Step 6: Carpet the Stairs

person tacking carpet to a tread to demonstrate how-to install carpet
Photo: Ryan Hulvat
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When carpeting stairs, there are two basic ways to attach the carpet. The traditional cap-and-band method involves running the carpeting down the riser, across the tread, and then tightly wrapping it around the nosing (front edge) of each tread. To hold the carpeting in place, use an electric stapler to tack the carpeting to the underside of the nosing of the treads.

The second stair-carpeting method, called the waterfall treatment, allows the carpeting to flow from one step to the next without being tucked up under the nosing. The carpeting is tacked down along the rear edge of the tread, right where it meets the riser. The waterfall method imparts a more modern look and works best with carpeting that has smaller patterns.

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    Tools List

    • utility knife
      Utility knife
    • hammer
      Hammer
    • hand saw
      Handsaw or special wood snips
    • knee kicker
      Knee kicker
    • lever-activated stretcher
      Lever-activated stretcher
    • carpet tool
      Carpet edger
    • edge trimmer
      Wide-blade carpet chisel
    • seaming iron
      Seaming iron and seaming weight
    • electric stapler
      Electric stapler
    • portable carpet edge binder
      Binding machine

    Shopping List

    1. Carpeting

    cut slightly oversized to allow for final trimming



    2. Heat-activated seam tape

    used to bond the seam between two pieces of carpeting

    3. Carpet padding

    for installation under carpeting