How to Install a Stair Runner Carpet

Updated February 21, 2017

A stair runner is ideal for adding extra colour and decoration to your stairs without completely covering them with carpet. Stair runners usually run up the centre of the stairs. They can be a foot wide or extend out almost to the ends of each stair. Installing a stair runner follows the same procedure as installing carpet to a floor except stairways have angles, and floors usually do not.

Measure the width of the back of each tread and also the width of each riser. (They should be the same.) Purchase a runner the length of the measurement minus any space you want on either side.

Cut pieces of tackless strip equal to the measurements of the carpet minus 2 inches. The tackless strip can be purchased at any home store.

Attach a piece of tackless strip to the back of each stair tread. Place the strip centred on each tread with the tacks facing the riser. Keep 1 inch between the strip and the back of the tread. Hammer the tackless strips to the staircase.

Place a piece of tackless strip centred on each riser with the tacks facing toward the tread. Keep a 1-inch gap between the strip and the bottom of the riser. Hammer the tackless strips to the staircase.

Cut pieces of carpet pad to size. The pad must be the same width as the tackless strip. Each piece must butt up against the tackless strip on the back of a tread, wrap around the nose of the tread and extend to the edge of the tackless strip in the riser. Hammer a nail into each back corner and every 6 inches down and over the riser.

Install the stair carpet runner starting at the very top of the stairs. Begin under the nose of the staircase landing. Tuck the end of the carpet under the nose and secure it using carpet tacks--one at each corner and every 4 inches.

Smooth the carpet flat as you go, rounding the nose of the tread and laying the carpet flat to the riser. Push the carpet firmly to the tackless strips in the corner. Hammer it in with a chisel (see Warnings).

Continue laying out and securing the carpet over the treads and down the risers until you get to the bottom of the staircase. Tuck the bottom edge of the runner carpet up under the flange at the bottom riser and secure it using carpet tacks.


If the stair runner carpet is thick, attach the tackless strips 2 inches from the back intersections. Install your carpet runner with the pile facing towards you.


Make sure to check the length of the runner during the installation. If the runner comes up short, reposition it a little looser on the tackless strip. If the runner seems long, wedge it farther up in the corners where the tread meets the risers. Do not hammer the corners in with the chisel until you are comfortable with the positioning.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Razor knife
  • Tackless strip
  • Hammer
  • 8-penny nails
  • Carpet pad
  • Stair carpet runner
  • Carpet tacks
  • Chisel
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About the Author

Lacy Enderson is an Addictions and Recovery Counselor. She is Certified with the American Association of Christian Therapists and holds a Master's Degree in Biblical Counseling. She is currently enrolled in Liberty University's Master of Divinity Degree program with Chaplaincy. Lacy is a graduate of Rhema Correspondent Bible School and has completed the first section of Berean School of the Bible. Lacy is the author of, "Addiction: A Personal Story" and "So You Want to Lose Weight But You Can't Stop Eating." Her newest novel is a teenage Christian fiction titled, "Honey Sweetheart."