Important Stair Terms To Know If Want To Install New Carpet On Your Stairs

12 July 2016
 Categories: , Blog

If you are tired of how your stairs look, and you want to install new carpet on your stairs, you need to brush up on your stair lingo. When you go shopping for new carpet, the salesperson may ask you to describe your stairs as may a contractor that you contact to install the carpet on your stairs. Here are some stair terms that you'll need to know so you can effectively describe your stairs and communicate with the sales person and contractor you'll work with to have new carpet installed on your stairs.

The Three Basic Stair Terms

The three most basic terms you need to know are tread, riser and nosing.


The tread is the flat surface of your stairs that you step on every time you use them.


The riser is the vertical part of your stairs that goes up and meets the tread above it. Essentially, your stairs are composed of a series of risers and tread.


The portion of the tread that extends beyond the riser and creates a little lip on each step is called the nosing; some stairs have nosing on each step and others do not. Additionally, there is generally a little nosing between where the floor at the top of your stairs meets the staircase.

You should also measure your risers and tread so that, if asked, you can provide information about the width and length of both of these pieces of your stairs.

Figure out if your stair has nosing on each step; if it does, you'll want to measure out how far the nosing extends from the riser below it for each step. You should also count how many stairs you have altogether; this will help the salesperson calculate how much carpet you need.

Types Of Stairs

Beyond the three basic stair terms above, you'll also need to know what type of stairs that you have. Here is a quick overview of the most common types of stairs. Read through this list to figure out what types of stairs you have.

Box Stairs

Box stairs are one of the most common stair types. These types of stairs are closed in on both sides with walls and thus do not have or need posts going through the stairs; although they do typically have a railing for safety purposes that attach to the wall. These stairs have a straight, rectangular shape to them.

Wrap Or Cap Stairs

Wrap or cap stairs are very similar to box stairs. They are also rectangle shaped and are closed with a wall on one side. On the other side, however, the stairs are open and thus have one or two posts on the edge of each tread or step. The name "wrap" comes from the fact that the carpet will also have to wrap around the outer edge of the stairs. If you have this type of staircase, you'll want to measure the outer edge all the way around each step to ensure that you purchase enough carpet.

Double Cap Stairs

This type of stairs has caps or posts on both sides of the staircase, generally resulting in four posts per step. You may also have to wrap the carpet on both sides of the stairs; be sure to account for this in your measurements.

Winder Stairs

These are stairs where a turn is made in the staircase and they are not just rectangular shaped; they may also be boxed, wrapped or double cap stairs as well. If you have winder stairs, you'll need to take down the individual measurements of the larger steps where the staircase turns.

Make sure that you know some basic stair terms as well as what type of stairs you have before you start shopping for new carpet for your stairs during a home remodeling.