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Selecting a Runner for Your Home


It can be overwhelming walking into a store, seeing hundreds of samples to choose from, and thinking how am I supposed to narrow this down to one selection?

I like to start by asking customers a few fact gathering questions that tell me more about their home. After about 20 minutes the process goes from overwhelming to a customer happily leaving the store with a few samples to select from.

In this blog post I will discuss what to consider when purchasing a stair runner (and how to narrow down the selections!)

What Carpet is Best for Stair Runners?

Our most frequently asked question (and a GREAT question to ask!) is what will wear best on steps?
Think of these 3 things when it comes to a well wearing carpet meant for heavy traffic and wear…


Short – the shorter the fiber the less matting down over time

Tight – the tighter the twist the less “blooming” the carpet will have over time. Blooming refers to the unraveling of fibers on the face of the carpet.

Dense – the more fibers you have supporting each other the less likely they will mat down over time. 

When you combine these 3 things along with a well wearing fiber you have the makings for a great wearing runner!

Pets? Kids?

If you have some 4-legged friends living in the home its likely you will be dealing with dirt and pet hair. I would select a carpet with color variation. While I don’t have any pets currently, I do have 3 young children who are not always mindful when it comes to taking off their shoes before coming in… and are known to sneak food and drinks to their room from time-to-time. So having the variation in addition to a well wearing and cleaning carpet REALLY helps. 

TIP: Think of variation as camouflage for your floor. The more variation the less pet hair, soil, and wear you will see. 

Tuftex has some Pet Protect products that make for great runners. They are solution dyed 6.6 nylons that wear well, clean well and help to camouflage.

Do I Bind, Serge or Border my Runner?

By default, we typically like to bind runners with a cloth tape. It finishes the edges of the runner without making a statement. I tend to prefer binding over serging because it does not catch or snag as a serged edge can. Serged rugs are BEAUTIFUL and usually if we do serge a rug its on a wool piece. If you have high traffic or pets (especially cats) binding is probably your best option. 

Lastly, I also get the question about wide cloth borders. While these can add interest to solid or quiet patterns, in a high traffic area they tend to show more wear over time. If you are to go with a wide cloth border, I recommend to do this in a low traffic area.

Bound Rug
Serged Rug
Wide Cloth Border

Waterfall or Hollywood Style Runner Install?

Waterfall Installation

Waterfall style installation is the most common installation style on steps. The carpet is attached to the edge of the tread and goes straight down the riser tread without a tack strip securing the carpet on the riser. The name of this style is named after the way the carpet cascades down the steps.

Hollywood Installation

Hollywood style installation is where the step is tightly silhouetted with the carpet. There is an additional tack strip installed on the riser to help the carpet fit more tightly. This can give the step a more formal or tailored look. This install requires more carpet and labor than the Waterfall installation.

So what is the difference between the two? Does one perform better than the other? 

When it comes to Hollywood or Waterfall its simply which one you like more aesthetically. Neither will perform or wear better than the other. 

Before a decision is made on the type of installation there are a few things to consider with the Clawes representative who will measure your home. Based on the existing step, pattern of carpet and over all lay out one style may be recommended over another. You can set up a free estimate!

Waterfall installation
Hollywood installation

How would you describe the style of your home?

Lastly, I like to have the customer describe the style of their home. Formal? Traditional? Casual? Contemporary? 

TIP: It is nice to browse our carpet styles at home for ideas prior to coming in to get some inspiration!
Some manufacturers like Shaw’s Tuftex let you view the product in your home in their visualization app Floorvana you can find it here.  

Are you looking for your steps to make a statement or blend in with the rest of the home?

Customers looking for timeless or traditional style runner with a simple pattern in a neutral color always works. Some popular traditional patterns of Northern Virginia are linear, pin dot, and herringbone.

Other customers want more of a statement and choose a bolder accent color and/ or pattern for their home like Malibu by Masland below.

Malibu by Masland

For design advice and flooring questions,
reach out to Clawes flooring experts.

I hope this blog was helpful in narrowing down some of the many choices there are for runners! 


Stair Runners Image Gallery

See some completed projects of Tuftex runners installed by Clawes

DID YOU KNOW: Tuftex is one of the ONLY manufacturers that will warranty their product installed on steps when installed with their 32 oz. pad?