Do you hear the pitter-patter of little feet or the sound of “running of the bulls” when the kids are tearing up and down the stairs? What about the click, click, click of the dog’s paws chasing the kids? Having carpet on the stairs is a definite plus to turning down the volume or even eliminating sound altogether. If the noise drives you to distraction, perhaps it is time to carpet the stairs. There are other reasons to carpet stairs like safety and even the aesthetics of a nicely done staircase.
Choosing a carpet for stairs takes some extra consideration. Stairs tend to have the most foot traffic than other areas of a home. Plus, the carpet must be able to be stretched over each stair as well as the end of the stair if the staircase is open at one end. It becomes even more difficult if there are spindles at that open end. Because it is such a high traffic area, the need to consider durability and stain resistance is as important as choosing a style and colour. Also, examine the quality and type of both the underlay and the carpet.
For stairs, the underlay should not be thick and spongy, but thin and firm. It should be no more than 3/8” thick. A thin cushion will hold up better and make the surface more stable. Choose a high-grade pad with 8 pounds density to extend the life of the carpet on the stairs. On the same note, the carpet should have a low pile of ¾” or less to be stable and resilient. A higher pile will wear down much faster. Synthetic nylon is usually a good choice for stairs as it is durable, stain-resistant and safe. Synthetic carpets typically cost less than those made from natural fibres. In fact, it might be wise to consider industrial-grade carpet for stairs since it is created to stand up to high traffic. There is also a choice of carpet that is “stair specific”. Another label to look for is “heavy domestic” or “extra heavy domestic”. Carpet that is too thick can create a safety hazard as it can lead to slips and falls. Wool is a consideration as it is naturally fire-retardant, an integral insulation factor, and is stain resistant. Wool is often used in high traffic commercial areas, so it should stand up to a busy residential staircase. Blended fibres, 80% wool and 20% synthetic, combine resilience and warmth, which makes it a popular selection as well.
When checking for durability, there are a few factors to consider. The first is “carpet density”. A higher density value indicates a more durable carpet. The type of fibre the carpet is made from has a big impact on the quality of the rug. Different fibres have varied characteristics, and some fibres work better in certain situations. Popular synthetic fibres are nylon, triexta, polyester and olefin. Natural fibres are not always the top choice for stairs. If a client would like natural fibres, designers recommend wool or using a blend, as suggested above.
Stain and soil resistance is also a major consideration when choosing a carpet for stairs. Since it is a high traffic area, stairs tend to become soiled more quickly than other carpeted areas. Of course, pets and kids increase the soil factor a lot. Choose a carpet that is considered soil-resistant.
The colour of the carpet impacts longevity. A lighter colour will show soil and stains, and a dark colour highlights dust and dander. Mid-tone colours work best for this application as they are the most forgiving. An appropriate pattern tends to camouflage some of the wear and tear on the carpet. However, a pattern must be easy to match on the stairs. Geometrics, for example, would be difficult to install. However, something less structured could be just the right selection.
It is always best to get the input of a professional, for selection and for installation. The experts at Calgary’s Home Flooring would be happy to assist you. Call us at 403-984-4100 or email us at [email protected] .