Best Padding for Stairs?
Alan Fletcher aka “The Carpet Professor”
installed on Stairs
and down Hallways usually takes the most abuse in almost every residential setting.
It’s because they are inherently narrow and foot traffic is concentrated
right down the middle.
children, pets and especially teenagers and their friends are a main reason
why carpets installed on stairs tend to wear out faster than other carpets
installed in your home. Kids and pets love to run up
and down the stairs as fast as they can which is a very common scenario for
What can you do to alleviate the problem?
You can choose to install a more durable grade of carpet and a higher density
are some smart options that may help you deal with this common problem without
breaking the bank!
Carpet Fiber for Stairs?
stairs, you can choose any carpet style you like, but the most durable residential
carpets are made from 100% Nylon. There are various types of Nylon fibers
available and some are more durable than others. The “soft” Nylon styles
are not quite as durable as the standard Nylon carpet styles.
For this reason I would steer
clear of the softer Nylon carpet styles like Tactesse, Caress, or Lisse’,
especially if you have heavy foot traffic in your home.
more Carpet Fibers | How to select the right carpet fiber
Fibers Not Recommended for Stairs
carpet made from fibers like Polyester or P.E.T. Polyester, Triexta (aka)
Sorona or PTT or Smartstrand, and Olefin (aka) Polypropylene, are less durable
than nylon and are prone to matting and crushing of the pile. Choosing a
carpet with a low pile height will be more durable too. Keep the pile height
less than 3/4" for best results.
about Carpet Specifications - Face Weight, Pile Density, Tuft Twist
the Right Carpet Pad,
Padding, or Carpet Cushion for Stairs
the best carpet for your stairs may be best served by first choosing the right
carpet padding for your stairs. You see, it’s the padding that takes most of
the beating from foot traffic and good quality padding can help your carpet tolerate
more abuse for a longer period of time.
right carpet pad will usually be of a higher density rating, not thicker. Most
residential homes use a 6 to 8-pound padding density in all areas and are no
thicker than 7/16". However, on
stairs you might want to go with an 8 to 10-pound density rating.
make it even better, use a higher density and also go with a thinner
padding. This can increase the lifespan of the carpet installed on stairs even
more, perhaps use a 3/8" thickness.
residential homes use padding with a thickness of 1/2” or 7/16”. This is
standard in the industry because most people like a carpet that is somewhat
soft or spongy underfoot.
stairs, if you use padding with a thickness of 3/8”, your stairs
will not feel quite as spongy underfoot but the carpet will be able to tolerate more
abuse than if you go with a thicker padding and/or choose a density rating of
6-pounds or less.
to make it clear, using a padding with a density rating of 8 to 10 pounds and
a thickness of 3/8” will give you the best case scenario for carpet installed on stairs to be able to last as long as possible and tolerate
a high level of foot traffic.
it were me, I would go with a 3/8” padding with a 10-pound density rating
for the stairs in my home. To get the absolute most durable scenario, I would probably select a
cut-pile style, commercial-grade carpet
made of Polypropylene or Nylon.
Commercial grade carpets
generally require a padding with
reduced thickness and a higher density-rating than do a standard plush-style residential
carpets. Check with your dealer for manufacturer requirements.
Type of Padding is Best for Stairs?
are many types of pad to choose from, but the best bang for your buck is a
standard 3/8”, 8-pound density Rebond
foam type pads. Flat slab or Waffle style Rubber pads are much more
costly and while they do a good job, they are not as good a value as a
standard urethane foam Rebond style pad.
Felt or Synthetic Fiber pads breathe well, dry quickly, resist
mold and mildew and are best used in basements or on concrete slabs where
there may be some moisture concerns or for use under commercial-grade
Learn more Selecting the Right Carpet Pad, Padding, Cushion
more Carpet and Pad Price Chart | Carpet Cost
about Carpet Specifications - Face Weight, Pile Density, Tuft Twist
Grade of Carpet Should I Choose?
is where it gets difficult to advise you because there are so many variables to
consider. Learn more What Carpet Style or Grade Should I Select? Carpet Cost Comparison
If money were no object then all you
would have to do is buy the best grade of carpet available and not have to worry about how long it lasts. When it wears out just
But in the real world, we all have a
limited budget to consider and we all
want to get the most value for our hard-earned dollar. So
you need to consider the following questions carefully before you can determine
what grade of carpet you might need to buy.
long do you want your new carpet to last?
5, 10, 15, 20 years?
is your level of foot-traffic in your home? Low, medium, moderate or high?
