People often have a stair runner for style: a way to elegantly cover their stairs while at the same time displaying beautiful hardwood stair treads (see figure). For others, the decision to cover the stairs stems from a fear of slipping on the smooth hardwood treads.
A variety of stair runners (photo courtesy of ShawIndustries)
A patterned stair runner can often add elegance to a home, especially for staircases that begin near the front door: a hardwood floor foyer can be enhanced by an elegant design rising gracefully to the second floor.
Our two favorite carpets for star runners are nylon Tuftex carpets by Shaw and wool carpets by Godfrey Hirst. Both of these carpets are very durable. Tuftex is made of high quality nylon, the most durable synthetic fiber. Wool is the most durable natural fiber.
Shaw purchased Tuftex a while back to enhance its elegant design line. And there are a number of beautiful Tuftex designs.
Wool carpets last a very long time, and they are naturally resistant to dirt. However, they are two or three times more expensive than nylon carpets. Tuftex carpets, with their elegant designs, can be a bit pricey as well, although they cost less than wool carpets. However, they are much better for stairs than the lessexpensive and lessdurable polyester carpets.
There are other nylon carpets that also work well for stairs and can fit the budget of almost anyone. And for those that fear slipping on hardwood treads, safety rather than appearance may be the most important consideration. For those people, an affordable nylon without a pattern may be the way to go.
While nylon and wool are the most common fibers to be used, there are more exotic options available. These include sisal, seagrass, or jute.
A stair runner requires a bound edge on each side to keep the carpet from fraying. Usually the carpet has to be sent somewhere to have the border sewn on. However, we have a carpet installer that has the required machine right on his truck, and that capability cuts down on lead time by two or three weeks.
There are several binding options: a basic canvas binding, a serged binding, or a wider border made of canvas, cotton, microfiber, or leather. The edges can also be turned under.
Some clients prefer to end the stair runner at the top riser, particularly if there is another carpet already in the upstairs hallway. Other clients, ones with a hardwood upper hallway, opt to continue the runner down the hallway.
Jim Fitzgerald is the director of marketing for Floor Coverings
International, Cincinnati East, Inc. If you live in the Cincinnati metro area and are looking for expert, unbiased help in choosing the type of flooring that is best for you, please call our 24hour appointment desk at 5137297499. If you are in another part of the country, there is probably a Floor Coverings International near you. Go here and click the Book today! button to find a location in your area.