Installing Carpet Tiles on Stairs (and Doing it Right the First Time)

by on November 14th, 2010
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Carpet tiles are very easy to install. Save money on padding and time on stretching carpet material over it. Instead, padding is already part of the floor tile’s makeup. Since these floor tiles are usually self-adhesive, installing carpet tiles on stairs should be simple — if the stairs are ready.

Decide first: Are carpet tiles the right choice for your home?

Wildly popular tongue-in-groove flooring covers a multitude of flooring irregularities, but carpet tiles do not. If your steps are uneven, bumpy or have been subjected to some abuse, you must prepare the areas first. Consider carefully if this added work adds too much time and money to your overall project.

Prep work: Before installing carpet tiles on your stairs

Having decided in favor of carpet tiles, go ahead and rip out any carpeting and padding. Remove the staples or glue that held them in place. Consider sanding the steps for good measure. Vacuum the steps and wet-mop the steps at least twice, so as to remove all dust. Just like paint applied to drywall dust will peel, tiles applied to dusty surfaces also fail to adhere as intended. This can result in moving tiles, which separate from steps or risers.

Tools needed

Carpet knife and replacement blades Metal edge to guide the blade Large stone tile to serve as a cutting surface Measuring tape, pencil and paper

How to install carpet tiles on stairs

Measure the width and depth of all steps; measure the height of each step. Sketch the stairs and write in the individual measurements. It is normal to have some variances in these figures. Cut the carpet tiles on the stone tile to fit in place. Number the tiles on the back by writing the step number on the peel-off backing to the adhesive. Identify riser pieces and step pieces. Position the cut carpet tiles on the steps, with the cut edge facing the riser. (If you plan on adding stair noses, go ahead and let the nice edge face the riser instead.) Do they fit snugly in place? Peel off the backing and affix the carpet tiles to the steps. Press down evenly.


FLOR, the manufacturer of a popular tile product, warns that concrete floors must be sealed “with a non-solvent based sealer” before installing carpet tiles. Additionally, do not plan on using the carpet steamer for cleaning the tiles; doing so may destroy the adhesive backing.


FLOR, “All Together Now With FLOR”

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