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Flooring and Carpeting/Installing carpet runner


QUESTION: I read your carpet runner Q and A on line on installing over existing carpet. Both helpful and discouraging in my case. I have a 5the wheel trailer that I stay in for a period of time over the winter to get away from the cold and snow of the Pacific Northwest. My Siamese cat has decided to turn the edge of on of the two stairs in to his scratching post thus working all of the way down to the backing. They are pretty narrow stairs will low profile/nap carpet. Average quality carpet. It appears to be a pr-assembled unit and would be difficult at best to get out but only option to re-cover the 7 pieces. What if I were to cut the carpet down already (top step 23" exactly, bottom step a bit wider),re-tack the edges of the lower step, and tack the runner down directly to the exposed wood sub floor? I just want to re-do the two horizontal surfaces, coming down across the mid riser. May sound a bot unorthodox, just looking for a solution that will work and reduce some time. Cost not a huge issue. Thanks for your time and knowledge. Anticipation your thoughts.

ANSWER: I'm not sure if I am clear on what you want to do. You say that there are two steps but you need to recover 7 pieces? Do you mean by "pre assembled unit that the carpet has attached pad or do you mean that the steps look like they were installed with the carpet already attached?
Is there pad under the carpet?

In general when repairing a damaged area of stair runner, you can cut off the damaged portion if the narrower width that is left is still wide enough to use as a runner. You can staple carpet directly to the wood step. You said something about seeing an old answer of mine about installing over existing carpet. You can put carpet over another IF the old is a short flat pile and is secured well and you use long enough staples. Whatever repair you have in mind please make sure that it is well secured or someone could slip and fall down the stairs.  

If you'd like you can send me a photo(s) of your project.


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QUESTION: Should have been a little clearer. As you can see from the attached image, three steps. two with carpet and the third laminate into the kitchen or bath, depending on your direction. Two horizontal carpeted steps, three risers and two side kick panels, all carpeted. But as mentioned, it looks to me as they assembled the unit, for the most part, and slide in place. Can kind of see how attached but I am sure they have a process which makes it simple for the manufacture, but tough later after plumbing, electrical, duct work and the like goes in. I did locate two screws on the larger carpeted step, could kind of look at the under belly and it appears to be attached mainly below.

Hope this helps, and thank you. Won't be a pain, just looking for ideas and possible solutions. But if it is of any help, it is very low pile with little if any padding. I would estimate from the top of the pile to the sub floor is less than 1/2 inch.

Thanks for the photo. As they say a picture is worth a thousand words! Anyway, it looks like the cat damaged the carpet on the bullnose, left side, of the top carpeted step. What you have is a not a runner but an upholstered install. Yes, they may have done that prior to sliding in the stairs. You would be able to tell if you removed the carpet. If they slid it in with the carpet attached there would have to be a space between the riser and where it meets the wall (such as just under & to the left of the frayed area) due to the carpet's thickness. If the riser material itself immediately butts to the wall then it was upholstered in place.

As far as repair, if you cut it down in width (23") then you will have one step as a runner and the other upholstered. Yes, you can also cut the larger step in width to match. Both steps will look lopsided unless you trim on both sides, left and right. But then you will have the middle riser that is wall to wall, so it may look funny unless you trim that also to runner width. And what would you do with the exposed sub-floor? Unless that is a finished wood, it may look worse then the way it looks now.

While this is not a high pile carpet, I would not put another carpet on top. There will not be enough of a firm foundation to support the new carpet. You will end up breaking the backing of the new carpet and end up with ripples.

The best repair is to use a scrap piece of the carpet and replace the second tread.
But since I'm pretty sure you have no scrap, the only other alternative is to remove all the carpet and replace with new. Save the pieces and mark them on the back as to their location. Then use these as a template to cut the new carpet pieces and then staple into place. You will not need much carpet, so the cost here would be minimal, but it will be more labor intensive, as you will also need to cut the old carpet to get out some of the pieces.  

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R Adams


Certified Installer 1966-1976, Certified Carpet Cleaning Instructor 1976-1985, Certified Commercial and Residential Floor Inspector since 1985 is available to answer questions on problems with carpet or other flooring, and carpet cleaning. I can guide you as to whether you may have a valid claim against a manufacturer/installer/dealer/cleaning company.


Floor covering Installer 1966-1976 Carpet Cleaning Instructor 1976-1985 Floor Covering Inspector 1985- present

Floor Covering Inspector Training School; FCITS Floor Covering Inspection Technical Services; FITS Certified Claims Inspectors Association; CCIA

Hartford Courant

B.S. Chemistry 1971 A.S. Physical Science 1969 Armstrong Certified Installer 1972 3M Certified Carpet Cleaning Specialist 1976 FCITS Certified in Carpet and Hard Surface, Commercial and Residential

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