Installing carpet on your stairs is a great idea for both style and safety reasons. Not only can you choose a color to add depth to your overall look, but the carpet provides tread that hard surfaces lack. Like with any home improvement project, though, installing carpet is an investment. You want to be sure that the benefits of doing so outweigh the cost. So, exactly how long does carpeting last when it's installed on stairs? We have done the research to help you answer that question.
Carpet on stairs lasts an average of 7 to 10 years. Nylon, one of the most popular carpet materials for stairs, can last anywhere from 5-15 years. Not all carpets or households are created equal though, and the following factors will have an impact on how long your carpet lasts:
- Quality and material
- Residents in home
- Foot traffic
- Maintenance and upkeep
We will discuss each of these factors to help you determine how long you can expect your carpet to last in your home. We'll also discuss how to fix worn carpet, the advantages and disadvantages of carpeted stairs, and more. So be sure to keep reading.
Life Expectancy Factors
Quality And Material of Carpet
You can ensure that your carpet will last longer by purchasing one that is high-quality and made to be installed on stairs. A low pile carpet, with twisted or cut fibers, is ideal for stairs. The thickness of the carpet and padding should be less than 1/2" thick. These characteristics ensure that the carpet lays correctly on the stairs and provides a safer tread.
Residents In The Home
The number of residents, as well as who they are, will have an impact on how long your carpets will last on the stairs. A small household containing just an adult couple can look forward to carpets lasting longer. There will be less foot traffic on the stairs, as well as a decreased need for maintenance.
Alternatively, larger households, and those including children and pets, will likely need to replace their carpet more often. Spills and accidents are more likely to occur, requiring more cleaning. Rips and tears are also more likely to occur if pets are climbing up and down the stairs multiple times per day.
Foot traffic plays a large part in how long the carpet on stairs will last. In freshly installed carpet, fibers are resilient and able to bounce back after being walked on. Over time, though, the fibers remain compressed, resulting in a worn look. Routine foot traffic also results in staining over time as dirt and debris are tracked onto the carpet.
Consistent cleaning maintenance will prevent this from happening too quickly, but a dullened carpet due to normal wear and tear is inevitable and a good sign that the carpet needs to be replaced.
Maintenance And Upkeep
Consistent maintenance can help keep your carpet in its best shape. However, even constant cleaning can play a part in degrading the quality of the carpet. Vigorous scrubbing can cause the fibers to become damaged and weak, and cause them to fray. Cleaners containing harsh chemicals can cause fibers to erode and become damaged too.
Don't let this discourage you from cleaning your carpets, though. Quickly removing stains and cleaning your carpets with a gentle cleanser on a regular basis will help keep your carpets looking fresh and clean. While your carpets will still eventually become dull and worn, regular cleaning could mean that this will occur in 15 years rather than just 5.
What Is The Most Durable Carpet For Stairs?
One of the most durable materials for carpets on stairs in nylon. A durable material, nylon is able to withstand heavy traffic. Nylon carpets also tend to be made more stain-resistant than other materials.
How Do You Fix Worn Carpet On Stairs?
Carpet installation can be very expensive, so fixing small areas of carpet rather than replacing all of it is ideal. If you have some carpet left from your installation, you can create a patch out of it and replace just the area that is worn. If you didn't save the remnants, this method is trickier but not impossible.
You can either check with the retailer where you purchased your carpet to see if there are remnants available for purchase, or you can pull up some carpet from a hidden area of your home to use as a patch.
Check out this Youtube video for a helpful guide on patching your carpeted stairs:
Another method requires a bit more skill and works best on staircases that have one large piece of carpeting rather than several smaller pieces placed together. You can remove the carpet from the stairs and reverse it before re-installing it. This way, the part of the carpet that was at the top of the stairs will now be on the bottom and the part that was on the bottom of the stairs will now be on the top. If the piece of carpet is large enough, you can cut out some of the more worn pieces or tailor the carpet so that they are more hidden.
If you are installing carpet on your stairs for the first time, it is highly recommended that you prepare for future repairs ahead of time. You can save remnants of the carpet after installation or you can cut and tuck the carpet in a way that allows you to make modifications to it when small areas need to be repaired.
If you are attempting your own repair or removal of carpet, check out our article about How To Remove Carpet From Stairs.
Should You Carpet Your Stairs?
Many people prefer carpet on their stairs for a number of reasons. Available in many colors, materials, and styles, carpet is attractive and provides another opportunity to include the stairs in your home's overall design. Carpet also provides more comfort than other types of flooring and can better absorb the noise of people going up and down the stairs. Finally, carpet can be safer than other types of flooring because it provides traction and absorbs liquid from spills.
If you have hardwood floors in your home, however, carpet might not be the best choice for your stairs. While carpet is attractive and can complement your hardwood, you may not want to cover up the natural beauty of your stairs. The carpet installation will also damage the hardwood that is underneath since you will have to either apply carpet adhesive or nail the carpet to the floor.
So, to put it simply, there's no right or wrong answer to whether or not you should carpet your stairs. Do what fits your vision and budget the best.
What Is The Best Color Carpet For Stairs?
Since choosing a color for stairs requires you to ensure that the color matches the floors, neutral colors are a great choice. Neutral colors can be easily added to your home's design without clashing with the floor's color scheme.
If you have a large household or don't have the time to dedicate to regular carpet cleaning, consider a dark color. Darker colors hide dirt and stains better than lighter colors so they won't be as noticeable.
For more color inspiration for your stairs, check out Should Stairs Be Darker Than The Floors?
While carpets can have a life expectancy of as low as five years up to as many as 15-25 years, there are many factors that determine how long your carpet will actually last. The amount of use, how often it is soiled and stained, and the quality of the carpet are just some of many variables. Luckily, you are in control of your carpet's life expectancy. Investing in a higher quality carpet in the beginning and taking the time to maintain the carpet properly can mean more years before having to replace it again.
For more information about specific types of carpet and how long they last in other areas of the home, read How Long Does Carpet Last? [Including Specific Carpet Types].