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Flooring and Carpeting/Transition between two carpets at top of stairs.


I'm carpeting a stairway and at the top of the stairs, the upstairs hallway has an existing, different carpet. Where is the best place to have the seam (transition) between the two carpets? My wife and I cannot seem to agree on what is the best option. The options that seem to make sense are:
a) Have the stairway carpet end under the lip of the top step, so that the upstairs hall carpet covers the lip of the top step.  With this option the hallway carpet has a uniform appearance, but when you are climbing the stairs, you see this one odd color on the lip of the top step.
b) Have the stairway carpet go over the lip of the top step, so that the seam is, technically, in the upstairs hall at the point where the stairs go down.  With this option, everything seems uniform as you are going up the stairs, but when you are in the upstairs hall you see this change in carpet color at the entrance to the stairway.
c) Run the stairway carpet into the hall for a short distance. This exacerbates the issues with option b).

Can you let me know what's the best way to do this?

You want me got get between you and your wife ?  That can be dangerous !

Seriously, I will give you 2 "correct" options, and then the third which I used to avoid an argument with my wife.  Keep in mind that there may be no "correct" way to do this as there are many opinions on how things should be done. The ones below are what our training people teach.

(a) If there is no bullnose (overhang) at the top, the preferred method is to bring the hallway carpet down the top riser (vertical piece) and make the seam at the bottom, where the last tread (horizontal piece) and rise meet.

(b) If there is a bullnose on the top, the hall carpet is brought over the bullnose and the seam is made underneath, where the riser meets the top tread, as in your (b) above.  

(c) I didn't like either, so I added a wood tread at the top and solved both visual problems. It also avoided an argument.

Hope this helps !  

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Carey Mitchell


Any question regarding carpet, including specifications, maintenance, installation, regulation.


Retired after 44 years in carpet manufacture, technical and research. Served 33 years as Director of Technical Services for the world's largest carpet manufacturer.

The Carpet and Rug Institute, Technical Chair - 12 years; American Society for Testing and Materials (40 years); American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists (39 years); Society of Cleaning and Restoration (Board of Directors); US National Textile Research Consortium; Cleaning Industry Research Institute (Board of Directors and founder); Canadian General Standards Board Technical Advisory Committee; The Fiber Society; Alzheimer's Association of NW GA (Board of Directors); Trout Unlimited; Federation of Fly Fishermen

AATCC Review (Textile Chemist and Colorist Journal); Journal of the American Industrial Hygiene Association; International Journal of Flooring Sciences Cleaning Digest; Cleanfax Magazine; Floor Covering Weekly; Floor Covering News; Proceedings of the Technical Conference of the Polyurethane Association; Proceedings of the Symposium on the Science of Cleaning;

BS in Chemistry and Business Administration, University of North Georgia

Awards and Honors
Carpet and Rug Institute, Smrekar Award, 1998; Carpet Industry Leadership Award, 1994; Cleanfax Magazine Person of the Year, 1996; Cleaning Digest, person of the year, 1997; Institute of Inspections,Cleaning and Restoration Certifications award,1997; ISCT Lipscomb Award, 2004

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