Runner/Carpet runner,

We Know that we have 12 stairs and one extra riser and that the length of our Stair runner needs to Be 20.5 ft long, the 1 Ft extra just in case s**t happens

 Our Staircase is 36 inches wide from stringer to stringer or stringer to rail!

We decided on a 28 inch wide stair runner So the Answer to How Much Carpet We Need For Our Stair Runner is???

The Answer is we Need  a Stair Runner that is 20.5 ft Long and 28 inches Wide! Boom! Mind Blown


I hope this Helped You Out Let Me Know if It, Did I Had Fun Writing it, My name is Keith Shannon I Am the Owner and Founder of

I've Been a Carpet Installer for Over 25 Years and Have a Great YouTube Channel on How to Install a Stair Runner!

If You're Looking for the Perfect Stair Runner Sold By The Foot we Have that at Please visit us Online.

We have Modern Carpet Runners, Classic Stair Runners and Designer Stair Runners, and we sell Carpet long Carpet Runners by the foot.

We do Custom Orders. Stair Runners Can Come in Any Length, We Offer Free Shipping Over 250$ and Free UnderPad

How to Install a Stair Runner 





1 comment

  • Constance Peters

    Good! Your article on measuring for a stair runner is an invaluable resource for anyone embarking on this design journey. While stair runners add elegance and comfort to a staircase, your emphasis on precision in measurement underscores the importance of getting every detail right. Let’s delve into the key takeaways from your informative piece. Refer to this related link

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