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Carpet Stairs Cost

Carpet Stairs Cost

National average
$750
(12 square yards of blended fiber carpet installed on straight stairs)
Low: $570

(12 square yards of nylon carpet installed on straight stairs)

High: $1,500

(12 square yards of wool carpet installed on stairs with spindles)

Cost to carpet stairs varies greatly by region (and even by zip code).
Get free estimates from carpet installers in your city.

The average cost of carpeting stairs is $750.

In this guide

Type of carpet
Type of carpet construction
Colors
Pad Thickness
Installation
Labor costs
Maintenance
Enhancement and improvement costs
Additional considerations and costs
FAQ

How much does it cost to carpet stairs?

Carpeting is one of the most popular flooring materials available. It feels good underfoot, makes rooms feel warmer, and comes in a wide range of colors, materials, and patterns. If you have carpeting anywhere your home, you may want to consider installing it on your stairs as well. Many variables impact the cost of this project, from the material and length of the stairs to whether you have spindles 1 to work around or not. The average homeowner, covering a flight of 12 steps with 12 square yards of blended fiber carpet, spends about $750 on the job.

Type of carpet

Several types of carpet and carpet material are available. Technically, you can install any of them on stairs, but not all are the best choice. Stairs have heavier use than other areas of the floor, so you need a heavier-duty carpet to hold up. Carpets labeled “heavy domestic” or “extra heavy domestic” have undergone more rigorous testing to ensure that they hold up to the extra traffic and use, regardless of material:


Type of carpetDescriptionCosts
Nylon

Durable

Easy to clean

Resists stains

Creates static

$15 - $45/sq.yd.
Sisal

Very durable

Low pile

Woven carpet

Stains

$20 - $60/sq.yd.
Seagrass

Very soft

Low pile

Woven carpet

$20 - $60/sq.yd.
Jute

Soft

Low pile

Woven

Durable

$20 - $60/sq.yd.
Polyester

Fade-resistant

Stain-resistant

Can mat in high-traffic areas

Likely to pill

$23 - $50/sq.yd.
Polypropylene

Soft

Lightweight

Stain-resistant

Crushes easily

$36 - $65/sq.yd.
Blended fibers

Stain-resistant

Durable

Easy to clean

Crush-resistant

$36 - $65/sq.yd.
Wool

Very soft

Flame-resistant

Eco-friendly

Highly durable

Easily stained

$90 - $150/sq.yd.


Carpeting comes in both natural and synthetic fibers. Wool, coir, jute, seagrass, and sisal are natural fibers, while nylon, polypropylene, polyester, and acrylic are synthetic materials. Natural materials tend to be more eco-friendly and long-wearing, but they also stain more easily than synthetic materials. Synthetics are often cheaper and provide more colors, depths, and patterns to choose from, while many natural fibers, except for wool, are a low-pile, woven carpet. When deciding what is best for your stairs, consider what is installed nearby and coordinate the material and color. But also realize that stair carpet needs to hold up to higher traffic. Something that does not crush and is stain-resistant may be a better choice.

Type of carpet construction

Carpet is constructed in two ways, bulked continuous filament (BCF) and staple. BCF is made of long, extruded carpet fibers that are twisted all at once, and they resist pilling. While costing slightly more, roughly $2 to $3 more per yard, they tend to last longer. Staple carpet fibers are short, twisted strands. They pill and crush more easily and, therefore, do not make the best choice for stair carpets.

Colors

Carpets come in a wide range of colors and patterns. Light colors often make poor choices for high-traffic areas like stairs because they show more dirt than darker colors. If you choose a lighter color, consider stain-resistant carpets to help them last longer.

If you choose a pattern, consider the way your stairs are configured. A straight run of stairs can handle nearly any design, but stairs that have landings or turns can be more difficult because the carpet may not match up evenly. To produce an even pattern, you may need to purchase more material and pay extra for installation than you would with a solid carpet.

Pad Thickness

Carpet pads are essential to the installation. They range in cost from $0.89 to $11 per square yard and come in multiple materials and types. When considering carpeting for stairs, pay attention to the thickness of the pad. A very thick, squishy pad may feel better on a floor but will not hold up as well on stairs. Thinner pads, such as waffle rubber and flat rubber, make the best pads for stairs.

Installation

Installation varies depending on the run of stairs, the configuration, and whether you have a banister 2 with spindles that the carpet must go around or if it will only cover the center of the stairs.

