Installing carpet in a room can be difficult enough but working in an area that includes stairs can be even more challenging. There are plenty of potential errors to make when installing the tackless strips, carpet padding, and carpeting. To avoid making big mistakes that waste time and materials, follow the recommendations below.
You will need:
Step 1: Install the tackless strips first, nailing them directly to the wooden subfloor approximately ½-inch from the corner or crotch between the riser and tread. Make sure each strip is parallel to the stair crotch and that its upward facing pins point toward the crotch. Place one strip on the riser that borders each crotch and one strip on the stair tread. If you are installing a runner, cut the tackless strips and place them so the runner extends one inch to each side of the strips.
Step 2: Once all tackless strips have been installed, use the utility knife to cut a separate length of carpet padding for each combination of riser and tread on each stair. Do not cut the padding so short that it must be stretched tightly to cover the stair. It should rest relatively slackly over the stair nosing. Staple one end of this padding against the tackless strip, fold the padding over the stair nosing, and use a pencil to mark where it meets the next strip. Do not overlap padding on a strip. Cut it so it rests up against the strip.
Step 3: Padding runs only from one strip to the next but carpeting must run the full length of your stairs. If a runner is being installed, add 4 inches to the final width of the runner. For regular carpeting, cut 2 inches wider than necessary so the carpet can be snugly secured in place. Cutting too wide is not a problem because the width can be adjusted during installation. Score along the back side of carpeting to fold each long edge over onto itself. This makes the frayed carpet edges invisible.
Step 4: If you plan to precut the length of the carpet, measure the treads, risers, and around the stair nosing. Cutting carpet too short results in a noticeable seam.
Step 5: Pull the carpet tight and pack it into the corner on top of the tackless strip, then staple the carpet onto the tread behind this strip. The first set of staples should be placed on the stair riser just under the stair nosing. Set each staple deep into the webbing of the carpet so it is not visible.