How to Install Carpet on Stairs

Replacing or installing carpet can be a do-it-yourself project. It will save you the installation fee and every time you walk on it, you will feel accomplished at your project. In this Hub, we assume you will start with no carpet in place. If you are remodeling, you will have to remove the old padding and tacking strips as well.

Tools for this job should include:

Tack strips


Staples or upholstery nails

Utility knife

Measuring Tape

Knee Pads

Knee kicker (you may want to rent one of these, see the video below)

Stair Tool (you may want to rent one of these)

Safety glasses

Calculate the amount of carpet you will need. Measure across the tread to get the width, and add the height and be sure to add the length under the noser for the total. Add at least 3 inches per stair to account for the padding under the carpet.

Put the tack strip down at the stair crotch location. Then tighten the carpet, tucking it into the crotch with a knee kicker as shown in the video, stretching the carpet at the center of the tread and hooking it on the tack strip. Attach the carpet firmly to the strip by sliding the kicker back and forth to compress the pins Hardwood floor installation on the tack strip. Trim the excess carpet. Do the same on each side of the tread, and be sure that the carpet is smooth when you are finished with that tread. Sometimes stapling is done as well to ensure that the carpet is secure.

This first video gives an overview of the method of installing carpet using a traditional method called the cap and band installation. This is for a straight staircase, a spiral staircase is a different method.