How to Remove a Carpet Runner from Stairs

Is that old carpet runner on your stairs beyond cleaning? Is it loose and worn? In addition to being unsightly, an old stairs rug runner might pose a safety risk for you, your family and even your pets. It may be time to replace it, but first, you have to remove old carpeting. Here's how to safely remove a carpet runner from stairs.

Required Tools

  • Heavy-duty construction gloves with padding
  • Utility knife
  • Flat pry bar or crowbar
  • Hammer
  • Needle nose plyers
  • Flathead screwdriver

Construction gloves are very important, as the tacks holding down your carpeting are very sharp and it may take some effort to pry them loose.

Removing Stair Carpeting - Step-by-Step

    1. First, inspect the carpeting on the top stair riser to determine if it's part of the landing carpet. If it is, cut it with the utility knife about an inch down from the top of the riser.
    2. Pull the carpet back from an upper corner so that you can position the pry bar (or crowbar) behind the piece of carpet. Carefully pry the carpet away from the riser and move across the top of the riser, prying as you go.
    3. Lift the carpet up from the tread in the same way. If your stairs runner was installed in separate pieces, the entire piece of carpeting may come off at this point. If not, you might want to periodically cut off sections, roll them up and put them aside.
    4. Follow the same procedure for the second riser and tread, and continue down the stairs until the entire carpet runner has been removed.
    5. Slide your pry bar underneath any tack strips along the edges of the treads and risers. Tap the pry bar with the hammer to wedge it more firmly underneath the tack strip and lift the pry bar to remove the strip. Use this method to remove all tack strips.
    6. Using the hammer claw or pry bar tip, remove nails and staples that are still in the risers or treads. The flathead screwdriver and needle nose plyers may come in handy at this point to yank out especially stubborn tacks. Be sure to immediately dispose of sharp tacks safely.

You're now ready to install a brand new staircase carpet runner, and Dean Flooring Company has a wide selection of runner rugs to choose from. Look for models that you can purchase by the linear foot, as these can be ordered in whatever length you need to fit your stairs.