The Easiest Way To Install A Stair Runner

A beautiful, grand staircase can add a lot of visual appeal to a house, immediately taking it from plain to stunning. You don't need a dramatic remodel to draw attention to it, either. You can transform a simple staircase with a fresh coat of paint, new railings, or by adding a stair runner.

Stair runners are thin carpets that run up the center of hardwood stairs, allowing you to enjoy the look of classic wood stairs with the comfort of carpet. As Eastman Flooring notes, stair runners also make your staircase safer for pets and children, reducing the risk of slipping on the slick surface. The carpet also protects the wood underneath, keeping it from getting worn down and bowing. Stair runners can also help reduce the noise of people thudding up and down your stairs, making them as much as 35% quieter. You can even install them completely on your own, customizing the look to your own standards and budget.

Cleaning and preparation

Before getting into the actual installation process, you should take care to thoroughly clean your entire staircase, ensuring there isn't any trapped dust or dirt under the carpet runner. Once the carpet is installed, cleaning the wood underneath is going to be very difficult, too. Chet's Cleaning says to find a cleaner made specifically for your wood staircase's finish, topping it off with a quick coat of wax. Let this dry completely before moving on to the installation.

Now it's time to prepare your actual runner. The first thing you'll need to do is measure how much carpet you actually need. House On a Sugar Hill recommends doing this by measuring the stair itself, plus the nose or lip, and the tread. Then, count up all your stairs, and multiply this measurement by your total number of stairs. Then, map out how wide you want your carpet to be. Runners can be found at popular home improvement stores like Home Depot, as well as rug manufacturers. Once you find an ideal width and design, purchase as many runners as you need to fill your staircase, opting for more carpet than needed in case of mistakes.

Installing the runner

Now that your stairs are cleaned and prepared, and you have your runners ready, it's time to assemble. For this, you will need non-stick carpet padding, a staple gun with heavy-duty staples, scissors, a utility knife, and carpet tape (via House On a Sugar Hill).

Begin by cutting a piece of carpet padding for each stair, making sure it is slightly less wide than the actual runner. Then, use two pieces of carpet tape to secure it onto the stair on either side of the padding. Use a ruler to ensure the padding is in the very center of the staircase. Now it's time for the star of the show — the runner itself. Tape the top of the runner onto the top of the first stair to keep it in place as you work. You can use wood blocks or books to keep your runner center all the way down the stairs, but this is optional.

Pull the carpet down taut, and staple it at the base of the stair. Smooth it over the flat side, pull it firmly down the riser again, and staple at the base, repeating this all the way down. If you need to match two runners together, cut the first one so it tucks under the lip of the stair, taping the new one against the seam. Fluff up the carpet to hide the staples, give it a quick vacuum, and you have a gorgeous new stair runner!