waterfall vs. boxed

There are two basic methods of installing carpet on stairs: boxed and waterfall.

The waterfall method involves bringing the carpet over the edge of the tread and straight down the riser to meet the next tread. Without fastening it to the riser, it creates a waterfall effect. This commonly used method is simpler than the boxed style. This method is more appropriate for thicker carpets that are more difficult to wrap around the edge of the tread.



The boxed method involves wrapping the carpet around the edge of the tread, contouring the nosing to meet the riser. The carpet or runner gets stapled under the nose of the stair. It requires a bit more time than waterfall, but also provides a more tailored look.



carpeted or bare stringers

The stringers are the "sides" of the stairs. Some people prefer the look of carpeted stringers, others believe bare stringers have a more refined look. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference.

carpeted stringers

carpeted stringers


bare stringers

bare stringers

finished edge vs. full wrap

When considering the sides of your stairs' carpet, homeowners must decide between two distinctly different looks:

The finished edge leaves exposed wood at the sides of each step. Two distinctly finishing looks are available. Homeowners can choose between a bound edge and a surged one.


bound edge

a finished bound edge


surged edge


a finished surged edge


As an alternative to finishing the edge of your carpet, you may choose to wrap the carpet's edge. The carpet extends to the edge of the tread and is wrapped over the side of the tread. This way, the entire wooden tread is covered with carpet.



wrapped step

a wrapped step




wrapped through the baluster

a wrap through the baluster




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