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.
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
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.
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
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?
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.
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. ;-)
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 ?
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.
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
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.
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/
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.
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
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.
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