Loading, please wait...
Carpeting is one of the most popular flooring materials available. It feels good underfoot, makes rooms seem warmer, and comes in a wide range of colors, materials, and patterns. If you have carpeting elsewhere in your home, consider installing it on your stairs as well. Many variables impact the cost of a stair carpeting project, including the carpet material and texture, stair length, and whether the stairs have spindles.
The national average cost for stair carpeting is $430 to $780, with most homeowners paying around $750 to install carpet on a straight flight of 12 steps with 12 sq.yd. of a level loop Triexta carpet. The low cost for this project is $300 for 12 sq.yd. of Berber olefin carpet installed on straight stairs without spindles. This project’s high cost is $2,460 for 12 sq.yd. of velvet wool fully installed on stairs with spindles.
|Cost to Install Carpet on Stairs|
|National average cost||$750|
Material selection is the biggest influencer of stair carpeting pricing, with numerous options ranging from $9 to $180 per sq.yd. Carpeting comes in both natural and synthetic fibers. When deciding on a stair carpet, consider what is installed nearby and coordinate the material and color.
Natural materials tend to be more eco-friendly and long-wearing, but they can also stain more easily. Synthetics are often cheaper and available in more colors, depths, and patterns, but synthetic fibers may not last as long as natural ones.
Stairs have heavier use than other floor areas, so whatever material you choose, you need a heavier-duty carpet. Carpets labeled heavy or extra heavy domestic have undergone rigorous testing to ensure they hold up to the extra traffic and will not mat down or lose their shape with wear.
Material choice is a safety factor as well as an aesthetic one since improperly carpeted stairs can be slip and fall hazards. Although there are many carpeting material choices, not all are well-suited for use on stairs. Material that does not crush, is stain-resistant, and offers good traction may be a better choice than a material selected solely for its visual appeal.
The carpets in the table below can all be used on stairs, depending on your performance needs, budget, and aesthetic preferences.
|Carpet Type||Type of Fiber||Average Costs (Material Only)|
The average cost of olefin stair carpeting is $9 per sq.yd. or $1 per sq.ft. Olefin is a synthetic polypropylene material known for its low price, moisture-wicking properties, and resistance to stains, mold, and mildew. Olefin comes in many colors and styles. It is often used for areas like basement and patio stairs that are exposed to moisture. Olefin is lower priced but not as durable as other materials. So, it may mat down faster and need to be replaced sooner when used in very high-traffic settings. It also absorbs oils and grease and is sensitive to friction heat, which can cause it to melt or scorch.
Expect to pay $18 per sq.yd. or $2 per sq.ft. for polyester stair carpeting. Polyester carpeting is a synthetic option that can be made from recycled products. It holds color well and has a soft texture at a budget-friendly price. The hydrophobic properties of polyester repel liquid stains. Polyester is generally less durable than other materials, so consider this before choosing polyester carpeting for stairs.
The average cost of nylon stair carpeting is $23 per sq.yd. or $2.56 per sq.ft. Nylon is one of the most durable and popular synthetic fiber carpet options available. Its fibers bounce back easily from compaction, making it an excellent choice for high-traffic areas like stairs. One of the downsides of nylon is its absorbent quality, which can trap spills and cause stains. But nylon carpeting can be treated to make it more stain-resistant.
Triexta stair carpeting averages $36 per sq.yd. or $4 per sq.ft. Triexta carpeting is a fairly new synthetic fiber type developed by DuPont. Triexta, also known as polytrimethylene terephthalate (PTT), shares some attributes of polyester and nylon. Two Triexta variants - Sorona and SmartStrand - are used in home goods. Most Triexta carpeting is the stain-resistant and durable SmartStrand material, which is well-suited for stairs.
Seagrass stair carpeting averages $50 per sq.yd. or $5.56 per sq.ft. Seagrass is a perennial flowering water plant native to underwater meadows in Asia. The leaves of the seagrass plant are harvested for use in many home goods, including placemats, rugs, and carpeting. Seagrass fibers are smooth, non-porous, and very durable. A natural waxy coating repels liquid, dust, and dirt, making seagrass low-allergen and stain-resistant. However, when installed incorrectly, the waxy coating can pose a slip and fall hazard. When installing seagrass stair carpet, lay the carpet with the grain of the fiber paralleling the step treads for the best traction.
The average price for coir stair carpeting is $107 per sq.yd. or $11.89 per sq.ft. Coconut shell husks are used to produce durable, natural coir fiber for home products like ropes, floor mats, and carpeting. A 100% coir floor covering has a rough, rustic texture and is very durable. Coir fibers can be mixed with other natural fibers like sisal for stability and a slightly softer texture. Coir’s natural mold and mildew resistance makes it a good choice in humid locations, although it can still absorb spills and stains. The rough texture and durability of coir make it a good option for stair carpeting.
