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Choosing a Carpet for Your Stairs

What you will read ...

Carpet durability gradingsWhat makes a durable carpetThicknessResistance to dirt, stains and other grime

Carpeting a staircase needs a little more consideration than the other rooms or areas of the house. Because the stairs get the heaviest footfall, the carpet needs to be hard-wearing enough to stand up to such wear and tear. It should be easy to clean and resistant to dirt and other stains. And for safety, it can’t be too thick that it causes you to trip on your way down.

You also want it to look good!

Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as going with the same carpet you used throughout the rest of your home. Below, we tell you everything you need to bear in mind when choosing a carpet for your stairs.

Carpet durability gradings

Whatever carpet you choose for your stairs, know that it’ll wear out more quickly than the carpets in all your other rooms. Your staircase is a fairly small, narrow space that you and the people you live with are treading several times a day, every day, with more heavy-footed steps than when you’re walking on a flat floor.

So the carpet needs to be durable, ideally the most durable one you can afford. It might feel like a big outlay at first, but it’ll save you money in the long run as you won’t need to replace the carpet as often, if at all.

Handily, household carpets in the UK are graded according to their durability:

  • Light domestic – suitable for bedrooms
  • Medium domestic – suitable for dining rooms
  • General domestic – suitable for living rooms
  • Heavy domestic – suitable for stairs and hallways
  • Extra heavy domestic – suitable for stairs, hallways and utility rooms

Any carpet graded ‘heavy domestic’ or ‘extra heavy domestic’ will be durable enough for your stairs.

What makes a durable carpet

Thickness

This is one aspect of durability. A carpet’s thickness is in its pile, and how the fabric fibres have been looped, twisted or cut. But with carpets, thickness doesn’t always equal strength – in fact, it’s often the case that the shorter the pile height, the more durable the carpet.

Loop pile carpets (such as Berber carpets) are very hard-wearing and will withstand a lot of footfall without flattening. However, they might not be the best choice if you have pets with long claws, as these can catch in the loops and pull at the fabric.

Find out more about berber carpets in our guide: buying a Berber carpet

Twist pile carpets also tend to be extremely durable because of how the fabric is cut and tightly twisted. A popular choice of carpet, they can cope with heavy traffic and retain their shape at the same time.

Take care though: laying too thick a carpet means you increase the chances of you losing your footing when descending the stairs. Find out more about carpet textures and their benefits by visiting our carpet textures guide.

 

Resistance to dirt, stains and other grime

You might enforce a ‘shoes off’ policy at home to help protect your carpet, but it’ll still accumulate dirt and other grime through everyday use. It’s even claimed that walking on the carpet barefoot can soil it over time, as our skin releases sweat that then attracts dust and other traces of dirt. If you have pets, there are also animal hairs to think about.

Mohammad Hassan Roghani

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