best carpet for stairs

Average Cost To Install Carpet Price Range: $845 - $1,650
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Best Carpet for Stairs

There’s a reason carpet warranties rarely cover stairs. Every time you go from one floor of the house to the other, you smash your feet down on the same spot of each step. There’s no other area of the house like the stairs in this way. The close second would be hallways but even hallways your step lighter and not always in the same spot. So clearly the stairs present a carpeting problem, but what’s the solution? Let’s break down the best carpet for stairs…

There’s no “secret sauce”

Let’s cut to the chase… what carpet should you buy for your stairs? The bad news is it’s not that easy—there isn’t a perfect carpet. The good news is it’s really not too complex.

The key is to pick a durable carpet. There’s no secret for stairs. A carpet that’s durable in your bedroom will also last longer than conventional carpet on your stairs–it’s just more important to pay attention to durability on stairs. A good starting point is to check out our article on the most durable carpet you can buy.

Taper your expectations

Choosing a great carpet and a great installer will add years to your carpet, but you should still expect it to wear out more quickly than your other rooms. To avoid disappointment, consider buying extra carpet specifically to replace the carpet on the stairs mid-way through the life of your carpet. You may be able to negotiate this extra carpet for free or at a discount.

Captain’s tip: The first step wears out quickest, and no two stairs wear out the exact same rate. You can use this to your advantage when you choose what style of installation you want for your stairs. If you have your heart set on a certain style, stick with it. If you aren’t set on a particular style, consider choosing a style where the steps are carpeted individually, rather than the waterfall style where one piece of carpet goes down the entire stairway. This way you can inexpensively replace one step at a time to keep your carpet looking new.

Are there carpets with stair warranties?

There used to be no carpet with stair warranties. Today, some of the major manufacturers are putting their neck out by giving chosen carpets a stair-specific warranty. Great deal for you, or just great marketing by them?

The motivation behind these warranties is clearly to increase sales. If you buy their carpet for your stairs, you’re also going to buy it for the rest of your house. But just because the warranties purpose is to get you to buy, doesn’t mean it’s not worth it, right? After all a warranty is still a warranty?

Right. But keep in mind two things: first, you need to have an estimate of what you’re paying for the warranty. In other words, how much would you save buying an equivalent carpet without the warranty? If you’re buying the carpet for your entire house, any increase in price could easily add up to more than it would cost to buy extra carpet to replace the stairs when they look worn. The second thing to know is that we’re not a huge fan of carpet warranties because they can be deceiving. What you consider ruined carpet, may be just a “worn” looking carpet to the manufacturer, and this means you don’t get to use your warranty.

Installation amplified

Installation can make or break any carpet, but stairs this impact is amplified. If you install carpet the wrong way on stairs, it can cut its life in half. You want to make sure you’re walking with the pile, but I’d leave it to the installer: After you pick out the carpet, protect your investment by finding the best installer in your area.

Captain’s parting words!

There’s no doubt carpeting stairs can be tricky. But finding the best carpet for stairs really isn’t too difficult—just pay attention to the details. And then go beyond the details and have a plan to replace your stairs early. This can be via the warranty or leftover carpet your purchase. You can weigh your options, and with the help of this article, your stairs shouldn’t leave you disappointed.

Average Cost To Install Carpet Flooring Price Range: $845 - $1,650
See costs in your area

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14 thoughts on “best carpet for stairs”

  1. I am looking to carpet my stairs and am having trouble differing the styles of carpet there are. Do you have a guide to stair carpet styles? Or a good recommendation of where to look?

    1. I don’t have a page on style for stairs. A lot of people like a textured look and/or color because it doesn’t show footprints. Carpet Captain on Pinterest has some examples as well.

  2. Could you recommend a few lines of carpet by various manufacturers that would be good for high traffic stare area?

    1. I avoid recommending lines of carpet because they are mostly marketing and change frequently and are difficult to keep track of. The good news is the normal factors of durability apply. I’d consider a lower pile height nylon carpet, and then go through this page and it will walk you through what you need for a carpet that will last on your stairs.

  3. When you replace the stairs’ carpet halfway through the life of the carpet, should you expect to also replace the pad at the same time?

    1. Carpet Captain

      I would. Stairs are the heaviest traffic area for carpet because people always step in the same spot with more force, so I’d want it fresh for the new carpet.

  4. Good Day

    We are the producers of stair carpet in Turkey.
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    The stair carpet is 70×27 cm + 4 cm overlap over edge of the step, 100% polyamid, and its 1cm thickness of is cm 2400 gram choromojet polyamid.
    We would also be more than happy to ship some free samples to you.

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    [link removed]

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    Golden Carpet & Mat
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    Fax : +90 212 670 36 38
    [link removed]

  5. I have been told I should never use wool carpet as a stairway runner. I tried a very high-quality wool years ago and it looked 30 years old within about six months – very fuzzy, worn and “smiling” on the nose of the tread. What type of carpet fiber do you recommend for stairs?

    1. A good quality nylon is probably best. Also, wool should be an option for stairs… I suspect there was something else wrong with this carpet. However, you’re going to pay more for wool than nylon and no matter the carpet you choose it won’t last forever on stairs, so nylon gets the slight edge.

  6. I’m carpeting three bedrooms, upstairs hallway and the stairs. I’m considering getting a higher quality carpet for the stairs and hallway and a lesser grade for the bedrooms. All would have the same pad. One bedroom gets moderate use and the other two get very light use. Will probably be selling in 5-7 years so trying to save some money while still having the carpet look decent when I sell. Is it possible and advisable to use two different grades of the same carpet (same color too)? One downside might be the possibility that the colors won’t match exactly- different dye lot. any other problems with my plan?

    Second question- what do you think about using a textured patterned carpet on steps and in bedrooms?

    1. Carpet Captain

      1. I really like the idea of using different grades/qualities for different rooms, and think most people should do it. It does get a little tricky if you want the same color because there’s a chance they aren’t exact matches (they won’t be from the same roll). This is especially true if the carpets are different materials, which is one of the best ways to lower cost and change its durability. Here’s a good article on carpet durability. 2. I think the texture and patterns will help avoid dirt stains that are inevitable on steps, so I’d go with it if you like the carpet.

  7. I have two cats and want to put carpet runner down hardwood stairs. After reading your information,
    I think nylon would be best option?

    1. Nylon is one of the most durable carpets and stairs can take a beating (heavy foot traffic). Your cats also may want to use them as a scratch post. I’d consider nylon if your cats are declawed. If they aren’t declawed and might use the stairs as a scratching post, I’d go cheaper because it will probably need to be replaced sooner either way. Here’s an article on animals and carpet:

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