How to Lay Stair Underlay & Grippers

Created by Adam King, Modified on Fri, 06 May 2022 at 02:15 PM by Adam King

Need to learn how to lay stair underlay and grippers? If you’re planning on fitting a new stair runner, you will first need to lay some good quality grippers and underlay. This will help protect your carpet against mould, moisture and heat, while providing comfortable cushioning underfoot.


So let’s get started. Here is our easy to follow step-by-step guide on how to lay underlay for a stair carpet. Alternatively, simply click here to be taken to the video on our Youtube page!


You Will Need:


  • Gripper rods (enough for the number of steps you are carpeting)
  • Underlay
  • Your stair carpet runner (for measuring reference)
  • Tape measure
  • Marker pen
  • Staple gun
  • Craft Knife/Saw/Pliers (for cutting grippers and underlay to size)


Step 1 - Measure the full width of your step and make a note


Step 2 - Now mark the centre point of all of your steps with a pencil or marker pen. Make sure you mark the centre point on both the step (tread) and the riser above it.


Step 3 - Measure the width of your carpet runner. Cut your gripper rods to to 2 inches narrower than your carpet runner. Measure the centre point of each gripper and align this with your marked centre points on your stair treads and risers.


IMPORTANT: Make sure the curved spikes are facing the right way as shown. The spikes on the tread strip should be facing backwards towards the riser (front edge of the step above it), while the spikes on the riser strip should be pointing downwards towards the tread below it. 


Step 4 - Leave a 1cm gap between the grippers and the right angle of the steps, then nail or glue in place. If you have done this correctly you should be able to insert your finger into the gap between the two grippers as shown. Repeat for all steps until you have two pieces of gripper applied to each.  


Step 5 - Measure the depth of the step tread from the gripper to about 1cm over the edge of the step as shown. Then measure the width of your grippers (which should be two inches narrower than your carpet runner). Cut your underlay pieces to this width and depth and fix to your stair treads with a staple gun as shown.


And that’s how to lay stair underlay. You’re now ready to fit your stair carpet runner!  


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