How to Install a Carpet Runner on Open Stairs


Carpet runners on stairs protect the wood and minimize the chance of falls, both on open and closed stairs. Stairs that do not have a wall on one or both sides are referred to as open stairs. Carpet installation on open stairs is similar to that for closed stairs. The only difference is that the installer has to ensure that the rough carpet edges are not visible. The process of laying carpet may appear challenging for first-time installers, but it is possible to install a carpet runner on open stairs in one afternoon.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Carpet knife
  • Pencil
  • Framing square
  • Electric stapler
  • Knee kicker
  • Carpet tool
  • Measure the stairs to determine how much carpet you will need for the runner. Measure the width of the step to the points where you wish the runner to cover. Add 2 ½ inches to this measurement if you will fold the edges under. For the length of the runner, measure from the bottom of the first riser, where the first step meets the floor, then up the riser to the top of the first step, where the first step meets the riser of the second step. Add 1 inch to this measurement then multiply by the total number of steps. Add 6 inches to the total. Cut the carpet according to these measurements. If you decide against folding the edges of the carpet over, then have a professional bind the edges.

  • Mark a location on each step for the edges of the padding, then mark the location for the edges of the carpet. The padding should be hidden beneath the carpet when installed.

  • Cut the padding for each step. Put the padding pieces in place and secure them to the step with the electric stapler.

  • Place the rolled carpet about three steps above the bottom step. Carefully pull the end of the carpet down to the corner between the bottom step's riser and the floor. Use a row of staples to secure the edge of the carpet to the riser. Ensure that the staples are not visible.

  • Pull the carpet up to the bottom edge of the riser. Secure it in place with a row of staples. Ensure that the carpet is taut.

  • Pull the carpet across the top of the step and make it taut with a knee kicker. Place another row of staples in the area between the tread of the current step and the riser of the next step. Push the carpet into this corner with a carpet tool.

  • Repeat Steps 5 and 6 as you work your way up the steps to the top. Staple the carpet to the corner between the top step and the last riser. Cut the carpet to complete the installation.

Tips & Warnings

  • Select the best pad you can find for your stairs. Good quality pads provide sound insulation, increase comfort and extend the life of a carpet.


  • Photo Credit Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images
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