By Gene and Katie Hamilton
A stair runner is carpeting designed and sized to fit on a stairway and adds warmth and comfort to your steps. They're particularly attractive when they complement a decorating scheme. You'll find them sold by the foot in widths of 26 and 31 inches at flooring and home centers in a variety of colors, designs and styles. You’ll find them online by typing stair runners in a search engine. The runner and padding are fastened to a staircase with tackless carpeting strips secured on the stair and riser using a knee kicker that tucks the material in place.
To install a runner and padding on a 16-step straight staircase, a carpet installer will charge $711. You can do the job for $375, which includes the cost of the material runner, padding, tackless strips plus a day’s rental of a knee kicker.
Not sure you want to do the job? Click here to
Home Advisor, a free referral service that connects homeowners with prescreened local contractors, and type "carpeting" in the Find Pro search box.
SF Gate has these instructions to Install Stair Runners.
When choosing a runner, bring along a tape measure to measure its width. You should know the number of steps you’re covering, the width of the step, the depth of the tread and the height of the riser to correctly calculate the length of runner and padding you’ll require. It also helps to have a rough sketch with those dimensions to refer to.
The job gets tricky and more costly if the staircase turns or winds, which will require more material.
The bottom line: compare the price of a contractor’s bid to install a stair runner with what it costs to do it yourself and make your decision. You adjust the cost to where you live by adding your ZIP Code.
Improvement and Repair Cost Updated 2020