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
Last update: Monday, May 18, 2009