Ways to lay carpet on stairs

Written by sienna condy
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Ways to lay carpet on stairs
Stairs with a runner down the middle typically use the waterfall method for laying stair carpeting. (marble stairs image by Daria Miroshnikova from Fotolia.com)

If your stairs are looking a little bare, installing carpet on them can give them a brand-new look. The final look of your carpeted stairs, though, will depend on the way you lay the carpet and the type of carpet you use. Not all carpet types will work for all the methods of laying carpet on stairs, so choose the look you want before you pick your carpet.

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Cap and Band

For a traditional look, use the cap and band method to lay carpet on your stairs. The cap and band method creates a more solid carpeting job, allowing little movement of the carpet on the stairs. Unlike other methods, the cap and band method includes stapling the carpet to the stairs under the tread of each stair and in the corner or crotch areas where two stairs meet. Carpeting in this manner also covers the entire stair. For quieter footsteps on the stairs, install carpet pad on your stairs before adding the carpet.


To create a looser, more contemporary look with your stair carpet, lay the carpet in a waterfall. The waterfall method typically features a runner or other narrow carpet, and the carpet usually doesn't cover the whole width of the stairway. Carpet laid in the waterfall fashion is stapled in the crotch areas of the stairs. If additional stapling is needed to hold the carpet in place, staples are added to the top of the stair treads.

Glue Down

For a quick carpeting job, glue down the carpet on your stairs. Apply a carpet adhesive evenly to the treads of your stairs. Start at the top of the stairs and apply the adhesive on each stair as you work your way down, so the adhesive doesn't dry too quickly. Let the adhesive dry for a minute, until it's just a little tacky, then roll your carpet down to cover the tread. Use your hands to position the carpet correctly in place. Once the carpet is glued down in the position you want, apply a seam sealer to the edges to keep them in place. You can use the glue-down method to install a partial covering, but it's more frequently used to cover the entire width and length of a set of stairs.

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