How To Install a Plastic Stair Runner

A plastic stair runner is helpful in lengthening the life of your stairs and the carpet placed over it as it protects it from mud, dirt, paint, and other stains. Some vinyl stair runners are also clear, making the underlying carpet visible and removing the need to find a stair runner that matches the color of your carpet.

If you want to install your own plastic stair runner, here are the steps you need to do.

  • Estimate the width and size of the stair. Measure the width of the stairs by inches. You can either fully cover the stairs with the plastic stair runner, or set a specific width. Afterward, measure the required length by linear foot. You can measure by inches first to make it easier, and then convert to linear foot later. Include the rise of each step in your calculation. Measure a single step first. Add the values for the rise and the run of the step. Afterward, multiply the sum by the number of steps in your stairs that you want to have a stair runner. You can add an extension to the estimation just in case something goes wrong with the estimate. An extra two feet will do, as you can cut it off after installation.
  • Buy the appropriate stair runner. Plastic stair runners come in various widths. The most common are 27 inches, 36 inches, and 48 inches. Make sure that you clearly specify the width that you require based on your stairs as well as the required length in linear foot to prevent unnecessary trimming. If you plan to install the stair runner with screws or nails, buy corresponding stair rods based on the number of stairs that you have.
  • Identify how you want to install the stair runner. You can opt to either have the stair runner installed with nails or screws, or without them. Each one has its merits, but the final decision rests with you. By using nails or screws, the stair runner is firmly in place and is not easily displaced. If you don’t plan to use these, you will utilize the gripping teeth on the back of the plastic stair runner to keep it in place.
  • Install the stair runner with nails and screws. Drill three holes in the wood–one on each end and another in the center. It should be done width-wise and deep enough that the screw’s threading and the nail head is not protruding, to prevent any accidents. Roll and position the plastic runner on the stairs. You can either screw the runner on top or on the bottom of the stairs first to make an anchor point. Screw a stair rod for every point where a stair run and stair rise meet. At the last stair, staple or screw the stair runner to the stair rise. Trim any excess runner.
  • Install the stair runner without nails or screws. Do not start at the edge of the top step. You can start right before the carpet and the tread slope downwards, or right before the end of the tread. Roll the stair runner and fit them to the measure of each step. Cut a portion of the plastic stair runner per step using strong scissors. Use the scissors to make the edges of the plastic stair runner smoother, or melt the edges with a cigarette lighter until you even it out. Using your fingers or the scissors, flatten out the plastic stair runner in an up and down motion so the teeth can sink into the carpet and thus won’t be easily displaced.

Keeping your house safe and clean is never easy especially with kids around. But with plastic stair runners in place, you can maintain the quality of your carpet and stairs without too much expense.


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