Expect to pay $110 per sq.yd. or $12.22 per sq.ft. for sisal stair carpeting. Sisal is a tough eco-friendly natural fiber that comes from the leaves of the Agave Sisalana cactus. Sisal is used in ropes, carpeting, and rugs. The fiber strength makes sisal a good choice for high-traffic areas like stairs. Being a natural fiber means sisal may be more difficult to keep clean than synthetic fibers.
The average price for jute stair carpeting is $132 per sq.yd. or $14.67 per sq.ft. The fibers for jute carpeting come from the Corchorus plants of Bangladesh and India. Although jute fiber is thick, it is also a soft natural fiber that feels comfortable under bare feet. Natural color variations make jute carpeting visually appealing. Jute is a very absorbent material, so it will stain if spills are not treated promptly. It can also trap the moisture and start to mildew. Since jute is somewhat difficult to clean, it is often not the best choice for high-traffic stairs in areas that are prone to staining.
Wool stair carpeting averages $180 per sq.yd. or $20 per sq.ft. Wool is one of the warmest and most cozy natural fiber materials with excellent thermal insulation and sound absorption properties. The lanolin and other natural oils in the wool fiber repel water-based stains, making them easier to clean. Wool is a durable, long-lasting, and beautiful fiber that has long been a popular upscale choice for rugs and carpeting. It is the most expensive carpeting material on the list, but it stands up to the rigors of stairs.
Carpeting is available in many variations of cut and loop textures. The texture or fiber presentation of a carpet affects both the project look and price. Texture is especially important for stair carpeting since the right texture reduces slip risks and helps the carpet withstand high traffic.
When considering texture options, understand that although carpets come in many textures, not all of them are ideal for stairs. Look for textures that are durable and non-skid with a low pile. Less than ¾” is an optimal pile height for stairs so that the carpet fibers can wrap around the curve of the step without smiling (gapping). Carpets with a shorter pile usually compress less and retain the original appearance longer. Density is also important. The more closely the fiber tufts are spaced, the denser and more durable the carpet.
Some of the best choices for high-traffic stairs are level loop, multi-level loop, and Berber. The dense, tight, uncut loops of carpet fibers in these textures do not show vacuum marks or footprints 1, and they retain their height and shape despite repeated wear. Cut and loop and fireze are also viable choices for carpeting stairs, although they are not as ideal as the recommended choices.
If possible, avoid the tall pile of saxony, shag, cable, and plush on frequently used staircases. These textures do not hold their shape and are better suited for lower-traffic areas. Velvet carpeting is an upscale and long-lasting choice for formal areas, but it is also not usually recommended for high-traffic stairs since it can show tread and wear marks.
|Type of Texture||Recommended for Stairs||Average Costs (Material Only)|
|Berber||Recommended||$15 - $22/sq.yd.|
$1.67 - $2.44/sq.ft.
|Saxony||Not recommended||$15 - $24/sq.yd.|
$1.67 - $2.67/sq.ft.
|Plush||Not recommended||$15 - $24/sq.yd.|
$1.67 - $2.67/sq.ft.
|Textured Saxony||Somewhat recommended||$15 - $24/sq.yd.|
$1.67 - $2.67/sq.ft.
|Multi-Level Loop||Recommended||$15 - $24/sq.yd.|
$1.67 - $2.67/sq.ft.
|Fireze||Somewhat recommended||$25 - $45/sq.yd.|
$2.78 - $5/sq.ft.
|Shag||Not recommended||$25 - $45/sq.yd.|
$2.78 - $5/sq.ft.
|Cable||Not recommended||$25 - $45/sq.yd.|
$2.78 - $5/sq.ft.
|Level Loop||Recommended||$25 - $45/sq.yd.|
$2.78 - $5/sq.ft.
|Velvet||Not recommended||$25 - $45/sq.yd.|
$2.78 - $5/sq.ft.
|Cut and Loop||Somewhat recommended||$25 - $45/sq.yd.|
$2.78 - $5/sq.ft.
Carpet is constructed in two ways: bulked continuous filament (BCF) and staple, with the trend moving toward more BCF construction. BCF is made of long, extruded carpet fibers that are twisted all at once. The fibers in a BCF-constructed rug resist pilling and do not shed. Most synthetic carpet fibers like Olefin and Triexta are available in a BCF construction, but most natural fibers like wool are not. Some fibers like nylon have been produced in both BCF and staple varieties.
Staple construction carpeting is made up of many individual carpet strands, ranging from 3” to 10” in length, with 7.5” being the most common. The longer the staple fiber length, the higher the quality. Rugs with more intricate designs and patterns are typically long-length staple construction, and wool is the most common staple rug fiber. The fibers of a staple rug shed noticeably for the first few weeks after installation, diminishing over the first year.
