The art of fitting carpets on stairs is not one that comes naturally to most.  Getting it right can take great precision and patience for those of us that are not especially good at DIY.  There are two differing ways of fitting carpets to stairs.  One is called the waterfall method in which one piece of carpet is used to cover each riser and tread.  The other option is known as the cap and band method whereby you use a separate piece of carpet for each tread and each riser.  This article will address the right procedure to follow when using the waterfall method.


The first step is obviously to prepare the stairs where you intend to fit the carpet.  So remove the old carpet and also any underlay that is present.  You may want to re-use the tack strips that are already there if they are still in good condition, but otherwise get rid of those also.  Now give your stairs a good sweep to get rid of any bits and pieces that could get lodged under the new carpet and cause bumps.  The final step of the preparation stage is to work out how much carpet you will need for the job.  Measure the width of the tread as well as figuring out the overall length of your flight of stairs by the tread and riser length/height.  You should then allow an additional 3 inches per stair to incorporate the carpet underlay.

Getting started

If you have decided to apply new tack strips then attach one to each step at the back, allowing a 1cm gap between the back edge of the strip and the riser.  Also cut each tack strip 4cm shorter than the width of the carpet.  Now follow the same procedure to add a tack strip at the bottom of each riser, which should leave you with enough space to squeeze the carpet into on each step.  It is also possible to purchase strips that already have right angles in them.  Now cut the underlay so that you have a piece for each step and it close to the underlay, omitting the bottom tread.

Working from the top

Fit the carpet from the top of the stairs downwards.  The carpet in the hallway will have to come over the top of the stairs and cover the first riser.  As you work your way down the stairs be sure to pull the carpet firmly over the tack strips and push it down between them.  Once you get to the bottom of the stairs you can trim away any excess carpet that is left.



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