Should you really carpet the top step.

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We are in the process of carpeting the steps to the basement, but if the top step (the one that is level with the first floor) were to be covered with carpet (just the first 2-3 inches) would create a tripping hazard. My carpet layer suggested that we just go ahead and tack carpet to the step with out any padding and it would not stick up that much. Can I purchase a pre-made cover for the top step that will cover the top step, be cosmetic and stick back 2-3" under the bull- nose heading into the first floor ?
Thanks for reading.
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On Thu, 26 Aug 2010 15:46:47 -0700, sid wrote:

I wouldn't do it. I've almost fallen down our basement stairs enough times *without* any kind of additional tripping hazard :-)
Maybe paint it with some hard-wearing paint instead, or recess a nice bit of stained wood into the space if you have the tools and skills to do that.
Potentially don't carpet the basement stairs at all and do something else entirely? The stairs to the top floor of our place are painted black (I was going to mix some anti-slip material into the paint, but we found we didn't need it) and with a strip of black-painted floor the width of the stairs and about 4 inches deep at the top.
cheers
Jules
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To each their own, I guess. I wouldn't want carpet on the stairs at all.
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re: "if the top step (the one that is level with the first floor) were to be covered with carpet (just the first 2-3 inches) would create a tripping hazard. "
I'm having trouble picturing this. It's the "first 2-3 inches" part that's confusing me.
I'm assuming the stairs come straight up to the first floor, as opposed to having a right-turn landing, then one more step into the room like I have. Where do you have a "first 2-3 inches" to be concerned with?
Is it the part right on the other side of the door which is actually part of the first floor? If so, why isn't this finished the same as the floor and why would it need to be carpeted?
Do you see my confusion?
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I'm guessing there is a door and the top step is simply an extension of the first floor on the other side of the door. It would help to know if in fact there is a door and whet the first floor is covered in? If the first floor is not carpeted I would leave the step at the same level uncarpeted and match that first floor flooring. If the first floor is carpeted I would continue the carpeting onto the step at the same level. If you want to change carpet at the transition you can get a wood or metal cover for it.
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re: "I'm guessing there is a door and the top step is simply an extension of the first floor on the other side of the door."
That's what I pictured, but why would anyone (including the installer!) suggest carpeting that little area?
If the OP hadn't mentioned the installer wanting to carpet it, I'd still be confused, but maybe less so, if you know what I mean. ;-)
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Yes, there is a door and it leads into the kitchen floor and is covered (with linoleum), and the covering stops in the middle of the door ( w/bull-nose). And the top stop is level with the kitchen floor. How do I cover this with creating a tripping hazard ?
Thanks
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Is there any chance you can post a picture of this transition?
I've never seen a floor covering (w/bull-nose) stop in the middle of a door and then have 2 - 3 inches of - what? - before a set of stairs.
This picture would certainly be worth the proverbial 1000 words.
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On Fri, 27 Aug 2010 09:50:58 -0700 (PDT), DerbyDad03

I think he means "threshold" not "bullnose." But, I've been wrong before.
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Ah, I think I'm seeing this now. The top "step", on the basement side of the door has a bull-nose (as all steps to) and is at the same level as the kitchen floor on the other side of the door. You can't extend the vinyl onto this tread because you can't wrap it around the bull- nose. You can't wrap carpet around it either because it *will* be a trip hazard where it meets the vinyl. I guess I'd punt the carpet completely and leave all the treads wood (hardwood if the basement is finished), including the top. Terminate the vinyl under the door with a trim strip. Make sure it's down really well so it doesn't become a trip hazard.
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I agree with your thinking. Stopping the kitchen linoleum further back, so there's more or less a full footprint length of exposed wood, and trying not to have any transition/reducing strip right under foot on that first step (it's really not a step, is it?) would make sense. As far as the carpet, it should die vertically into the underside of the bullnose floor extension.
R
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I thought of that too, but I think it'll look weird to have the kitchen vinyl and the stairs carpeted, except for the one ("step") at the top. That's why I suggested punting the carpet altogether.
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Why can't you wrap the vinyl around the end of the first tread? Use a little heat.
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I suppose you could try. I don't think it's going to last with the stresses there.
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Sid! Where are you?
I read his last post "the covering stops in the middle of the door ( w/ bull-nose)" as meaning the vinyl is already installed and that there is an uncovered area between the vinyl and the end of the "floor/ step".
The "bull-nose"part still confuses me since Sid uses it in the same sentence as the "covering", not as part of the sentence about the "And the top stop (sic) is level with the kitchen floor".
I'd still like to see a picture.
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Yes, it is a bit confusing and I may not have my mental picture right either. I see the "bull-nose" as the edge of the top tread, which happens to be at the same level as the kitchen floor (strange).

That would make it too easy.
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sid wrote:

You don't. You break the carpet at the top of the riser, capturing it in a different bull-nose trim that has a lower flange with hammer-over carpet-grabber prongs similar to a tack strip. Or just use tack strip, or the hillbilly method of a strip of metal that matches the bull-nose, pushed up against it and screwed in place through the carpet.
But like the others have said, I wouldn't carpet the stairs at all. Wears out quickly, very hard to keep clean, and if it starts moving around on you, it is a tripping hazard. If the existing treads and risers are too beat up to refinish pretty enough, reskinning stairs is not hard. Borg or a real lumber yard will have several sizes of premade parts, that with minor trimming, will fit right in. If you don't want to spring for oak, they have other cheaper woods, and if you get a nice clear finish on them while they are pristine, they hold up to grime pretty well.
--
aem sends...

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Thanks to all the replied, here is a jpg:
http://i34.tinypic.com/eqt3bo.jpg
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Not really a whole tread. If you must carpet the leave that top bit wood for now. Next time you replace the linolium include that top edge. If you heat the linolium it will wrap around that nose.
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sid wrote:

Okay, now it makes sense. That top 'step' is a slice off the front of a premade tread, and probably extends under the linoleum to the line of the studs under the finish wall. Can't tell for sure, but the treads look like pine or fir, at least in the gouges in the paint. Most builders would have continued the vinyl floor to the edge of the top tread, and put a metal nosing on it. Unless you can find one wide enough to reach back to where the vinyl stops, there really aren't any painless solutions. You could lift the trim strip and pry off or trim that top piece and replace it with hardwood, finished to match the nearest woodwork, but that falls under the 'artisan work' category. That piece has to be very securely mounted, since any wobble at all could dump somebody down the steps.
Just how bunged up are the steps? I'd still be inclined to sand well, spot-patch any dings, and paint with a paint designed for traffic areas. There are colors other than gray- you can probably even find one that matches or compliments your new carpet. That is why, back in the olden days, we used clear finish on basement stairs, if they were finished at all. It makes the inevitable dings harder to spot.
--
aem sends...

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