Choosing a Stair Runner Carpet
It’s hard to imagine a staircase that wouldn’t benefit from the addition of a stair runner. Who wouldn’t prefer the beauty, comfort, and safety of having a carpet installed on stairs over plain, unadorned wooden treads?
We’re here to help you with the difficult part – making the right carpet choice. With the myriad of patterns, fibers, and styles available, it’s easy to get overwhelmed.
While you will want to choose a carpet runner that fits your home aesthetically, it's also critical to pick the right carpet fiber, construction and size. We’ve put together this definitive buyer's guide to stair runners to help you choose a runner that will stand the test of time. We will discuss carpet fiber first in this multi-part series.
We consider wool to be nature's best natural resource. If you have ever owned a wool suit or coat made from wool (it's probably still hanging in your closet, right?), then you know wool is made for longevity. Wool is an amazing fiber known for its durability, natural stain resistance, fire retardancy, cleanability, and air-filtering qualities. It is also people and planet friendly, which makes it our top choice for carpeting in homes today.
Cons: Can be more expensive then other carpet fibers.
Natural Fiber Carpet
Another organic carpeting choice, carpets made from natural plant fibers are loved for
their distinctive character. Irregularities in yarn size, sprouts, striations, and variations in loop and rib size are all part of this carpet's charm. Some natural fibers to consider are sisal, jute, seagrass, and coir, each having its own unique traits. The inherent beauty and environmental friendliness of these carpets and rugs add to their popularity.
Cons: Natural fibers will resort to their original color and darken or lighten as they age.
Synthetic Carpet Fibers
The four main synthetic fibers used in carpet manufacturing today are nylon, polyester, olefin, and acrylic.
Nylon carpet is the most widely used soft surface and is an excellent choice for both residential and commercial spaces. It is stain and abrasion resistant, has high resiliency, and comes with a built-in stain protector, making it easy to maintain. We prefer nylon 6 or 6.6 for its ability to be recycled.
Cons: Can be more expensive then other synthetic carpets
Polyester carpet, also labeled PET, is a strong, versatile fiber with superior stain resistance. Made from recycled materials, polyester carpets are soft to the touch and very comfortable to walk on. PET carpets are generally budget friendly and make a good choice for bedrooms or other light traffic areas of the home.
Cons: Will mat down with heavy use.
Olefin carpet has a matte finish, making its appearance similar to wool. Olefin, also known as polypropylene, is a strong fiber with resistance to abrasion, staining, mildew and fading. Its inability to absorb water makes it excellent for use as indoor-outdoor carpet or in basements where moisture could be an issue. Olefin carpet is less resilient than wool or nylon and is best used in low traffic areas of the home.
Cons: Can attract oil based stains.
While choosing the right carpet fiber is crucial for the longevity of your stair runner, there are other considerations that we will discuss in part II of this series.