Here’s How Long It Takes To Carpet A Flight Of Stairs

Planning a home renovation is never easy, especially when it comes to matters of time estimates. Even something as simple as carpeting a flight of stairs can take a huge chunk of time, depending on your skill level. If you need to determine the amount of time to install stair carpeting, you definitely have your work cut out for you. We've researched the process, along with the materials and techniques involved, to determine just how long this project takes.

A professional carpet layer can finish a single step in two minutes on average. If you are going through a DIY route, you should expect carpeting to take anywhere from six to ten minutes per step. For a full flight of 10 steps, this means you should expect to take 20-minutes to 100-minutes. 

Skill level alone doesn't fully explain what you need to know. Techniques and materials make a difference, and if you're pressed for time, it's important to understand what to expect. So, let's start talking about it!

Interior design of a first floor staircase and stairwell of a luxury home, Here's How Long It Takes To Carpet A Flight Of Stairs

The Time It Takes Per Step, By Material

French bulldog resting on stairs indoors

When you look at how people calculate stair installation time, the material has little to do with it. This is because the technique tends to be the bigger factor when it comes to timing. This is not the case with carpeting stairs. Material matters here because longer carpet fibers can take longer to install, simply because it has a lot more work associated with cutting it and gluing it properly. Here's what you need to know about the most common carpeting materials for stairs.

Low Pile

Low pile remains one of the most durable carpet types out there, not to mention one of the easiest to cut. As a result, most people will find this to be the fastest carpet to install. DIYers might be able to do this at three minutes per stair, while professionals can usually do it in under two minutes.

Cut Pile, Loop Pile, Medium Pile, And Berber

These are all considered to be "mid-range" carpet piles in terms of both thickness and height. The good news about these carpets is that they show fewer installation flaws when finished. They do, however, take a little longer to cut. Still, the times are fairly comparable. The DIY installation will happen at three to four minutes per stair. Professionals can still lay medium piles within two minutes.

Shag And High-Pile

When you're working with material-heavy carpets, you will have a hard time cutting through the carpeting with ease. This can make installation difficult and eat up your time. This can lead to higher installation times. DIYers can lay high piles within six to ten minutes per stair, while professionals may need up to three minutes per stair. 

The Time It Takes Per Step, By Technique

French bulldog resting on stairs indoors

The technique is what tends to matter the most when you are carpeting your stairs. The most common methods are the waterfall method, stapling panels, and the cap-and-band method. Below is what you need to know about each type of carpet installation technique.

What Is Waterfall Carpet Installation On Stairs?

Waterfall installation uses a single roll of carpeting cut to the stairs' width for a stair installation. To do this, you will start at the bottom of the stairs and install each step individually, by stapling or gluing, at the bottom of each step. This only works if you don't have risers that extend past the edge of your step. 

The waterfall technique is the fastest way to install full carpeting on stairs. This will take two minutes per step or less for pros, while it will take typical DIYers around three minutes. 

What Is Carpet Panel Stapling Installation On Stairs?

Let's say that you don't want to have your steps fully carpeted. Maybe you just want a little cushioning on the center instead. If you get small carpet panels, you can just staple or glue them in place. This is the fastest carpet installation method out there, though it doesn't offer full coverage. It should only take a minute per stair for both DIY and professional installers.

Click here to get carpet step panels on Amazon. 

What Is Cap-And-Band Carpet Installation On Stairs?

Cap-and-band installation takes slightly more time than the other methods we mentioned and works well with all types of stairs. This involves making two cuts per step: one for the riser and one for the rest of the step. The primary portion of the step is installed flush with the tread and then folds over the nose of the stair. The riser piece covers the riser. 

This is a more painstaking method. Most installers will be able to do this within two to three minutes for most carpet types. DIYers may need six to ten minutes per step, simply due to the extra cutting. The payoff, though, is a cleaner look to your stairs. 

Important Questions To Know When Planning A Stair Carpet Installation

While it's good to know the installation's timing, there are still other aspects you have to take into account. This includes things like the price of carpeting, where you can get a professional to install your carpet, and more. Let's take a look at some of the more pressing questions.

How Long Does It Take To Order Carpeting?

This all depends on where you're getting the carpeting from. It's possible to get carpet panels for stairs with same-day delivery. Most other types of carpeting may take a bit longer. If you're in a serious rush, you might want to go to a big box store like Home Depot. The majority of these stores have sections of carpet available for purchase and delivery within seven days.

Do You Need Carpet Padding On Stairs?

Carpet padding is not exactly necessary, but it's highly advisable. Using padding will help mute the sound of footsteps walking down the stairs, and can also help extend the life of your carpeting. It's a good investment if you want to make sure your carpeting stays soft and plush for years to come.

If you want to keep your warranty on the carpet intact, you should get padding for your stairs. Many carpet companies will void a warranty if no carpet padding is installed underneath.

Click here to get this rug pad from Amazon.

Does Home Depot Install Carpeting?

People who want to cut costs on carpet installation should strongly consider going to Home Depot for their needs. Home Depot is one of the only big box stores to offer free installation. They also are fairly reasonable when it comes to removing carpets from stairs if you don't want to do it yourself.

Does Lowe's Install Carpeting?

Like its competitor, Home Depot, Lowe's also offers free carpet installation. However, there's a catch. Lowe's only offers free installation on STAINMASTER® carpets and padding bought inside the store. And, depending on the store's policy, you might have to buy both to get the freebies.

How Difficult Is Carpet Installation On Stairs?

If you're nervous about doing your own installation, don't be. Most people who are used to DIY projects will find this to be a fairly simple project that takes a couple of hours to a day of work to complete. If you have the right tools for the job, there's no reason why you should ask a professional to install it unless you're pressed for time. 

The cool thing about carpeting is that the plush fibers help hide issues that would be blatantly apparent otherwise. So while it's important to get the cuts reasonably correct, they don't have to be perfect. So, this makes it an okay project for amateurs.


Adding some carpeting to your stairs is a great way to cushion your feet, improve your stairs' overall safety, add some style, and decrease the noise levels in your home. It's little wonder why so many people want to add carpeting to their stairs, even if it's just a little panel on each step. 

Of course, timing things out tends to be a hassle. Most professional carpet installers will be able to cover a flight of stairs within a couple of hours, or even under an hour. If you choose to do it yourself, it could take several hours to do. Regardless of which path you choose, you shouldn't expect it to take too long. It's a great way to improve your home without investing too much time. 


One comment

  1. It would be hour/s depend upon the length of the stairs. For an easy installation, it would be better to hire a pro to save money and time. If you DIY the installation, it might consume your whole day and mistakes can happen. So, have your carpet perfectly fitted by a carpet pro!

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