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How To Install A Carpet Runner

DIY, Flooring & Tiles
By on Jan 14, 2018
How To Install A Carpet Runner

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If your staircase is looking older and clashing with the overall décor of your home, it might be time for a makeover. While a fresh coat of paint can help you get the look, a stair carpet runner can be a luxurious feature that brightens up your steps.

However, the look of luxury does not have to be expensive. You can add a carpet runner to your staircase as a fun weekend DIY project. Here are the steps you’ll need to take to get the look.

While you may be able to install your new carpet runner yourself, repairs should be made before you begin the project. Contact a flooring contractor today for quotes from pros in your area, for free. They’ll help you make the repairs you need so you can get started on your next project.

What Is A Carpet Runner

What Is A Carpet Runner?

Many people are familiar with carpet runners, but unsure where they go in the home. Unlike traditional carpet flooring, a runner is a long piece of carpet that can lay in a hallway or more commonly, stairs. This helps not only for safety and adding additional traction to the stairs, but also cuts down on damage to the staircase materials. A stair carpet runner can be a beautiful focal point in hallways or in a foyer, adding an additional texture to the room.

Carpet runner costs can vary depending on the length of the staircase, the style of carpet chosen and if there’s any unique sizing features that need to be done. The average cost to install carpet is $1,628, with most homeowners spending between $862 and $1,831. However, due to the smaller size of most stairwells and if you choose to DIY your carpet runner installation, you can save a lot of money.

Before beginning this project, you’ll want to be sure your stairs are in good shape. It’s more difficult to make a repair after the installation is complete. Inspect your stairs and repair any broken boards that need it.

Carpet Runner Installation Materials

Unlike traditional carpet laying, carpet runner installation needs fewer materials. If you plan to DIY this project, here’s what you’ll need:

  • Carpet Runner
  • Non-Slip Carpet Padding
  • Carpet Knife
  • Double Sided Carpet Tape
  • Tape Measure
  • Staple Gun
  • Staples
  • Painter’s Tape

Step 1: Measure & Center The Carpet Runner

One of the most important parts of this project is the measurements. They must be exact to avoid waste and to look great. Carpet runners generally tend to be long, but you’ll want to measure your stairs first and look for one that has the width you want. It’s best to work from the narrowest step when figuring out your measurements. If all of your steps are the same size, you won’t need to worry about this. Be sure to measure the step depth and the height of the riser. To help, use our carpet calculator to find out how much you’ll need plus extra for waste.

Once you have your measurements, lay down painter’s tape in the center of the step, where you’d like the carpet runner to go. Use a measuring tape to get the exact amount, don’t try to guess here!

Step back to observe the outline and make sure it looks right as well. You can only make one cut, so it’s better to double check all your measurements before beginning.

Step 2: Place Your Padding

It’s time to get started. Cut your padding to fit the step. The padding does not have to be on the riser. Replace the painter's tape with the double-sided tape about two inches in from where you want the edge of the carpet to go. Place down the non-slip padding and continue this for each step.

Step 3 Apply The Carpet Runner

Step 3: Crease & Staple Carpet To Stair

Working from top to bottom, begin to staple the carpet to the steps. Starting at the top, staple underneath the stair riser, all the way across. Then, to secure the carpet, staple on the bottom of the riser, making sure the carpet is pulled taut. Do this down the staircase. As the carpet can move as you work, measure the area between the wall and runner before you begin to ensure it’s centered.

Step 4: Tuck The Ends

On the final step, staple an inch to two inches above the floor, leaving about an inch of carpet left. Tuck this end under with staples at the corners to keep it secure.

Step 5: Clean & Enjoy!

Once you’ve completed the installation, run a vacuum over the carpet runner to collect any dust or debris that might’ve collected as you worked. Now, you can enjoy your new carpet stair runner!


If you’re looking for a way to spruce up your stairwell, a carpet runner is a great option. You can save money by installing this yourself. However, you’ll save yourself a DIY disaster by double checking your measurements and continue to measure as you adhere the carpet runner to the steps. Start this project to see how this small change can make a big difference!

Looking for more ways to decorate your stairs? Read How To Paint Stairs for more DIY ideas.

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