Since most staple carpeting is made of more expensive natural fibers and most BCF carpet is from less pricey synthetic fibers, expect to pay more per square yard for staple carpeting than for BCF carpet. When comparing the same fiber material in BCF versus staple, the BCF rug could cost more since most staple rugs are created in-house at the carpet manufacturer’s site, while BCF rugs often rely on yarn purchased at a mark-up from an outside fiber producer.
|Type of Carpet Construction||Average Costs (Material Only)|
|BCF||$9 - $36/sq.yd.|
$1 - $4/sq.ft.
|Staple||$50 - $180/sq.yd.|
$5.56 - $20/sq.ft.
Labor costs vary for installing stair carpeting. Most installers start with a base rate of around $10 per sq.yd. similar to flat floor installations. Then, they add either a base stair rate of $75 to $150 or charge a per stair cost of $3 to $15, depending on whether there are spindles 2. For a straight flight of stairs with no spindles and 12 square yards of a Triexta carpet, this averages $260 to $360 for labor out of a total price of $750, including the material and pad.
Installation varies depending on the run of stairs, the configuration, and whether you have a banister with spindles. If there are no spindles and the carpet stretches from one side to the other, the installation is not much different from carpeting a room. The pad is put on and attached at the bottom of the stairs and then stretched up the risers and over the treads. The carpet follows and is stapled at the top and bottom of each riser and on the sides to hold it securely in place and prevent it from forming folds.
Spindles are more difficult because the carpet must be cut or notched around them and then stretched and stapled, which can be extremely time-consuming. If your stairs have spindles, expect to pay at the high end of the $3 to $15 range. Also, patterns that need to make a turn on a landing may need to be cut differently and the patterns matched, requiring additional time.
Staircases come in multiple configurations. The most common home staircases are straight stairs, stairs with pie turns, and stairs with a landing. Average carpeting cost with installation varies for each configuration, reflecting the additional carpeting and labor needed.
|Type of Stairs||Average Costs (Installed)|
|Straight Stair||$432 - $780 for 12 stairs|
|Stairs with Pie Turns||$522 - $915 for 12 stairs with 3 pie turns|
|Stairs with a Landing||$528 - $876 for 12 stairs plus a landing|
Carpeting a straight 12-step staircase averages $430 to $780. Straight staircases are the easiest to carpet since all the steps are the same dimensions, and there are no angles or difficult material cuts to make.
The cost to carpet a 12-step staircase with 3 pie-turn steps is $522 to $915. The additional time and difficulty involved in a pie-turn staircase raise total installation costs slightly. Expect to pay an additional $0.50 to $2 per square foot in labor costs for the special cuts needed on the pie-turn stairs.
Stairs with pie turns are a complex stair configuration. A pie turn is a staircase design that allows the staircase to change direction without a landing. This saves space but creates multiple pie-shaped stairs on the turn. The pie stairs are deeper on one end than the other, and each has a unique dimension.
Carpeting a staircase with a pie turn takes extra time to measure, cut, and install. It also requires more carpet for a pie turn. Expect to use 4’ x 30” of carpet for each pie stair instead of 3’ x 18” per box stair. The more pie steps, the more material and time needed.
The average installed price for 12 stairs plus a landing ranges from $528 to $876, paying an additional $50 to add a carpeted 4’ x 5’ landing. Landings are larger flat surfaces between two segments of straight stairs. Landings are used to change stair direction on L and U-shaped staircases. While installing carpet on a landing is not more challenging than on a stair, landings have a larger surface area, so you need additional carpeting, accounting for the slightly higher cost.
If you already have carpeting on your stairs and want to replace it, factor in costs for removal and disposal of the old carpeting. Carpet removal and disposal rates are typically between $0.50 to $2 per square foot. In some cases, removing the existing carpet is included in the labor cost for installing new carpet. Other times, the removal price is quoted separately.
A stair runner is a hybrid approach that produces the visual appearance of both carpeted and wood or tile stairs. As The Spruce describes, runners are pieces of carpet that do not cover the entire width of the stair. They are overlaid along the staircase center, leaving exposed tread on both sides.
A carpet runner keeps the visual appeal of a wood staircase, while adding the anti-skid and cushioning properties of carpeting. Runners can have a solid color or be patterned. Patterned runners are difficult to install correctly on curved and pie-turn staircases since it is hard to align the prints. Metal rods can be installed where the riser meets the tread for additional visual interest, but these rods are only decorative and have no structural function.
When adding a stair runner, select a runner width that corresponds to the scale of your stairs. A 3’ wide stair typically takes a 27” runner, while a 4’ to 5’ staircase needs a 32” to 33” runner.
