Popular Options for Carpeting Your Stairs

Popular Options for Carpeting Your Stairs

Interior Design
Additions and Remodels
By Dikran Seferian October 29, 2021

If you’re living in a two-story house, the stairs are undeniably a central part of the whole setting. Should you be planning on a fresh look for your home, re-carpeting can be a great way to go about with your plan. When it comes to carpeting the stairs, the options are many, each having its own pros and cons. To make the best choice that suits your needs, there are several criteria you may want to account for.

  • the aesthetic value it adds to its surroundings;
  • its practicality — is it easy to install? Is it easy to clean?
  • its durability —how long will it last?
  • the cost of the material and installation;
  • the carpet’s compatibility with the lifestyle of the household.

Common Stair Carpet Options

With all the different categories available, choosing the right type of carpet for your stairs can be quite confusing. However, to save some time, there are commonly used choices that you can look into. For the best outcome, you might want to account for two criteria — fabric and texture. Not only do these have to do with the quality of the product, but they will also determine how satisfied you’ll be with your stair carpet in the long run.

Firstly, Get Familiar With Stair Carpets

Firstly, Get Familiar With Stair Carpets

Carpet Fibers


Being one of the most common choices of carpet for stairs, nylon is known for its durability. It has the ability to withstand the test of time, and doesn’t take much damage with the constant “foot traffic”. Moreover, it is stain-resistant and easy to clean, making it a good choice for households with children and pets. Another advantage of nylon is that cleaning it with steam somehow restores its original texture.

The downside of nylon is that it's relatively costly, but not so much more than the other options. You can buy nylon carpet for $2.5 to $7.5 per square foot on average. Moreover, nylon is not weather-proof —it absorbs the cold during winter and the heat during summer. Also, if you’re not a fan of static electricity, nylon is not going to sit well with you. 


Environmentalists can find an eco-friendly alternative to polyester. Besides being easy on the environment, it’s also easier on the wallet both to buy and install _ polyester costs two to four dollars per square foot. Similar to nylon, polyester is also stain-resistant — although you might want to keep it away from oil-based products as they’re tougher to remove. You’ll also find that it’s softer than nylon, and doesn’t shock your hair off. In addition, polyester can take dye in rather well, making it available in a wide range of colors. However, it is not as durable, so you may want to think twice about this fabric if the stairs are in constant use.


If the durability of both color and texture is important to you, you could consider going for wool. It is also resistant against most spills — just don’t carry any extra-greasy foods while going up and down the stairs. The soft and hypoallergenic properties of wool make it ideal if you have the habit of going barefoot in your house.

The most common reservation around wool carpets is that it might be a little tough on your wallet, costing up to $20 per square foot. It actually towers over most other fabrics in cost. Another turn-off is that it is not immune to pests and mildew.


If your house is under the constant threat of stains with children constantly spilling food and drinks everywhere, consider looking into olefin. Anything that is spilled on olefin just rolls off, making it very easy to clean. Olefin will also do just fine if you’re on a budget, coming in at one to 6 dollars per square foot.

Unlike nylon and wool, however, olefin is actually prone to damage — avoid it if your staircase is an especially busy place. Moreover, olefin may not suit a color-specific interior design as it doesn’t boast a variety like that of polyester.

Carpet Texture

There Are Endless Stair Carpeting Ideas for Your Next Renovation

There Are Endless Stair Carpeting Ideas for Your Next Renovation

Essentially, the texture of carpet has to do with how its fibers are weaved. There are five main types of carpet textures to choose from —some more practical than others.

Cut Pile

Available in several styles of their own, cut-pile carpets are woven with comfort in mind. The yarn is cut at the surface, making it softer to the touch. Keeping it for less-visited rooms, however, will save you a lot of time in cleaning and maintenance —unless you insist on staying barefoot at all times.


If you’re looking for something that will last you a lifetime, a loop pile carpet is the choice for your stairs. This type of texture is an absolute champion in durability. 

Cut Loop

As the name suggests, a cut loop carpet is a mixture of cut pile and loop. Although not very big on durability, cut loops come in a plethora of patterns.

Low Pile

The height of the pile is a battle between softness and practicality. The higher the pile, the softer the texture. The flatness of low-pile carpets can be practical for stairs. If you have an eye for traditional rugs such as Persian and Armenian, consider looking into low-pile.

High Pile

This is where practicality is sacrificed for comfort. The height of the carpet’s fibers tends to make it slippery over time; if your insurance doesn’t cover broken bones, then high-pile isn’t the best carpet for stairs. However, if you can’t resist the soft feel of high pile carpets, you may want to look into heavy-duty options for stair railings to hold on to when you slip.

Measurement, Installation, and Alternatives

Make Sure You Have the Correct Measurements Before Getting to Work

Make Sure You Have the Correct Measurements Before Getting to Work

While carpeting your floor seems like a pretty simple task, carpeting your stairs can be somewhat tricky. If not done correctly, it can not only look a bit off but also be a potential safety hazard — especially for kids. When measuring the amount of carpet you need for your stairs, try to be as precise as possible to avoid bumps and overlapping bits; make sure to account for everything from the tread, the rise, as well as the landing.

Will the Carpet Cover the Entire Width of the Stairs?

Will the Carpet Cover the Entire Width of the Stairs?

Before taking the measurements, you may want to choose whether you want the carpet to cover the entire width of the stairs or not; carpet runners are an alternative option — this is when the carpet only covers the center of the staircase. Consider this option if you’re on a budget and looking for ways to cut stair carpet costs. When shopping for stair runners, there are two popular methods from which you can choose.

  • Hollywood method: the carpet is wrapped around the front edges, and fixed to the rise.
  • Waterfall method: the carpet is glued to the edge and drops down to the step below.

An even more budget-friendly option would be a set of stair tread carpets, where each thread has a separate piece of carpet. This option is not only cheaper but also easier to DIY.

Carpeting Your Staircase Does Not Have to Be Expensive

Carpeting Your Staircase Does Not Have to Be Expensive

Depending on the type of stairs you have, there are many different ways to install the carpet. While you can take care of the measuring part yourself, stair carpet installation is best done by a professional.

Although stair runners and tread carpets are the closest alternatives, you may also be interested in cork flooring. It is essentially a wooden flooring but provides the softness and durability that certain carpet fabrics provide. Additionally, it doesn’t require much maintenance. Consider cork flooring if a rustic interior design is your cup of tea.


Written by
Dikran Seferian

Written by Dikran Seferian