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Stair Carpet Installation: Runner, Rods, and More

Updated on July 2, 2009

Installation of a stair carpet runner is a great way to add elegance, color, and comfort to your interior stairs. The most important job of a runner is to protect either a wooden or carpeted staircase. Installing stair carpet runners is fairly straight forward if your staircase is straight. However, it will take a little more expertise to install or replace a runner on a winding staircase with corners. Stair runners are sold in two widths, 27 and 32 inches. Most are made of synthetic materials and wool. Some are made with a combination of the two materials. The best way to determine if your staircase is in need of a replacement runner would be to take off your shoes before walking up. A worn out stair runner will feel more like you are walking up a bare set of stairs. The carpet runner contains a pad underneath and when that pad is new it will feel soft and comfortable under your feet.

Having a new stair carpet runner will add years to the life of your wooden staircase. It will keep the wood protected and looking good no matter how much traffic goes up and down. Carpet runners also help in soundproofing the staircase. The padding along with the carpet will help deaden the sound of walking feet. The runner also helps reduce injuries from falls on the staircase. A fall on a bare staircase could leave you with serious injuries. Having a soft carpet runner with a thick pad could dramatically reduce the extent of those injuries. Carpet runners come in a variety of styles, sizes, colors, patterns, textures, and materials. You can find and purchase runners online at many different online stores.

Photo by sri ravella @
Photo by sri ravella @

Stair Carpet Pads

Stair carpet pads are considered another level of protection for your carpeted floors.  Carpet pads can be purchased in different widths and materials.  Most carpet pads are made of sponge rubber, urethane, or synthetic fiber.  The quality of a carpet pad can also vary greatly.  Expensive pads do not necessary mean the material is more durable or comfortable.  Check various brands and read customer reviews before choosing a pad for your staircase carpet.  Refer to the recommended instructions on the carpet you have purchased.  Each type of carpet will have a specific padding width or thickness recommendation. 
There are many things to consider once you have figured out the size and thickness of the padding you need.  Stair carpet pads also come in different levels of moisture resistance and “R” values or radiant resistance levels.  If your existing sub-floor is made of concrete for instance, it will require a specific type pad.  The same can be said for wooden or carpeted floors.  If you are having difficulty choosing a carpet pad you can log onto the internet for more information on different types of padding available and the best uses for each type.
Stair Carpet Protectors

Stair carpet protectors are another layer of protection for your carpet.  A stair carpet protector can add years to the life of your carpet.  Carpet protectors come in many different sizes, widths, and materials.  Plastic and vinyl are the most common materials.  Clear carpet protectors are the most popular because they do not obstruct the pattern or color of the carpet.  Carpet protectors stay in place with the help of spikes on the under side of the product.  The protector can easily be moved to clean or replace.  Most people use carpet protectors in areas that have high traffic not only to protect the carpet but also to reduce the amount of cleaning that needs to be done to the area.  Carpet protectors can be swept, vacuumed, or wiped clean easily when needed.

There are many different types of stair carpet protectors on the market.  You can find many of the most popular types online.  Shop for the width, material, and quality you need.  The size should be identical to the size of the carpet you have chosen.  It you purchased too much, it can easily be cut down to size with scissors, razor blade, or knife depending on the thickness.

Stair Carpet Rods

Stair carpet rods are decorative rods installed at each step of your stair carpet to hold the carpet in place.  You can install the rods directly over the carpet.  If you have a carpet protector, it is recommended that you install the rods over the protector as well.  Stair rod parts can be purchased individually or in sets.  The sets usually include two swivel brackets, two finials, and one plain tubular or solid rod.  You can also purchase sets that come with 13 sets to cover the entire staircase.  The rods are usually made of polished brass, antique brass, chrome, pewter, and other similar materials.  The decorative part of the rods can be determined by the bracket style you choose.  There are many styles to choose from as well.

You can find stair carpet rods online through many different manufacturers and distributors.  When possible, purchase sets because individual pieces cost more to purchase and ship.   


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    • profile image

      John B. 6 years ago

      great post on carpet installation!!

    • Philfacts11 profile image

      Philfacts11 7 years ago

      Very well explained. I have the impression that most people are unaware that one of the toughest places to lay a carpet is on stairs and where it suffers the most from traffic.

    • relica profile image

      relica 8 years ago from California

      I have always been a little timid about installing carpet on stairs because of the danger of tripping, but your instructions take the worry out of that. Great hub!