How to Install a Stair Runner

How to Install a Stair Runner

There aren’t many staircases that couldn’t benefit from a neutral and subtle touch  of Stitches Stair Runner. (Not to mention that a runner also protects your wooden stair treads against wear and tear from the clickety-clack of heeled shoes and little—or big—pet paws.) Since you’ve been asking for installation tips for a while now, we put together this definitive how-to for installing a stair runner. The coolest part? It’s a whole lot simpler than you might think. 

What You Will Need:
  1. carpet
  2. very fine staples
  3. air pressure staple gun or power staple gun 
  4. stair tool
  5. hammer
  6. utility knife
  7. measuring tape
  8. knee kicker
  9. gloves

How to do it: 

1. To determine how long a runner you’ll need, measure the depth of the stair tread and the height of the riser. Multiply the total by the number of stairs; this is your total runner length.

2. Measure the width of the treads from end to end, or from end to banisters. Mark the middle with a pencil. You want to leave 2-3 inches along the ends.

3. If you have not had carpet installed on your stairs previously, or had a carpet that had an attached cushion, then you will have to install new tack strips. Install the strips along the back of the tread, where it meets the riser, leaving just enough of a gap to tuck the carpet over (approximately ¼ of an inch should be good). Be sure that the nails are angled towards the riser.



4. Trim the underpad to fit each tread, coming up to the edge of the tack strips (it does not go over them). Bring it up to the edge of the tread; do not wrap it around the lip. Fasten the pad by stapling at intervals.


5. Mark the cut line on the pad about .5 inches from the front of the stair tread. (Note that the runner will be slightly wider than the rug pad, and thus the edges of the rug pad won’t peek out from underneath.) Cut the rug pad along the line with fabric scissors. Measure and cut as many rug pads as needed to cover all treads.


6. Start at the bottom. Measure and measure again. Make sure the rug is centered on the first stair and straight. The beginning is the most important part to get straight/even, since any crookedness will travel and can become more noticeable as you move up the stairs. You have some wiggle room to correct as you go, but not too much leeway so better to be perfect from the beginning.


7. Roll up the carpet, and lay it a few steps above the bottom. Then pull the end toward the bottom. You'll need some slack to work with so that you don't tug too hard on the bottom and cause the entire roll to fall down on you. Keep the roll centered as you work your way up the stairs.


8. Run a row of tackless staples along the bottom of the bottom riser where the carpet meets the floor. Fasten the carpet underneath the nosing of the tread with staples, and wrap the carpet around the nosing and over the tack strip at the back of the tread.


9. Using a knee kicker, stretch the carpet tight to the back of the tread, and hold in place until staples can be applied to the back of the tread behind the tack strip. 


10. Use the stair tool to wedge the carpet into the corner between the tread and the riser.

11. Repeat the process starting at step 7 as you work your way up the stairs. End the process at the corner between the top tread and the last riser to the floor above. After stapling the carpet to the last tread, use a carpet knife to trim any excess carpet.

Stair runner installation

*Please note: This installation is for straight staircase not curved or open stairs, it does not include landing, and no pattern matched.