Oct 22, 2020
How to install a carpet runner on a staircase
How to install a carpet runner on a staircase
Carpets, originally associated with hotels, restaurants and public spaces, have now become commonplace in homes, especially as runners in staircases. Here’s a quick and complete DIY guide on how to choose and install carpeting.
Carpets: why and when to use them
Carpets are composed of an upper layer in natural or synthetic fabric, and an underlying base in rubber or latex. Affordable and easy-to-install, they have become a valid alternative to tile or wood flooring, particularly when the existing flooring is ruined or damaged. Carpeting is ideal in public and domestic settings and its acoustic and thermal insulation characteristics present a significant advantage to other flooring types. The unique weave of the fabric, together with the synthetic elements which compose it, form a layer that does not disperse heat, and research shows that it reduces heating bills up to 15%. In terms of acoustics, carpet fabric absorbs sound and dampens sounds waves, making it ideal for hotels and small spaces with high pedestrian passage.
Why to install carpeting on staircases
If you don’t need to install carpeting in the rest of the house, you might take into consideration installing it on the stairs. Carpet is easy to apply, but it does require effort and patience. Once it’s installed, though, the material is comfortable to walk on, prevents slipping, reduces footstep noise and softens impact in case of falls (highly recommended for spaces with children).
The aesthetic impact of carpet on staircases
Carpeting is popular on staircases in new construction, but it may also be an excellent aesthetic solution for old, worn stairs, since covering them with carpeting can give them a definite facelift. The wide range of materials and colors available on the market allow you to choose the ones that fit best with your home design palette. Let’s take a closer look at how to choose the most suitable material for your needs.
Choosing the type of carpeting
Carpeting, like all materials, can be subdivided into different categories. These can be distinguished based on the origin of the fiber, the weave and the color of the fabric.
Origin of the fiber: natural or synthetic?
The fabric can either be composed of natural or synthetic fibers. If you prefer using natural fibers, the most common are wool, which provides an insulating and soft effect, or silk, which can be expensive yet grant marvelous aesthetic impact. Alternatively, you may opt for carpeting in fabrics like cotton or jute, that are more affordable but less resistant. Synthetic fibers, on the other hand, are often used because they wear more slowly than natural fibers. Materials in this category include nylon, easy to dye and incredibly resistant, or polyester, which is less resistant but softer to the touch.
Types of carpeting: Velour
Velour carpeting is very resistant and can be composed of natural or synthetic fibers. This type of carpeting has short and dense cut pile, hence ideal in all settings. The fabric is particularly resistant, but it tends to attract dust, and therefore must be vacuumed often. It’s ideal in commercial settings with high pedestrian passage, yet it is also an excellent choice for the home.
Types of carpeting: Bouclé
Bouclé carpeting is usually produced with natural fibers and its surface is composed of heavily textured loop pile. The combination of these two characteristics makes it the softest, but also the most delicate type. In fact, bouclé carpeting is to be used primarily in domestic settings (where there is limited pedestrian passage) and not recommended for public spaces.
Types of carpeting: Needle punched
Needle punched carpeting is usually used in conference centers and trade fairs. It’s ease of installation and resistance to foot traffic make it the ideal choice for places with high pedestrian flow. It is usually composed of very short pile and can be produced in synthetic or natural fibers. Synthetic needle punched carpets are more resistant, while ones with natural fibers are softer.
How to install carpeting
Installing carpeting is relatively simple and does not require much effort, but you do need a lot of patience. A good suggestion is to work from the lowest point to the highest, so that you have more control over the roll of carpet that you must gradually move. Before proceeding with the installation, the tread of each step should be covered with a felt underlayer to additionally dampen footstep noise. It can be fastened with metal ‘L’ profiles which, installed between tread and riser, will then anchor the carpet itself.
Installing carpet along the full width
When referring to stair carpeting, we can either install the carpet along the full width and length of the staircase, which is recommended for narrow stairways such as those in apartments, or as a runner along the center of the stairs.
Installing a carpet runner
For a more elegant effect, you may opt for installing a carpet runner. This type of installation covers only the center of the step and leaves a portion of both sides of the step uncovered. Runners are suitable for large, grand stairways such as those in hotels, entry halls and theaters. Anchoring profiles are required for carpet runner installations. The profiles are composed of thin, easy-to-install circular or triangular tubes in aluminum or brass which serve two purposes: fastening the carpet to the stair and bright detailing on each step (TTR and TTO tube).
Installing the carpet based on the type of stair
Be it in public or private settings, stairs can come in difference layouts, ranging from classic, straight stairways to spiral staircases. The installation methods discussed below depend on the structure of the staircase.
Installing carpet on straight stairways
When installing carpeting on straight staircases, the first thing to look at is the amount of material that is needed for the full length of the stair. Just measure the tread and riser of one step and multiply this number by the total number of steps. You may add about three extra feet to this length for adjustments. The carpeting should be unrolled over each step from the bottom to the top of the staircase.
Installing carpet on spiral staircases
To install carpeting on spiral staircases, you must use a single roll of carpeting and, instead of unrolling it along the length of the stairs, the leftover fabric on the step must be folded against each riser and nailed in place, so as to guarantee perfect adhesion of the carpet on each step. Once the installation is complete, the fabric overlap is completely invisible.
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