Choosing a Carpet for Stairs

When choosing a carpet for a stair runner, it is critical to choose a carpet that is durable. Nylon and wool looped carpets tend to provide the best wear. Plush and sisal carpets do not hold up as well on stairs because they get a lot of traffic. Also, stairs develop a heavy wear pattern right up the middle because people step in the center of the stair tread. So a carpet on stairs will appear worn out faster than carpet on a flat floor. So it is understandable that it is always best to buy the highest quality carpet for durability’s sake, since it will wear better and save money in the long. Lower quality carpet will need to be replaced sooner. Here is a what a looped carpet looks like.


An example of looped weave carpet.

Carpet Installation Styles for Stairs

The most popular ways to install carpet runners on stairs are waterfall and French Cap.

The Waterfall method involves attaching the carpet to the tread of the stair and then bending it over the stair nosing and down over the stair riser to the next tread. This installation method is the most common and is the least costly to install since the attachment to the steps is simple.

The French Cap style of installation is more expensive because it requires additional carpeting and because of the complexity of the work. This involves wrapping carpet around the stair nosing and tucking and stapling it under the lip of the stair tread so it precisely follows contour of each step. Below is a “French Cap” installation.


French Cap installation on stairs. Note how the carpet wraps around the nosing of the stair tread, then drops straight down to the next tread.

When it comes to carpet runners on steps, we like to have exposed wood on both sides of the stair tread. The width of the runner needs to be decided before installation. One of the best ways to figure out the width of the stair runner is to use blue painter’s tape to mark off a few steps in the proposed width of the runner. Leave it a few days so you can see if what you like.

Binding Styles

The last part of figuring out your carpet runner project to decide on the edge binding style. David Morris, Inc. offers many types including tassels. The most common types are serged binding and edge binding.

Serged binding incorporates a colored yarn similar to the carpet color. It is sewn to the carpet’s edge in a continuous ¼” wrap. The photo below is a serged binding.


An example of serged edge binding.

Edge binding is less expensive to install and is basically a fabric border tape that we match to the carpet’s color.


Posted in Uncategorized



Shaw, with pet stain warranty
Philadelphia by Shaw

Wool Carpet
Hibernia Woolen Mills
Unique Carpets, Inc.
Van Dyck
Godfrey Hirst

Commercial Carpet
Atlas Bigelow

Hardwood & Laminate

Greenwood Products


Burke Mercer
Congoleum Commercial