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Install a Stair Runner


Install a Stair Runner

We’re famous for our stylish stair runners, and we guarantee that a Dash & Albert runner rug will smarten up any staircase. We recommend you work with a professional for all stair runner rugs, as this is not a DIY process. Below, you’ll find our documented process to show what’s involved on a level staircase without a landing.

What You’ll Need:

Dash & Albert stair runner(s) of your choice • 2’x8’ Rug pads  Pencil/Marker • Fabric scissors • Tape measure • Straight edge (like a yard stick) • Double-stick carpet tape • Staple gun with ⅜” - ½” staples • Bolster chisel 


Step 1

To estimate how long a runner you’ll need, have your installer measure the depth of the stair tread and the height of the riser. Multiply the total by the number of stairs to determine your total runner length.

Step 2

Tip: When we install a runner at our studio, we measure the width of the treads from end to end, or from end to banisters, and mark the middle with a pencil.

Step 1-2

Step 3

Next, we create individual rug pads for each stair tread by fitting the top edge of the pad against the back of the tread and gently straightening it.

Step 4

Then mark the cut line on the pad about .5 inches from the front of the stair tread. (The runner will be slightly wider than the rug pad, so that the edges of the rug pad don’t peek out from underneath.) We cut each rug pad along the line with fabric scissors.

Step 5

We use double-stick carpet tape to fit the two outer edges and the middle of each rug pad tread cover as shown.

Step 5

Step 6

Next, we fold the cut rug pads in half, preferably tape side out, to find the center and place the rug pads, tape side down, onto each tread, aligning their center fold with the pencil marks in the middle of each tread. Then smooth out any bubbles.

Step 6

Step 7

Subtract the width of the runner from the width of the stair treads to determine the amount of space to leave on each side of the runner, marking these points to use as a guide. As we install the runner, we will periodically check this measurement to ensure that the runner remains straight all the way down.

Step 7

Step 8

Align the top of the runner with the bottom edge of the first tread. This creates a cleaner, less bulky look than going all the way over the top of the first tread, and eliminates “floating” pieces at the top of the stairs.

Step 9

Using a pneumatic staple gun, staple the runner in place at its top edge, approximately every 3 inches. Be sure to include staples on both of the outer edges.

Step 10

Use a bolster chisel to pull the runnertaut against the corner of the riser and the next tread and staple against the bottom of the riser approximately every 3 inches, including both of the outer edges. If you’re using a striped runner, we also step back and check to make sure the stripes are straight before moving on.

Step 11

For a “waterfall-style” installation, which is a bit easier, simply pull the loose end of the runner over the edge of the next stair tread and repeat step 10.

Step 12

For stair treads that have bullnoses, we also use a “wrap-style” installation, which involves pulling the loose end of the runner over the edge of the tread and using the bolster chisel to pull it taut around the bullnose. Then we staple underneath the bullnose against the riser approximately every 3 inches, including both the outer edges.

Step 12

Step 13

Repeat the process, until nearing the end of the first runner. Leaving about a 2-inch piece for overlap, we cut off any remnant of the runner, including the finished edge, to reduce bulk.

Step 13

Step 14

Overlap the 2-inch scrap of runner with the second runner, being careful to align the outer edges of the runners.

Step 15

Resume the stapling process again.

Step 15

Step 16

When you reach the bottom stair, pull the runner taut against the bottom riser with the bolster chisel, then measure an extra 2 inches of runner. Mark, and cut with fabric scissors.

Step 16

Step 17

Then we fold under the extra 2 inches of runner, and staple the double layer of fabric against the bottom of the riser, approximately 3 inches apart, including both the outer edges.

Step 17

Check out the finished looks below!

Runner Rug Styles

The DOs and DON’Ts of stair runner installations:

  • DO measure your stairs—or have an installer measure your stairs—to determine how many stair runner rugs to order.

  • DO choose a runner rug that’s appropriate for stairs. Micro hooked wool rugs are the best construction for stairs, in part because these rugs have a built-in cotton canvas backing. Many people use and love our cotton, wool, and sisal runners for stairs, but over time, these rugs may stretch. For Custom Rugs, we recommend using wool and sisal only. Jute, , and indoor/outdoor polypropylene runners are not recommended for stairs.

  • DO use a rug pad.

  • DO order consistent lengths. If you need 20 feet worth of coverage, please order two 12-foot runners – as opposed to an 8-foot runner and a 12-foot runner. Our rugs are handmade, and the different length rugs are made on different looms. Ordering the same lengths will help with pattern matching. You should also have your installer confirm the patterns line up before installing.

  • DO order a swatch. Consider the swatch both from the bottom of the staircase and from the top, looking down. High contrast patterns – like navy and white stripes – may cause dizziness.

  • DO call our Berkshires-based customer service team if you have questions. We’re here to help. 877-586-4771.

  • DON’T Use horizontal stripes on stairs. Trust us: The pattern won’t be consistent, and the results won’t look polished.


We believe that every staircase can benefit from a beautiful Dash & Albert stair runner. Stair runners actually protect your wooden
stair treads against daily wear and tear from foot traffic and pet paws. Plus, a bit of color never hurts!

Shop Stair Runners →