How To Measure Carpet for Stairs

Carpeted stairs
Many people enjoy the idea of having carpeting installed on their hardwood stairs in order to give this section of the house a homey feeling. More importantly, carpeted stairs are safer and less prone to causing a slip and tumble down the stairs.

If you have ever considered carpeting your stairs on your own, you may be surprised to know that installing carpeting on stairs is a very simple operation that most people can do. By going the DIY route, you can also save hundreds of dollars in professional fees. The key to properly installing carpeting on the stairs is to take the right measurements. In fact, this is the first step. No matter what style you wish to use for this job, you need to start with the right set of measurements to get you on the right track. The following is a simple step by step set of instructions for the “waterfall” method of installation. The waterfall method is ideal for common stairs that have uniform width and standard height. Here’s how to take accurate measurements for the ‘waterfall’ method.

Step 1

Measure the width of the entire staircase
The very first thing you need to do is to measure the width of the entire staircase. If your staircase is a standard one with uniformly sized steps, all you need to do is to measure the width at the widest portion of the stairs. Place one tip of your measuring tape at one end, and then stretch the tape across the width of the stair step to the other end. Write down the width and consider that you may add two to four inches of extra width as allowance.

Step 2

Measure the width of each riser

When we climb up the stairs, what we step on is called the “riser”. For the waterfall method, you essentially need one long piece of carpeting to cover the entire set of stairs. Thus it is important to measure how wide each riser is. Measure from the tip of the riser up to the joint (or where the riser ends and the fall begins). Write down this measurement.

Step 3

Measure the “fall” of each step
The fall refers to the height or distance between one riser and the next one. To measure this, start from the end of one riser and then stretch the tape up to the beginning of the next riser. If your stairs have nosing, the fall ends under this jutted out portion of each step. Jot down this measurement.

Step 4

Combine the measurements of the riser and the fall
To do this, simply add the two previous measurements, and to this sum add a few inches for allowance. This will allow you to neatly cover the edges and the corners with sufficient carpeting during the installation. Finally, once you obtained the length for each step (with allowance), multiply this by the number of steps you wish to cover. This will give you the total length of carpeting you need for the stairs.

Take the measurements of the total length and width to the carpet store, and have a sales associate assist you in choosing the appropriate amount of carpet for your project.

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