Carpeting Stairs: Interview With an Expert

Steve Palmer, of Floorcraft, in Peterborough, started his working life in 1966 as an apprentice cabinet-maker in the local home furniture store.

After 24 months, however, the company gave up the manufacture of bespoke furniture and rather than changing firms he transferred to the upholstery department.

As carpet was classed as fabric, he managed to get on to a fitting team and has enjoyed working with carpets ever since. Steve is now something of a carpet specialist.

He spends most of his time now in the office estimating and organising the fitters.

Here he offers his advice on the dos and don’ts of carpeting your stairs.

Q: What kinds of carpets and rugs do you sell?

A: Any and all sorts. Everything at the moment seems to be beige, fawn, taupe, string type colours.

Q: Which stair carpets seem to be particularly “trendy” at the moment?

A: Stripy carpets are currently very much in fashion!

Q: Which types of carpet are particularly suitable for stairs?

A: There are definitely some carpets that are much better for stairs than others. Visit your local carpet store and ask them to show you their ranges that are Suitable Carpets. Some of the cheaper types of carpet may not be suitable – but again ask their advice and make sure they are experienced enough to fit them properly.

Q: Which are unsuitable – and why?

A: Well some are unsuitable so it’s important to get the right advice. Some carpets are not good enough quality others may be too slippery under foot.

For example, I would never advise the fitting of seagrass to stairs. If it is fitted in the length, it is as slippery as ice and if fitted in the width it lasts as long as ice cream in a hothouse.

Stair carpet

Carpets & Flooring at John Lewis & Partners

All kinds of floor coverings including carpet, wood & laminates as well as an extensive choice of rugs

Q: How should people measure their stairs before ordering from you?

A: Very carefully! It’s vital that you do this properly. Use the phone to give your measurements as almost all estimates are free. Most good carpet companies will come and do their own measuring before fitting.

Q: Can home owners lay stair carpets themselves? If so, are their any special techniques?

A: Of course they can but it is a long way to the bottom so be very careful indeed. Why would you risk the possibility of a serious accident for the sake of the cost of a professional fitter?

For preference I would always recommend that you have someone who is NIFC registered. Would you have your house rewired by a unqualified electrician?

A professional fitter will make a much better job of it than someone who does not know what they are doing.

Q: Finally, what other advice do you give customers before they buy a new stair carpet?

A: Don’t rush in and buy a carpet without thinking. Make sure you use a reputable business and get good references from friends. I would always advise people to go to a good, local, established firm and to keep away from the sheds and anyone who does not seem to know what they are doing.

See Also
Stair Carpet
Choose a Carpet for Your Stairs
How Much Should Your Spend on Flooring?