Is This Good Carpet For My Stairs?

Today Camille writes:

Hello, I am purchasing a remnant of Shaw carpeting from a local carpet store (to be installed by them) for the stairs from my main to second floor. I have never purchased carpet and I am a bit confused regarding proper type. The carpet is synthetic – polyester and a Texture with a slight Frieze in style It is a medium to medium high thickness. Is this a good carpet for my stairs? I live alone with a westie terrier. In other words no kids or elderly folks.

Camille, thank you for providing all of the information needed to assess your carpet choice! That makes my job so much easier! Choosing the best carpet for stairs is never easy, especially if it is your first time. I am speaking from experience here, because the first carpet I ever selected was a terrible choice! But that’s because I knew nothing about carpeting and went strictly by price and color. The carpet I picked out was very thin and because of this, it looked terrible on the stairs. You, however, have made a great choice of carpeting for the stairs. Here’s what you did right:

First of all, you picked a carpet fiber that is a good fit compared to the amount of traffic in your home. Because you don’t have a busy household, polyester is a great choice. It allows you to get the most bang out of your buck and should hold up nicely for many years to come. And if there were any pet accidents on the carpet from your westie terrier, it would be easy to clean up and is less likely to stain.

Good Carpet For My Stairs
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Second, the style of the carpet is perfect for the traffic on the stairs. The texture style with a slight frieze, and will hold up nicely in traffic areas. This is because both elements will help keep the carpet from matting down. Frieze carpet in particular, is great for this because you aren’t walking on the tips of the strands, rather the sides. Texture carpets are also better for stairs because they don’t have a uniform appearance. This helps to camouflage wear patterns.

And lastly, you picked a thickness that will hold up on the stairs and shouldn’t show the backing where it bends over the edge of a step. This is the most common mistake people make when picking out carpets. They think they need a thin carpet to bend around the steps, but in reality, all this does is make it easier for the carpet to get matted down and show wear. So by picking a carpeting in the medium density range, you are making sure that it will “stand” up to use and not mat down.

Camille you’ve already chosen a good carpet. However if you were still in the market for new carpeting here’s a tip I would have suggested:


Thin Carpet
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Take a sample of the carpet or a corner of the actual remnant and bend it at almost a 90 degree angle. Be aware that the sample will be harder to bend if it has a labeling piece of paper glued to the backing. Don’t try to fold the carpet over like a piece of paper, because you don’t want to crack the backing. You just want to simulate what it would look like on a step. Once you’ve bent it the correct amount, look to see how much of the backing shows.

I’ve included images of what a good and bad carpet will look like bent over the edge of a step. The first photo is of a carpet that would be a great choice for stairs.  You can hardly see any backing material at all. The carpet fibers fan out slightly, but you would have to push fibers aside to see the actual backing material.

The second photo is of a carpet that is very thin. You can easily see the line of backing where the carpet is bent. You want to avoid getting a carpet like this as much as possible. Not only will the carpet mat down quicker, but you will be stuck looking at the exposed backing every time you walk up the stairs. This probably won’t bother you as much as it did me, but just in case, I thought it was worth mentioning!

Choosing the right carpet for stairs doesn’t have to be a daunting process. You’ve just got to arm yourself with a trick or two before going to the carpeting store. Then you’ll be better equipped to pick out something that will hold up to everything your household can dish out.

Do you have questions about the selecting or the installation of: tile, carpet or wall treatments (window blinds, etc)? Then email me your tale of woe(diva(at) and perhaps I will be able to answer your questions right here at the Home Makeover Diva Blog.