Pricing for stair runners is different than for a fully carpeted stair. Since the edges of the runner are visible, they must be finished off. Runners can be purchased pre-finished, or you can have them custom-finished. Various edge finishes are available, with prices ranging from $2 to $6.50 per linear foot. The average set of stairs needs 22 linear feet of runner. The finishing cost is in addition to the cost of the runner. Installation costs $295 to $395 for a straight set of steps and $395 to $495 if you have 90º turn landings or pie steps.
|Material||Average Costs (22 Linear Feet Installed)|
|Plastic||$335 - $435|
|Vinyl||$712 - $812|
|Nylon||$757 - $857|
|Seagrass||$865 - $965|
|Sisal||$992 - $1,092|
|Jute||$1,073 - $1,173|
|Wool||$1,530 - $1,630|
Expect to pay $335 to $435 for an installed 22-linear-foot plastic runner. Unlike fiber stair runner materials, a plastic stair runner is typically installed over carpeted stairs, not wood or tiled ones. A plastic stair runner protects the underlying carpet from wear, tear, and staining. Most plastic stair runners are clear so that the carpet shows through.
An installed 22-linear-foot vinyl 3 stair runner averages $712 to $812. Vinyl stair runners are similar to plastic, although they may be slightly more flexible. They are usually placed over existing carpeted stairs to protect the carpet and improve traction if the carpet is slippery. While plastic runners are often clear, vinyl runners come in various prints and colors. Vinyl is known for its easy maintenance and clean-up.
Expect to pay between $757 and $857 for an installed 22-linear-foot nylon runner. Nylon is a very durable synthetic fiber that can withstand high-traffic staircases. Nylon fibers bounce back and retain their shape over time rather than matting down. Avoid spilling on nylon stair runners because it easily absorbs moisture and stains.
An installed 22-linear-foot seagrass stair runner ranges from $865 to $965. Seagrass is a durable natural material for stair runners. The smooth, waxy coating of seagrass makes it stain-resistant, but it can also reduce traction. For the best results, install the runner with the grain parallel to the tread of the steps.
Expect to pay $992 to $1,092 for an installed 22-linear-foot sisal runner. Sisal is one of the most commonly preferred materials for stair runners because of its high fiber strength, natural color, and grippy texture. It is somewhat easy to clean, especially for a natural fiber.
An installed 22-linear-foot jute carpet runner averages $1,073 to $1,173. Jute is another popular option for stair runners. Its thick, soft texture feels wonderful, and jute is a natural fiber. Since jute is an absorbent material, it is not as well-suited for stairs that are likely to be exposed to moisture and spills.
Expect to pay $1,530 to $1,630 for an installed 22-linear-foot wool runner. Wool is a durable natural fiber that dampens sound, insulates, and feels rich underfoot. Its natural oils repel water-based stains, although they can absorb oil-based products. Wool is historically one of the most sought-after natural fibers for carpeting.
Nylon and polyester are the two most commonly used synthetic carpeting materials for stairs. Polyester holds color well, has a soft texture, and is excellent at repelling liquids. Nylon is more durable, so it stands up to high-traffic areas like stairs. The potential downside of nylon is its highly absorbent properties that can trap stains. Polyester carpeting is slightly more affordable than nylon.
|Material||Average Costs (Installed)|
The two main finishing options for interior stairs are wood and carpet. A wood staircase offers a clean, modern look and a tread material that will not show as much wear over time. Wood can be slippery when wet, however. Slip and fall accidents on wooden staircases are more likely to result in injuries because carpeted stairs have padding 4. Carpeted stairs provide more traction and feel softer underfoot. They are less slippery when wet and cushion falls. Carpeting typically has a shorter lifespan than wood and needs replacing sooner. Carpeted steps cost less than wood steps.
|Material||Average Costs (Installed)|
|Carpet||$35 - $65/step|
|Wood||$50 - $150/step|
Some homeowners install outdoor carpeting on their interior stairs. If you like the look, outdoor carpeting can be a good option because of its durability, soil resistance, non-slip characteristics, and dense, low-pile construction. Expect to pay $1.90 to $3.50 per sq.ft. for outdoor carpeting.
Costs vary depending on the number of stairs, configuration, pattern, and material. Most people spend around $750 to carpet a single flight of straight stairs.
No carpet is the best option for stairs, but look for low-pile, non-crushable, highly durable carpets in a stain-resistant and non-slippery material.
The installation time depends on the number of stairs and whether there are spindles. It can take anywhere from a few hours to 1 to 3 days to install stair carpeting.
The carpet is not more expensive, but the installation is because the installer must cut, tuck, and tack the carpet so that it sits snugly on each stair. If your staircase has spindles, the carpet must be adjusted for those as well. The more involved the installation, the higher the cost.
Rather than being one large piece like for a square or rectangular room, the carpeting for stairs is often cut to fit. Homeowners or contractors must carefully measure the landings and each stair’s rise, run, and width to determine the carpet size needed. If you take your own measurements, double-check your work and add 10% to the final number to allow for waste and mistakes.