Neatly Laying A Stair Runner

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A stair runner can improve the look of wooden stairs. Although laying a stair runner does not take a great deal of skill, it does require attention to detail.

Cut the Tackless Strip to Size

Cut the tackless strip to size with the small hacksaw. Each strip should be 1 to 1 1/2 inches shorter than the width of the runner. You need two strips for each stair. As you cut each strip, mark its middle.

Position the Strips

Fit the strips with the teeth pointing towards the tread and the riser. Fit one strip on the tread and one on the riser. If the runner is thin, the strip should be fitted about an inch from the riser and an inch from the tread. Use the marked center to make sure you center the strips on the stairs.

Evaluate the Grain of the Stair Runner

By rubbing the surface of the stair runner, you will discover little resistance in one direction and much in the other. The grain of the runner runs in the direction of least resistance and this is the direction that should be going down the stairs. This way, the runner will collect less dirt.

Fit the Carpet Pads

If you plan to use carpet pads to prolong the life of the runner, fit them snugly against the tackless strip on the tread. Secure them with the staple gun. Also secure the pads to the nose of the tread (the part of the tread that overhangs the next lower riser).

Fit to the First Riser

Start to fit the stair runner to the first riser at the top of the stairs. You may secure the end of the runner with carpet tape and secure it to the riser with carpet tacks. Make sure it rests snugly against the nose of the landing.

Fit to the Strip

Unroll the runner to the next step and use the blunt chisel, masonry bolster or length of timber to force the runner into the jaws created by the two tackless strips. Make sure you have centered it on the stair. Also ensure there is no slackness in the runner that hangs in front of the riser. Secure the runner to the tread with carpet tacks.


Repeat the process on each stair until you reach the bottom.

Fit The End

At the bottom of the stairs, cut the runner to fit against the junction of the floor and the riser. Apply some carpet tape to the cut end and fold it under. Fix it to the riser with carpet tacks so that it sits flush to the floor.

A well-fitted stair runner adds character to a flight of stairs. If you finish the job off with stair rods, you will add a little Old World charm and probably prolong the life of the runner.