After slipping down my hardwood staircase in my socks and pajamas, I decided that something had to be done about this common deathtrap. My home improvement store sold stair carpet rods, so initially I considered having to custom order a super expensive runner. However, after a little research, I realized that I could carpet all sixteen stairs with stair carpet treads at a cost of $200.
Why Stair Carpet Treads
A custom runner is difficult to measure for. You have to gauge the folding of the runner along the tread, riser and, possibly, the nosing. In fact a nosing, that little piece of wood that sticks out from each step, makes it trickier to install a runner on your slippery stairs. Plus you have to order a runner that will be long enough to accommodate your entire staircase. In addition, I personally don’t like the look of carpet rods. I think they have a clumsy appearance, especially on narrow staircases, which are common in modern homes.
If Your Stairs Have a Nosing
If your slippery stairs have a nosing at the end of the tread, in other words if there’s a flat piece of wood sticking out of over the lip of the stair (as was the case with my stairs), carpet stair treads will be far easier to install, and you won’t have to glue them down as you would a runner.
Save Money with Standard Sizing
Unless you have particularly small stairs, you will likely be able to order standard carpet stair risers from an online store. This will reduce your cost considerably. It will also increase the variety you can find. There are several standard sizes, so begin by measuring your stairs before you shop.
Measure Your Stairs
I found several websites that sell standard stair carpet treads in a variety of rug patterns and finishes. Before shopping, though, I first measured my stairs: the length, width and depth, to be sure the standard carpet treads would fit well. I set myself a minimum and maximum range for these measurements to give myself extra flexibility.
Matching My Carpet Tread Design to My Home
I sat at the top of my staircase with my laptop and looked at the different carpet designs offered. I narrowed the choices down to three. Then I asked every member of the family which carpet tread was their favorite. When we all agreed on the same rug pattern and trim, I knew I had chosen well.
Installing My Carpet Stair Treads
I ordered stair carpet treads with a non-slip coating on their back. I then bought panel nails at my home improvement store. I chose nails in a copper hue (to match my carpet stair treads), with a relatively large head (not the type of nails used to install base molding, which have no head).
Sitting at the top of the stairs to get a clear view of the full staircase, I positioned the first carpet stair tread on the top step, then measured the distance on either side to ensure the little rug was perfectly centered. I chose to push the carpet tread further to the back of the stair to leave the nosing exposed. This meant that, as far as the back and front were concerned, the rug was not positioned symmetrically.
While I held the carpet stair tread in place, my husband nailed it down in four corners, then added two nails along the elongated border of the small rug (at the top and bottom). By lifting the border strip lightly before the nail went in, I could then cover the head of the nail with the carpet border and conceal it. This option will depend on the type of carpet stair tread you buy.
My slippery wood staircase is not only safer now but very beautiful. The stair carpet risers give traction to my dogs as well.