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I understand that carpet has a "direction" and this direction must be constant throughout a room for the carpet to have a uniform look. Can the carpet on stairs be turned so that the direction is not the same as the adjacent room? This would allow the stairs to be carpeted with left-over pieces.

 
Carpet does have a "direction", usually indicated on the carpet backing. Due to the nature of the carpet, this is the direction it should be installed whether on the floor or stairs. Ideally, you would install carpet on stairs as if the roll were rolling down the stairs.
 

Depending on the type of carpet you have, by turning the direction of the carpet you may actually shorten the life expectancy of the product. Wear going against the manufactured direction is putting stress on the fibers that may not have been designed for that purpose.
 

After speaking with a local carpet company, "it's not the end of the world" if you turn your carpet to save a few dollars, but not all carpets are good for stairs. If you have specific questions as to whether the carpet you have is appropriate for stair installation, contact the place of purchase or contact the manufacturer directly.
 

Aesthetically, the choice is yours. Stairs may actually be forgiving depending on the carpet. When looking at the stairs you are going to see the carpet in two different ways, running up the rise then at the different height of each stair. If you have the extra product, I would suggest laying a good sized sample or two in the direction you wish on the stairs. Look at it during different points during the day and in different levels of light. This "trick" may help you decide which would work best for your situation.
 

If you decide to turn the carpet, note that you may see the turned piece wear differently and quicker than that which was installed according to the carpet direction.

 

 

Bobbi J. Hauptmann, Housing and Environmental Design Research Assistant, Department of Architectural Studies, University of Missouri-Columbia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Last update: Monday, May 18, 2009

 

 


 
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