How much carpet do you need to
much money do you have to spend on this project?
long do you want your new carpet to last?
long do you want your new carpet to last? If your answer is 5 years or less
than you don’t have to spend so much to get the job done. If you are
planning to move soon or if you have small children or active pets, it would
be wise to plan on replacing your carpet in about 5 years. This means spending
less now and replacing your carpet more often.
can buy lower grades of carpet and have it installed with basic pad for less
than $20 per square yard. Shop around and if you are not picky about style and
colors you could do it for less than $15 if you buy from a retailer who has rolls
of carpet available in-stock and ready-to-go! These are often known as
second-quality goods and can be a great deal if you choose wisely.
most homeowners want their new carpet to last at least 10 years. If you want a
certain style and color to match your décor then you might need to order
your carpet from a carpet sample at a retail store. They will place your order
directly with the manufacturer for the size, style, grade and color you
choose. These carpets are first-quality goods, come with a full manufacturer's
warranty. You will have to pay at least 50% down for it in advance, including shipping
carpet orders from the mill take a week or
two to be shipped to the retail store where you purchased it. In
the winter when roads are temporarily closed or impassible due to ice and snow it can take
much longer for your carpet to arrive as truckers can only do so much when bad
you want 15 to 20 years of wear and tear from your new carpet you are going to
have to pay much more for a higher grade of carpet, pad and installation. The
more durable the carpet and padding, the higher the cost. With carpet
installation, you need to make sure that the carpet installers are well
experienced with the grade of carpet you have selected and that they are well
experienced in doing the type of installation you are having done.
Learn more How To Find a Qualified Carpet Installer
The more foot traffic you have
the higher the grade of carpet you will need to order.
is your Level of Foot-Traffic in your home?
have created a free carpet foot-traffic test to help you determine what
grade of carpet you need to choose for your home. Here is the link: Alan’s
Carpet Foot-Traffic Test
more What Carpet Style or Grade Should I Select? Carpet Cost Comparison
How much carpet do
I need to buy?
you are just doing your stairs, then here is a chart to help you determine how
much carpet and pad you need to order.
to Measure for Carpet on Stairs
for stairs can be a little bit tricky, but as long as your staircases are not
unusual they shouldn’t be too tough to estimate. To make it easy I have
created a handy chart to help you figure a basic estimate of how much carpet
you need to carpet your stairs.
What is your stair step and riser measurement?
step and risers will measure about 18 inches total. In diagram #1 below, it
shows you where and how to measure the step and riser. You need to calculate
these measurements in inches.
Measure the width. How wide are your stairs?
are several types of stairs. Most stairs are about 3 feet wide. Some are much
wider. Not all stairs measure the same width.
stairs are open on one or both sides and you will need to measure the widest
#2 below shows how to properly measure the width of "box" style
stairs. The Stair Yardage Chart below is for estimating purposed only. If your
stairs have carpet that goes over one or more of each side of the stair, then
that will need to be considered and calculated appropriately.
staircases have about 12-14 steps. Some are split into two 6 or 7-step flights
with a landing at the midpoint. The Stair Yardage Chart will reveal how many
yards you typically need for a standard 12-14 step staircase.
you have more or less steps than 14, you will have to take that into
consideration, and it will not include any carpet you may need for landing
areas unless you include them in your stair measurements.
that you have measured your stairs and have the answers to the two questions
about your stairs, use the chart below to calculate how many square
yards of carpet you will need to buy.
dealers prefer use the square feet method when ordering carpet. See the SY to
SF conversion calculations methods below to learn more.
Yards to Square Feet Conversion Calculation
x 9 = SF
- Example: 50 sy = 450 sf
Feet to Square Yards Conversion Calculation
9 = SY - Example: 450 sf = 50 sy
more about How to Measure for Carpet in 4 Simple Steps
I Choose a Commercial Grade Carpet for my Stairs?
people prefer to use the same grade, color and style of carpet throughout their
entire home. However, there is no reason why you have to!
can opt to install a higher grade of carpet on your stairs to make them last
years longer. There are many colors, styles and quality levels to choose from
with commercial-grade carpets.
a commercial grade carpet
could be a wise choice for your stairs, especially if you have heavy foot
traffic. Commercial grade carpets have a shorter pile-height and the tufts are
much more densely packed than residential grade carpet styles. The result is a
carpet that can take a real beating and hold up extremely well.
grade carpet is what they typically use in banks, movie theaters, office buildings and
airports because it will tolerate heavy foot traffic, resist stains and cleans
easily. These carpets are usually glued down with using any padding.
choosing a commercial grade carpet you can consider carpets made with
Polypropylene, Olefin, PET Polyester or Nylon and still enjoy excellent
results for your high-traffic stairs.
With commercial grade carpet, the carpet
pile is manufactured so dense and has a lower pile-height which allows these
carpets to be extremely durable even in heavy foot-traffic applications.
I don’t recommend choosing a looped Berber or a level-loop style commercial
grade carpet for your stairs because of the high chance for snags. A Cut-Pile
or Plush style would be a good choice for stairs.
Commercial-grade carpets require using padding with reduced thickness and a
higher density rating than do typical residential-grade carpets.
Residential-grade carpets are designed to be softer underfoot and be more
suited to those homeowners who desire a carpet that is soft and plush.
In fact, the softer a carpet is, or the more a carpet feels underfoot,
the less durable the carpet will be. Those
homeowners that want a soft carpet with a plush feel underfoot will end up
with a carpet that does not last as long or tolerate heavy foot traffic.
more Popular Carpet Styles | Which Carpet Style Is Best Choice?
How Much Does Carpet Cost?
Preferred Carpet Dealers
Scams are Everywhere! It's getting harder every day to
find honest & reputable Carpet Dealers! That's why I have compiled my
own special list of hand-picked carpet dealers who are locally owned,
give free measures and estimates, offer fair and square prices, have
knowledgeable sales staff, and hire qualified installers. Don't take
who I recommend near you!