How to Install Tack Strip on Stairs

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Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure

  • Metal snips

  • Nails or masonry nails

  • Hammer

Carpeted stairs are quieter and offer better traction.

Laying carpet over your stairs gives the stairway a colorful and cozy appearance. The first step in installing the carpet is cutting and installing the tack strips. This step shouldn't take much time, but it's important to do it properly. Tack strips are thin wooden pieces with pins in them. The pins are used to secure the rug in place. The rug will bunch and ripple if the tack strips are not installed correctly.


Step 1

Measure the stairs' width. Subtract 2 inches from this measurement and transfer this new measurement to the tack strips. The number of tack strips needed depends on the number of stairs being carpeted. Each stair requires two tack strips.

Step 2

Cut the tack strip to the proper length using the metal snips. Divide the tack strip's length in half and place a small pen mark on this location. Divide the stair's width in half and place a small pen mark on this location as well.


Step 3

Lay the first tack strip in front of the bottom stair. Position the tack strip's center mark in front of the stair's center mark. Move the tack strip back until it is about 1 inch in front of the stair. The strip's pins point towards the stair.

Step 4

Secure the tack strip in place with nails for wooden steps, or masonry nails for concrete steps. Hammer in one nail every 2 to 3 inches.

Step 5

Place a second tack strip against the bottom stair's rise with the pins pointing down. The rise is the flat portion underneath the stair's tread. Match up the two center lines and lift the tack strip 1 inch up from the floor. Secure this tack strip in place the same way you secured the previous strip.


Step 6

Line up a third tack strip's center mark with the second stair's center mark. Lay this tack strip on the bottom stair's tread (the portion of the stair you step on). Keep the strip 1 inch away from the second stair's rise. Secure it in place. The fourth strip is secured to the second stair's rise, 1 inch up from the first stair's tread. Continue in this way until two tack strips are secured to every step.