How to: Glue Carpet to Concrete Stairs

We will be talking about how to glue carpet on concrete stairs. Afterward, we will talk about the best supplies and provide tips to make your project successful.

1. Choose The Right Carpet

There are two types of carpet that you can glue down to surfaces (called “glue down carpets”) that you can use for your home project: either carpet that can be directly glued to the floor or carpet that can be glued to a pad, which can be glued to the floor.

The best option for concrete stairs is “glue down” carpet that can be directly glued to the floor, as the carpet is more versatile for a staircase. Source

Some things to look for as you are choosing the right carpet for your needs include the following:

  • What specific carpet fiber will work the best? Some people will need stronger types of carpet fiber to fit their needs the best. For example, those with dogs, kids, etc. will usually need thicker carpet so the carpet doesn’t need to be cleaned too often. Source
  • What type of carpet style would you like? There are dozens of different carpet styles that have different benefits for each space. The best options for a concrete staircase are textured looped or frieze-styled carpet. Source
  • Is it a good quality carpet? If you’re wondering whether your carpet is in good condition, try bending it back. If the carpet bends back easily, that means the carpet is no longer in good condition. Other signs of a good quality carpet are if the carpet has at least a 10-year “texture retention” warranty, BCF or staple fiber construction, a density rating of 2,000 or more, a tuft twist of 5 or higher, and/or at least a 34- to 40-oz. face weight. Source
  • Is the carpet within the right measurements? Some carpet salespeople have been known to try to rip you off a good deal by unnecessarily giving you more carpet than you need. Be sure to properly measure out how much carpet you will need and have the measurements on hand. Source

For measurements, you should need at least an inch on the bottom and the top of the staircase and about 6 inches of excess width. This will come in handy to fill in any additional crevices and also if you happen to measure the amount of carpet incorrectly (which is very common among people who install carpet, no matter how good you are).

2. Prepare Your Space

Be sure to prepare your space thoroughly before installing the carpet so that your carpet can last a lot longer. This step can make or break how well your carpet does in the long run.

Prepare Your Space By…

  • Completely emptying the staircase of all materials.
  • Checking the concrete for moisture problems. There is a high possibility you will have a highly strenuous and costly problem down the road if not treated. Check the humidity using a moisture reader for at least a week before treating the surface.
  • Removing any doors surrounding the staircase.
  • Lifting all baseboards surrounding the staircase.
  • Use a leveling project to make sure the top of each stair is completely level, and smooth out any low spots when needed.
  • Regulate the temperature throughout the staircase. “For about 48 hours before and after installation, the temperature should stay between 65°F and 95°F (18°C and 35°C) and humidity between 10% and 65%. By observing these conditions, your carpet installation should go smoothly.” Source
  • Clean the concrete appropriately using any concrete cleaner. “Follow the washing with a mold and bacteria-killing solution of 1 part household bleach to 15 parts water. Rinse thoroughly with clean water.” Source

Be sure to fill in any cracks or imperfections within the concrete before you get going with the carpeting. If this applies to you, fill in these cracks with four simple steps:

How To Fill In Broken Concrete

  1. Remove any chunks that are remaining in the cracks and crevices of the concrete by using a hammer and chisel to get it out. Power wash the concrete if necessary so the surface can be as smooth as possible.
  2. If you do end up power washing the concrete cracks, make sure the surface dries before proceeding.
  3. Fill in the cracks using concrete glue, concrete itself, or expanding foam. Each material is good for different reasons. Concrete glue (or any form of concrete filler) is the most commonly used material for small cracks that are not too serious as it is only packaged in small bottles. Use concrete itself for concrete that has very big, wide cracks. If you are going to use concrete, be sure it is as rough as it can be beforehand, and do not powerwash the surface prior in this case. Lastly, for deep crevices and cracks that are hard to reach, use expanding foam (also known as polyurethane foam). Be sure to sand it after for the best results.
  4. If your concrete is severely damaged, it is best to take out each slab one at a time and completely redo your staircase before continuing. Source

3. Use Proper Safety Materials

  • “Whenever working with concrete, always wear gloves, closed-toe shoes, and long sleeves. Concrete can be very corrosive when wet, and if you get it on your skin, it will burn.
  • Concrete dust is poisonous. Therefore you need to wear a facial mask to prevent the inhalation of dust.
  • You also need to protect your eyes. Flying chunks can take out an eye and concrete dust can really burn if it gets in your eyes.” Source
  • Be sure to wear jeans or other heavy-duty clothing as well to avoid any contact with outside chemicals.

4. Prepare The Carpet and Concrete

  1. Air out and vacuum out the carpet and the concrete you will be working with. It is ideal to work with as few chemicals as possible, especially in a closed-off space, and carpets are usually manufactured with many solvents that can interfere with your project. Source
  2. “Measure the width of the steps and the carpet. If the carpet is wider than the steps, use your straight edge and utility knife to cut a strip of carpet about 2 inches wider than the width of the steps. If the steps are wider than your carpet you’ll need two strips that, when laid side by side, are 2 inches wider than the steps.” Source

5. Apply The Adhesive

Start by applying adhesive directly on the concrete from the bottom to the top. Use a notched adhesive spreader to spread it to the vertical and horizontal parts of your staircase, making sure that the adhesive is spread to all parts of the staircase (including corners and crevices).

The adhesive should only be applied with temperatures of 65°F and 95°F (18°C and 35°C).

5. Fit The Carpet With The Concrete

  1. Starting at the top of the staircase, layout your concrete about twelve to fifteen inches at a time. Be sure you leave the inch of carpet space on the bottom and the top of the staircase for some leeway room.
  2. Flatten out your carpet using a board, making sure the surface is completely smooth. Also, avoid any “air bubbles” common on most improperly-installed staircases. Source
  3. Use a utility knife to cut off any excess carpet that isn’t already flattened out on the widths.
  4. Once the staircase is completely smooth, use a pair of carpet shears to trim off the excess edges of the carpet at the left and right sides of the steps.
  5. Use a utility knife to cut off the top and bottom parts of the carpet. Source

7. Smooth The Edges Of Carpet

Make sure your edges are completely smooth by addressing the corners. A good way to this is by pushing the excess carpet behind the tack strip using a wide-blade putty knife. Be sure to cover the edge of the carpeting near doorways with metal door jambs. Lastly, finish off with baseboards that will fit your carpet the best. Source

8. Allow The Carpet To Dry

Allow your adhesive to dry for at least 12 hours before walking on it. Replace the doors and you are all set! Source

Best Supplies For Installing Carpet On Concrete

Best Carpet Brands:

Best Rated Carpet Adhesives

Best Concrete Fillers

Ricky Kesler

With all of the projects I've done over the years, you'd think that I work on my house full-time. But I actually enjoy other things like spending time outdoors and time with my family.

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