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How to install carpet tiles on stairs

Updated February 21, 2017

Carpet tiles offer the convenience and easy installation of tiles with the comfort and luxury of carpeting. They consist of pre-cut squares that can easily be installed on almost any type of surface. For homeowners who want to install carpet on stairs without the help of a contractor, carpet tiles may be the perfect solution. Take the time to install these tiles on your stairs correctly to maximise the chance for a successful, attractive, and safe installation.

Clean the stairs using a vacuum with a hose attachment to remove all dirt and debris. Ensure the stairs are clean and free of all debris and dust to ensure the tiles will stick properly.

Measure the width and depth of the bottom stair using your tape measure. Transfer these measurements to the back of a carpet tile using your pencil. Try to frame these measurements around the section of the tile that has the design you'd like to use (only applies to tiles with patterns or designs).

Cut the tile at the pencil marks using a utility knife and straight edge. You may need to cut through the tile several times to make a clean cut.

Place double-sided carpet tape on the underside of the tile, about 2.5 cm (1 inch) from the edge. Add tape to the entire perimeter of the tile's underside. If you are using a system with carpet dots (such as the popular Flor system), place one of these dots close to each corner of the tile instead of lining the perimeter with tape.

Press the tile onto the stair, making sure the factory-finished edge is facing out. The edge that you cut should be hidden from view, facing back towards the stair risers.

Repeat Steps 2 to 5 for each stair, making sure to measure each stair before cutting to ensure an accurate fit. Each tile should fit tightly on the step to avoid slipping.

Tip

If you don't like the appearance of your stairs after adding carpet tiles, consider using stair nosing at the front of each step to improve the overall look (see resources for examples). This nosing can be attached to each stair using small finish nails to fasten it through each tile.

Things You'll Need

  • Vacuum
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Utility knife
  • Double-sided carpet tape
  • Stair nosing
  • Hammer
  • Wood nails
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About the Author

Emily Beach works in the commercial construction industry in Maryland. She received her LEED accreditation from the U.S. Green Building Council in 2008 and is in the process of working towards an Architectural Hardware Consultant certification from the Door and Hardware Institute. She received a bachelor's degree in economics and management from Goucher College in Towson, Maryland.