Stairway to Heaven

Grant finally started walking yesterday.  He’s going on fifteen months, so I was started to get worried, when he saw a Lego display at Barnes and Noble and took off running.  Now my fear that he had some sort of motor disorder has been replaced with the fear that he is going to bust his head open on every sharp corner in our house.  Luckily, we finished the runner on our stairs just in time.
We replaced the carpet with hardwood treads and risers a couple months ago, and I decided to add a runner to give the treads more traction and cushion any falls.  I was debating a couple different rugs when I bought this one at Target for the front hall.  I decided it didn’t work, and then realized I threw the packaging away, so it (along with two others) filled the space on our steps.
Materials
1. Three 2’6″ x 8′ carpet runners
2. Adjustable depth nail gun
3. Loctite All Purpose Adhesive
4. Caulk Gun
5. Scissors (they should be new, dull scissors wil make the carpet fray)
6. Measuring Tape
I started by opening the runner and re-rolling it in reverse, like this:
This way I could keep rolling it up the stairs as I worked.  Using measuring tape, I made sure it was centered.  The mistake that’s most likely to happen in this project is that the runner starts getting a little bit crooked early on.  You won’t realize it until the top step when you’re slanting way over, so I measured on each step as I went up.  That allowed me to adjust it a little if I found I was off by 1/4 of an inch.
I put a small amount of Loc-Tite adhesive on the bottom part of my runner to hold it in place before I started nailing it in.
I also cut a rug pad to fit the treads, adding some extra cushion and helping it stick.
This is where the fun starts.  At least if you consider using a nail gun to be fun.  It’s really important to use an adjustable depth nail gun here.  Ours adjusts from 1-6. At level 1 the nail is only slightly driven into whatever you shoot, so most of the nail will still be hanging out.  I used about a 3.5, leaving about 1/4″ of the head sticking out, which I beat in with a hammer.  If I were to have used a 6, the nail would have gone straight through the carpet.  It’s also pretty important to have a thick ply carpet for this project, so that when you hammer the nail in, the head will be hidden inside the rug.
I didn’t put any nails into the tread itself, they were all on the riser.  I basically nailed in a box shape, using about six nails across the base of the riser, four on each side, and another six across the top.
I had to use three runners to cover all the steps.  When I was running out of rug, I would cut it at the base of the next riser, with about 1″ of carpet remaining, that I glued to the base of that riser.  Then I would start my next rug.  You can see one of the seams below:
My stairs treads all have a piece of cove molding (if you haven’t read my post about replacing the stair carpet with treads, it gives more details on the different parts of the stairs) covering the gap between the tread and riser.  I removed the cove molding from the top step, then cut the runner flush with the top riser, and nailed the cove molding over it to hide the cut carpet.
Here’s the finished product:
It was a little bland in the stairwell before, this adds some fun.  It’s also much softer for the little guy to crawl up.  Hopefully that all made sense and please feel free to ask any questions in the comments section.
Image Map

Leave a Reply