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How to Install Carpet on Stairs - Carpet Installation Videos

Updated on June 25, 2013

How to Install Carpet on Stairs

Replacing or installing carpet can be a do-it-yourself project. It will save you the installation fee and every time you walk on it, you will feel accomplished at your project. In this Hub, we assume you will start with no carpet in place. If you are remodeling, you will have to remove the old padding and tacking strips as well.

Tools for this job should include:

  • Tack strips
  • Hammer
  • Staples or upholstery nails
  • Utility knife
  • Measuring Tape
  • Knee Pads
  • Knee kicker (you may want to rent one of these, see the video below)
  • Stair Tool (you may want to rent one of these)
  • Safety glasses

Calculate the amount of carpet you will need. Measure across the tread to get the width, and add the height and be sure to add the length under the noser for the total. Add at least 3 inches per stair to account for the padding under the carpet.

Put the tack strip down at the stair crotch location. Then tighten the carpet, tucking it into the crotch with a knee kicker as shown in the video, stretching the carpet at the center of the tread and hooking it on the tack strip. Attach the carpet firmly to the strip by sliding the kicker back and forth to compress the pins on the tack strip. Trim the excess carpet. Do the same on each side of the tread, and be sure that the carpet is smooth when you are finished with that tread. Sometimes stapling is done as well to ensure that the carpet is secure.

This first video gives an overview of the method of installing carpet using a traditional method called the cap and band installation. This is for a straight staircase, a spiral staircase is a different method.

Installing Carpet on Stairs

Installing a Stair Runner

Installing a Stair Runner

This video gives an overview on how to stall a carpet runner. This is a somewhat different approach to covering stairs with a full carpet. This approach is sometimes referred to as the waterfall method. This is simpler in that it does not cover the entire staircase, so the steps need to be finished, but the advantage is that the finished surface is not as slippery as a wood staircase, and can be quite a bit quieter when traffic is going up and down the staircase. It also brings the eye to the staircase, sort of like a feature.

The job should only take about 2 hours, and can be accomplished with just a few simple tools. The video shows how to select the right size runner and the method to fasten it in place. This includes the installation of the stair rod with screws to retain the runner in place on each of the steps.

Air Powered Stair Kicker Video

Air Powered Stair Kicker

Finally, if you are using the cap and band method to place your carpet, you may be interested in this kicker. Using a traditional kicker on the stairs is a little more difficult that using it on a flat floor, so this shows the use of an air power stair carpet kicker, which seems to be much simpler to use. You may be able to rent one for your home improvement project.

This do-it-yourself carpet installation project will leave you with a new look, a feeling of accomplishment, and you will have saved yourself some money with your handiwork!


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    • profile image

      Jim Ryan 

      6 years ago

      When you learn the Roberts method of installation, then you will know why all the tools and supplies were named after him.

      However, no one else in the trade can explain his method in detail, well, that is besides me.

      Try to find his method online. It's. Of there. Not bad on your install, just not the correct way.

      See if anyone in the industry can tell you.

    • Josh2008 profile image


      8 years ago from London

      Right said Rudra.

      Love the crazy amount of links and references you've put out. I really dig the way this hub's been laid out.

    • beadams profile image


      8 years ago from St. Paul

      nice... Very helpful.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      How do you wrap the carpet around the bottom two stairs if they are exposed in the basement

    • Rudra profile image


      10 years ago

      nicely explained one of the most difficult things to do. love DIY.


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