The different types of carpet for stairs include full carpeting, carpet runners, and carpet stair treads. While full carpeting completely covers the stair risers and treads, carpet runners and carpeted treads are more nuanced in their design. Stair carpet is a good solution if you have grown weary of full hardwoods and would like a softer step, but considering the beauty of hardwood stairs, you may still want to see it in parts. If this is the case, carpet runners or carpeted treads are the way to go.
Carpet runners extend over the entire staircase, covering both the risers and the treads. While they leave exposed hardwoods on either side of the runner, the majority of the stairs remain covered. The advantage of carpet runners is their all-inclusiveness. When properly installed, a runner consists of a long continuous length of the carpet. They also cover up any blemishes or marks left on the wooden risers. However, their installation can be tricky if you are not sure exactly what you are doing, and they may cover up more wood than you would like.
Carpeted treads, on the other hand, are individual pieces of carpeting that cover just the tread of stairs, leaving the risers and nosing exposed. They are advantageous if you want to see more hardwood, and they are easily installed. On the negative side, they may give your staircase an odd, inconsistent look and may leave you wondering if plain hardwoods wouldn’t be better.
Both types require stapling and nailing into the wood beneath, so be sure you consider that before installing either.