How to Finish Basement Stairs with Carpet

Lead Image
  • 8 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 500
What You'll Need
Tape measure
Utility knife
Staple gun
Knee kicker (optional)
Vinyl (optional)
Rubber carpet runners

Basement stairs aren't usually the most attractive part of the home. When homeowners decide to use the basement for more than just laundry or storage, they often want to finish the basement stairs.

Not much can be done with them other than install carpeting. Carpeted basement stairs add warmth to the basement; furthermore, they quiet movement and provide traction. Installing carpet on the basement stairs is not a difficult job when you follow the steps listed in this article.

Step 1 - Take Measurements

Carpeting basement stairs requires knowing how much carpet you need. Keep in mind that having extra carpet is better than not having enough. Taking measurements for the stairs is somewhat tricky. Begin by measuring the length of one step from end to end.

Next, measure the width of one step and multiply that by the number of steps you have. Measure the distance from the bottom of the top step to the top of the next step and multiply that by each of these sections.

Add all of these numbers together, convert the inches to feet, and add an extra foot to account for the lip of the steps. Take these final measurements to the carpet store and select the carpet of your choice. Have it cut to the size you need.

Step 2 - Install the Carpet

Now that the carpet is cut to the required size, installing it on the basement steps is very easy. Place the end of the carpet at the end of the top step and staple it in place along the top edge and sides. Several staples will do fine, but you can add as many you like.

Pull the carpet tight and fold it under the lip of the step until it touches the brace of the stairs or the back of the step, then staple it into place. Doing so will lead the carpet to the next step.

If your basement steps have a back, then using a knee kicker to get the carpet flush to the wood is beneficial. Continue in this fashion until the basement stairs are covered with carpet. Go over the carpet adding staples as you see fit. Use the utility knife to trim away excess carpet.

Step 3 - Finish Up

With the basement stairs fully carpeted, you now want them to look finished and be safe to climb. That can be done in two combinable ways. Vinyl coverings with built-in teeth that grip the carpet are available for the stairs. Cut the vinyl mat and place it over the carpet. Press it in to secure it. Rubber carpet runners are also a good idea. Place them along the lip of each stair and nail them in place using several tack nails.