How do I carpet stairs with turns?

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A staircase is basically built to divide a vertical distance into smaller units, or steps. This way, the higher level of a home can be reached more easily and quickly. But stairs are more than functional -- they also are an important architectural and aesthetic feature of the home. Staircases can be straight, curved, spiral or have turns. If you want to carpet your turning stairs, learning the proper techniques will help you achieve a smooth installation.

Measure your stairs to see how much material you will need. Measure the depth and the width of one stair tread and the height of the stair riser. Count the total number of steps. Multiply the number of steps by the tread depth and riser height to calculate the length of carpeting needed. Add about 15 per cent to that figure to account for extra carpeting needed over the nose of the tread, the staircase corners and possible mistakes. Order the carpet to your width requirement if possible.

Cut the carpet into the needed width, using a sharp utility knife and a metal ruler, if you didn't order the carpet to size.

Attach tackless carpet strips in the corner of each step, using a hammer and nails. Use metal snips to cut the strips to size, approximately 5 cm (2 inches) less than the width of the carpet.

Attach a piece of carpet pad to each step, running from the tackless strip to the nose of the tread. Cut the pad to size for each tread width if they vary. Attach the carpet pad to your stairs, using a heavy-duty stapler.

Lay the carpet runner on the first step, making sure it adheres to the step properly and completely. Attach the carpet with latex carpet glue first, then heavy-duty staples. Use long staples so they penetrate into the wood of the step, not just into the carpet pad.

Continue carpeting the stairs, using latex glue and staples to attach it firmly to each step. If you have winders, cut the carpet to make special, custom shapes to install. Make the joint between two carpet pieces in the corner where the riser and tread meet, to get a seamless transition.

Secure the carpet to the corner between the rise and tread with a special carpet tool and a rubber mallet. Instead of a carpet tool, you can use a metal scraper tool.

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