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Question DetailsAsked on 2/7/2016

can you waterfall carpet on stairs with spindles

Carpet layers have put carpet on our stairs using the waterfall method. one side of the stairs is against drywall but the other side has spindles and is open. The waterfalling of the stairs has left a hole between each of the riser plates and the carpet. We have told them that they cannot waterfall the carpet and they have said that they do it all the time. In this case thought it really looks bad. Can they do something to either fix the carpet so we don't see holes or do they need to do another method of installing the carpet. They have said that they can staple the carpet to the riser on the end but I don't believe that is very professional and will just make a bad situation look even worse.

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1 Answer


You can Waterfall, piece tread, or Hollywood carpet on basically any stair. If open sided spindled and visible from the side, commony it is either run narrow and trimmed with wood trim or transition strip (if treads are wide enough to fit that inside the spindles), or is cut and run around the spindles and a trim piece used on the outside edge if there is not a vertical edging piece on the outside edge of the stairs. At the risers where you are presumably seeing the gap, you can use a thick enough piece of edging trim to conceal the gap, or before the carpet is put in cut and install a bevelled piece of trim for the edge of the carpet to mount to at an angle.

You can also run the factory edge on that side and leave it bare as they evidently did - in that case, if you don't like the gap at the top of the riser, then it can be stapled (with heavy duty LONG staples - I think my staple gun box has 9/16" staples for this) up under the tread Hollywood though that would then leave a crease from the front and the edge of the carpet would look different than the interior.

You can google this search phrase for articles covering how to trim out stair carpeting -

trimming out the edge of waterfall carpet

Basically speaking, at this point, since this issue was evidently not addressed during the pre-bid site visit, AND since you did not say you wanted Hollywood (tucked up and stapled under tread nose, assuming it overhangs the riser as it sounds like yours does) BEFORE work began, a bit late to ask for that now because it requires more carpet length. Of course, part of the blame goes to him for not addressing what type of installation you wanted - and also laying out some carpet on the stairs as an example (maybe a scrap laid out at bidding time) to get approval for the installation appearance and and any transition or trim strips to be used as well.

I would say it is reasonable to ask them to staple it at the ends to conceal the gap, if you can accept the variation in appearance from the front. Otherwise, since it was not in the origiunal scope of work, I would ask him for a quote to cut and install tapered trim pieces to fit in behind the waterfall along the free end face of the risers. Depending on your tread nose stickout, they may well be able to fasten them in place with the same staples that hold the carpet to it - but will likely require getting custom fabricated tapered trim pieces cut and stained to match your spindles or exposed riser ends (as applicable), plus installation cost, so likely a hundred or two $ more.

IF you had told them they could not waterfall it BEFORE the work began, then they should have gone to Hollywood installation or said they needed more money (for a few feet more carpet) or they would drop out of the contract, and it would have been your choise at that time. The problem now is that it would be a lot of labor, plus require piecing the carpet, to tear it up and change to Hollywood >

Answered 4 years ago by LCD

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