How to fit stair runner carpet
Fitting a stair runner carpet is a relatively simple project that involves a number of simple steps - measuring and marking your staircase, cutting and stapling your underlay, securing the carpet and screwing in your metal stair rods.
- To determine the width of the stair runner carpet, measure the width of your staircase. This may differ if your staircase goes around corners or has landings. The carpet needs to be at least 10-14cm narrower than your stair width to allow at least a 5-7cm clear area either side. Mark your staircase and unwrap your underlay.
- Cut your underlay to a width of 10cm less than your runner width. Staple this to each staircase tread (where you place your foot when walking up a flight of stairs) as well as under the lip of the tread close to the riser (the vertical slope that connects each step). Note: do not cover the entire tread in underlay - leave a rough 2cm gap towards the back of the tread to make room for the stair rods you'll add later.
- Lay out your carpet. Using a staple gun, secure one end of this just under the lip of the top tread on your staircase. Pull as tight as possible, again using a staple gun to secure the carpet on each step where the tread and riser meet (the gap you free'd from underlay earlier). Do so until you reach the botton of your staircase.
- Cut your stair runner carpet a little longer than needs be at floor level, fold over and staple just before your runner meets floor level.
- Using screws, secure your stair rods to each step in a symetrical manner.
A competent DIYer would be able to fit stair carpet on a straight run, but if your carpet needs to go around corners and be mitred where it is cut and invisibly joined on turns and landings, it is best to use an experienced carpet fitter. Joins on patterns should be invisible and if done properly, will make a real feature of any landings and turns. However, note that mitring will only work if you stick to one width of carpet.
Elements to consider
Firstly, you have to consider your staircase in its entirety. Typically, the type of staircase that will suit a stair runner carpet would need to be sanded and finished in Danish oil or Varnish. Danish oil gives a more natural finish but varnish can be more durable and hard wearing. This treatment area can be applied to the treads and the handrails at least - the risers and spindles can be painted white. Landings should also be treated this way and don’t forget the floor at the bottom of the stairs - ideally, your Victorian hallway should be newly decorated before the carpet is laid.
The Persian style of patterned carpets are typical in Victorian homes and can also hide any dirt or wear - far more practical than a cream carpet. Plain red stair runner carpet can be a good choice for keeping a period look and feel to your home. Please note that modern, stripy patterns and rush matting materials are best avoided if you wish to keep everything in keeping with the Victorian living style. Additionally, not all carpet is suitable for stairs. Some ordinary carpets can be slippery and a hazard.
A smaller pattern will make your stairs look wider and a larger pattern will make them look narrower so choose patterns to achieve the affect you wish to achieve. A lighter colour will make your staircase look less drab but can show more muddy footprints.
All you need to know about stair rods
Stair rods are available in a wide range of materials and designs. Solid rods will be cut to your desired length before supply, but cheaper ranges of hollow rods can be cut by yourself on site. These are not used to fix the stair carpet in place. You will need to use a good underlay and carpet fixings before using these - which are solely nowadays decorative.
When measuring for stair rods, we recommend that:
- For all 1/2” (12.5mm) diameter rods, the stair rods should be 10cm over the width of the carpet (5cm each side)
- For all 5/8” (16mm) diameter rods, the stair rods should be 12.5cm over the width of the carpet (6.25cm each side)
- For all 3/4” (19mm) diameter rods, the stair rods should be 15cm over the width of the carpet (7.5cm each side)
The Victorian Emporium sells the full range of beautiful Victorian stair runner carpet and hall runner carpets. Feel free to browse our website or contact a member of the team today for more information!