If there are no spindles and the carpet stretches from one side to the next, the installation is not 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 as well as 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. Likewise, patterns that need to make a turn on a landing may need to be cut differently and the patterns matched, which requires additional time.

Labor costs

Labor costs vary for installation of stair carpeting. Most installers start with a base rate per square yard of $10 to $18 per yard. 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 or not.

For a flight of 12 stairs, with no spindles, this works out to a cost of about $260 to $360 for labor out of a total price of approximately $750, including the material and pad.

Maintenance

Maintenance of your stair carpet is the same as it is for a level carpeted surface. Keep your shoes as clean and dry as possible to avoid stains. Vacuum your stairs regularly to remove dirt, and treat stains with a stain remover made for carpets.

Enhancement and improvement costs

Removal of old carpet

If you already have old carpeting on your stairs, it must be removed before installing the new carpeting. Some installers include removal in the cost, but others charge around $2 a square foot or $18 a square yard.

Additional considerations and costs

  • If you are on a budget, purchasing a better-quality underlay 3 and a less-quality carpet will keep costs down while prolonging the life of the carpet.
  • If you have pets with claws, twist pile carpets, such as loop carpeting, are less likely to snag and fray.
  • If you have a staircase with an elaborate design or many spindles, the installation will be more expensive.
  • Purchasing a branded carpet has many advantages, such as availability and customer service, but always ensure that the warranty covers the services you need.
  • If you have wrapped stairs, you need to carpet over the exposed sides, which increases the costs.

FAQ

  • How much does it cost to install carpet on stairs?

Costs vary depending on the number of stairs, configuration, and pattern. Most people spend around $750 on the project.

  • What kind of carpet is best for stairs

No type is best, but it helps to look for low pile, non-crushable, and highly durable carpets.

  • How long does it take to install carpet on stairs?

Installation time depends on the number of stairs and whether there are spindles. It could take anywhere from a few hours to one to three days. 

  • Is stair carpet more expensive?

The carpet itself is not more expensive, but the installation is. 

  • What size carpet do I need for stairs?

Purchase the same carpet as for flat flooring and have it cut to fit. 

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Remodeling Terms Cheat Sheet

Definitions in laymen's terms, cost considerations, pictures and things you need to know.
See full cheat sheet.
1 Spindles: One of a series of identical vertical supports, typically decorative, used between railing posts on decks and stairs
2 Banister: A long bar designed for a person to hold onto, giving them support. They are usually found on the sides of staircases, and can also be found in bathrooms, for example, to help persons with disabilities
3 Underlay: Roofing material laid underneath roofing tiles to seal the roof, preventing leaks

Cost to carpet stairs varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

Carpeted stairs in a bright hallway

Labor cost by city and zip code

Compared to national average
Antioch, TN
+18%
Athens, GA
-9%
Atlanta, GA
+24%
Aurora, CO
+10%
Bakersfield, CA
-6%
Birmingham, AL
+6%
Bowie, MD
+16%
Broken Arrow, OK
-17%
Buffalo, NY
-1%
Carbondale, CO
+28%
Charlotte, NC
+6%
Chicago, IL
+40%
Cincinnati, OH
+6%
Dallas, TX
+10%
Daly City, CA
+51%
Dayton, OH
-7%
Denver, CO
+1%
Detroit, MI
+16%
Fairburn, GA
-9%
Fort Worth, TX
+6%
Houston, TX
+24%
Independence, MO
+8%
Jacksonville, FL
-1%
Killeen, TX
-27%
Las Vegas, NV
+7%
Littleton, CO
+2%
Longmont, CO
-3%
Mayer, AZ
-27%
Mckinney, TX
+23%
Mesa, AZ
-2%
Miami, FL
+1%
Minneapolis, MN
+25%
Montpelier, VA
+3%
Nashua, NH
+33%
Ogden, UT
-20%
Omaha, NE
-10%
Orlando, FL
+2%
Palm Coast, FL
-32%
Pelham, AL
-9%
Philadelphia, PA
+40%
Pittsburgh, PA
+9%
Pompano Beach, FL
+2%
Portland, OR
+11%
Raleigh, NC
-3%
Renton, WA
+9%
Richmond, VA
+4%
Riverdale, GA
-4%
Royal Oak, MI
+24%
Saint Paul, MN
+20%
Salem, OR
-15%
Labor cost in your zip code
Last modified:   
Methodology and sources