Can a Runner Be Placed over Carpeted Stairs? (5 Pro Tips!)

I have a big passion for carpet runners. They often come in a variety of colors and patterns. One day I asked myself, whether a runner can be placed over the carpeted stairs. I’ve studied lots of materials on this topic. Now I am eager to share my knowledge.

You can place a runner over carpeted stairs. However, it is very risky. First of all, the runner installed over the carpeted stairs can cause slipping and falling. Secondly, moisture and dust is accumulated between the fibers of the two carpets. I recommend you to install the runner over the carpet temporarily if you need it. Keep up reading to know how to install the runner over the carpet on the stairs reliably.

Why Do Homeowners Like to Put a Runner over Carpeted Stairs?

Can a Runner be placed over Carpeted Stairs

I know that even the most devoted carpet lovers don’t understand why it is necessary to put a runner over the carpeted stairs. It’s not just a whim of the person, who is passionate about different kinds of carpeting. The runner, put over the carpeted stairs, brings about practical benefits. Here they are:

  • Runners seem to be created for staircases. Their length, softness, and thickness perfectly fit the shape of the stairs. The typical width of a runner is 2-3 ft and the typical length is 6-10 ft.
  • Homeowners use runners over carpeted stairs for a short period, for example, for some special events to protect the high-quality carpet on the stairs. Then lots of people come into the house, very often they don’t take off-street shoes. You can put a cheap runner over the carpeted stairs for this day only and then take it away.
  • Runners over the carpeted stairs help to reduce noise. If you have kids, who run up and down all day long and their small feet stomp over the carpeted stairs, annoying you, then the runner is your salvation.
  • There are many various patterns on the runners, so you can easily use this item over carpeted stairs to tie the design of this area with the rest part of the house.
  • If the carpet over your stairs became worn out or it contains some permanent stains or holes, it’s a good idea to put a runner over it. In this case, you’ll renew the look of your stairs for a very reasonable price.

How to Install a Runner over Carpeted Stairs?

Look for a low-pile option, add a thin underlayment, make sure to keep it for a short period, opt for a vinyl runner and be sure to use tack strips to fix your runner down.

Pro Tip 1: Install a Low-pile Carpet

red carpet on stairs

The first thing you should do is to install a low-pile carpet. A low-pile carpet has short fibers which make it look flat. These carpets have tighter loops of fabric. These carpets aren’t just easy to clean but are safe for those in your house who suffer from allergies as well.

Pro Tip 2: Add a Thin Underlayment

carpeted stairs

A thin underlayment will make the perfect base for your runner. Before adding the thin underlayment, you will have to thoroughly clean the area under the carpet. Make sure to leave the area as smooth as possible.

This type of lamination will not work on a carpet higher than 1/4 inches. Your subfloor will determine the type of underlayment required.

Pro Tip 3: Keep it For a Short Period

red carpet on stairs

Make sure not to keep your runner for a long period. Doing so will affect the quality of your home life. Your runner will wear out after some time since tack strips do not work very well for a carpet over another option.

Old carpets tend to absorb a lot of dust and dirt. Better to be safe than sorry if you have dust allergies.

Pro Tip 4: Use a vinyl runner

vinyl runner

If you want your carpet to last a bit longer, opt for a vinyl runner. This type of runner prevents damage from food spills. You can always secure your carpet in one place by hammering nails. Fixing your carpet using double-sided carpet tape usually does the trick as well.

Be sure to take accurate measurements of your carpet before using double-sided carpet tape.

Pro Tip 5: Use Tack Strips

Carpet Tack Strips

You will need a hammer, tape measure, nails, and metal snips for this part. The thin pins ensure your carpet is fixed in one spot. Take appropriate measurements of your stairs beforehand to avoid any tears on your carpet.

The bottom step is an ideal spot to lay down your first strip. You can gradually move up from there. Make sure to nail down at least two strips on one step.


Do not add too many tack strips to your carpet. It will end up with holes and tears!

How to Maintain a Runner Over the Carpeted Stairs?

As I’ve mentioned above, the runners over the carpet stairs are better to put for a short period. In this case, you don’t need to care about its maintenance. The only thing you should do is to vacuum it once a day.

Vacuuming Stairs

But if you feel, that you need a runner over the carpeted stairs for a long time, you should know how to maintain it. It’s quite a challenging task to care about two carpet items one over another as dirt and moisture can be piling up between them. No need to say, that in a month or two you’ll have mold and mildew between the runner and the carpet on the stairs. Carpet bugs can also settle between these two items. So, study my recommendations carefully and use them permanently to keep a runner and a carpet clean.

Recommendations to Clean the Runner over the Carpeted Stairs

1. Read carefully the cleaning instructions at a care tag of the runner and fulfill them properly

2. In the case of a permanent runner over the carpet stairs, prevention from getting dirt plays a key role. The cleaning process of two carpets simultaneously is very complicated, so avoid getting them dusty. Never step a runner in the street shoes. Offer your guests home slippers instead of street shoes immediately after they have entered your house.  

3. Get the dirt away from the runner immediately after it had fallen on it. You can use either broom or a hoover.

4. Get a powerful vacuum cleaner to make your dry cleaning process more effective.

5. Do a wet cleaning once a year. To get the runner clean, it is better to remove it from the carpeted stairs and clean it separately. You make take it to a carpet cleaning company or do it yourself. In the second case make sure that you’ve chosen the chemicals right. 

6. Make sure, you’ve dried away the runner carefully. Otherwise, the mold will immediately occupy its place between the runner and the carpet on the stairs.

7. Install the runner again. Re-read my tips above, on how to do it in a fast and easy way.

8. If you want to keep a runner over the carpeted stairs permanently, just change it from time to time. As for the temporary runner, I’ve advised you to use the one made of vinyl. For permanent runners, you may consider other materials, like wool, viscose, or cotton. For cheaper options, choose synthetic materials, like olefin or nylon.

Should I Place the Runner over the Carpeted Stairs in the Office?

Just like at home, in the office such a “construction” may be dangerous. The carpeted stairs are too soft to serve as a reliable base to install the runner. In this case, the runner can slip under visitors’ feet causing accidents. Otherwise, if the runner is installed too sturdy, it may damage the floor surface under it.

stairs office

At the same time, I know that some office managers use the runner over the carpeted stairs. They do it to decorate the entryway in their office. The soft patterned runner over the carpeted stairs looks impressive. Besides, the runner adds some homelike cozy feeling to the strict office ambiance. 

If you’ve decided that the advantages of the runner over the carpeting outweigh its drawbacks, then get it. But I recommend you hire a professional to fix it sturdy enough. Thus, you can be sure, that it is secure for your employers and visitors to walk up and down it.

I recommend you to get a durable runner from nylon or wool and not to change it too often. Besides, vacuum it every single day to prevent the dirt from grounding in the runner’s fabric.


We’ve looked at 5 Pro Tips on how to install a runner over carpeted stairs. These included installing a low-pile carpet, adding a thin underlayment, keeping it for a short period, using a vinyl runner, and using tack strips.

Besides, I’ve shared my recommendations on how to clean the runner over the carpeted stairs correctly. The main thing you need for it is a powerful vacuum cleaner.

If you’re wondering about how to make your carpet look more fluffy, check out our post about how to fluff up your carpet.

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Is your flat and matted carpet bothering you? Find out how to make it good as new with these quick and neat tricks!

Nancy Adams

I am a fan of home decor, I devote all my free time to this activity. One of the most important components of home comfort is carpets & rugs and at the same time, it is one of the poorly covered topics on the Internet. Therefore, I decided to share my experience and knowledge in this niche.

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