Photo 1


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Photos 1 and 2 show a finished classic waterfall bullnose. Until now if you wanted to achieve that look the carpet had to be cut to follow the curve then hand sewn. That's the way I used to do it until I figured out the technique I am going to share with you now.

Photo 3
There's no sewing; it will be done with a staple gun and a hot glue gun. It will take about half the time and look just as good or, because you don't see the stitch pulls, better than a sewn stair.



Photo 4
First prepare the stair as you would a regular waterfall stair. To make putting the strip on the riser easier, remove the bottom blade from your strip cutters. (Photo 3)

Photo 5
) Make multiple cuts on a piece of strip the distance of the riser curve. (Photo 4)

Photo 6
By removing the bottom blade the top blade only cuts part way through the strip allowing the strip to flex and follow the curve of the riser. (Photo 5)



Photo 7
Now we need to make a series of measurements to determine how much carpet we need and also to precut the carpet to remove the excess. I prefer to run the length of the carpet the length of the staircase with the nap running down the stairs.



Photo 8
To determine how wide a piece of carpet we need for the stair, measure the longest part of the stair around the nose (6'10"). (Photos 6 and 7)

Photo 9
Now measure floor to center of the nose (6 1/2") (Photo 8).

Photo 10
Measure to where the curve starts (4'). (Photo 9)

Photo 11
Measure from floor to the base of the second stair (1'6"). (Photo 10)

Photo 12
Measure from the floor across the widest part of the bullnose (2'3"). (Photo 11)

Photo 13
Measure the return at the back of the newel post (Photo 12).

Photo 14
Mark that distance at the front of the newel post. (Photo 13)

Photo 15
Measure from the wall to that point (3'10") (Photo 14)

Photo 16
Now measure from the wall to the point of the curve (4'9"). (Photo 15)



Photo 17
OK, I know lots of measuring, but now you can cut away all the excess carpet so you don't have to fight with it (Photo 16). If you like to fight with a unwieldy piece of carpet, well...



Photo 18
We will need a piece of carpet 7 feet wide and 3 feet long for the stair; 7 feet to go all the way around the bullnose (Photos 6 and 7); 3 feet to go over the top of the bullnose, (Photo 11); and 2'3" plus 9 feet for the rise of the tail as it wraps around the stair.

Photo 19
When you are cutting away the excess, notch the carpet 8 inches by 4 feet, to where the curve starts (Photo 9) at the bottom.

Photo 20
This will give you the extra you will need when the tail rises as it wraps around the stair. Now measure from the notched out area 6 1/2 inches this is the center of the nose.

Photo 21
Cut from where the curve starts to the end of the carpet (from 4' to 7') Cut the straight part of the stair where you notched it 1'6" to 3'10" (from the wall to the newel post (Photo 14).

Photo 22
Last cut is from the wall to the point of the curve, add a couple of inches. (Photo 15)



Photo 23
As for me, I'm lazy and would rather go the easier way. Seems to me enough aggravation comes down the road all by itself in this trade without me creating any extra.



Photo 24
Now on to the pad; install it as normal, except at the area of the curve cut it even with the edge of the nose starting from where the curve begins all the way around. (Photo 17)

Photo 25
Put a couple of staples at the edge of the pad at the nose where it goes down to the riser. This will make the transition to the uncovered nose smoother.



Photo 26
On the riser of the curve I staple a double layer of pad (the bottom one being half as wide). This will give the carpet some support as it curves around and keep that smooth waterfall look. We always put a strip of duct tape on the pad at the nose of the stair.

Photo 27
This reinforces the pad so it doesn't break down from traffic and extends the life of the carpet by at least a third. (Photo 18)



Photo 28
Now this is where pre-cutting the stair comes in handy. As you can see in Photos 19 and 20, starting the stair is much easier. Fold the top flap back and pull the tail tight around the bullnose making relief cuts as needed. (Photo 21)

Photo 29
Part the naps and place a couple of staples to hold the carpet. Position the staples in the center of the nose (Photo 22). Notice how the carpet rose up while making the curve? (Photo 23) This is the reason for the extra on the tail.

Photo 30
Once you have the tail stable cut the excess off, using a new sharp razor blade, at the center of the nose. (Photo 24) Secure the carpet edge with staples placed right at the very edge, spaced about 1/2 to 1 inch apart. (Photo 25)



Photo 31
Lay the topflap back down, fold the edge and make a mark where it meets the cut edge of the tail. (Photos 26 and 27)

Photo 32
Make these marks about every inch; when you are finished you will have transferred the curve of the tail to the top flap. (Photo 28)

Photo 33
Now it's a simple matter to cut the top flap; just connect the dots. (Photos 29 and 30)



Photo 34
OK, now to button this baby up. The top flap needs to be stapled to the nose at the very edge of the cut just as the edge of the tail was secured. (Photo 31)

Photo 35
Run a small bead of hot glue at the base of the naps right at the backing edge. (Photo 32) Now work the base of the naps together by pinching the base of the naps approximately 1/4 inch from the edge.

This will work the very bottom edge of the naps across the gap and lock them together. (Photo 33) It may take 5 to 8 seconds of working the edge for the glue to grab; remember, a little bit goes a long way. Practice this part on a 2 -by-4 to get the feel.



Now all that remains is to trim the excess at the floor from the tail and tuck it into the gap of the strip, just like a wall. (Photo 34)



These stairs are not something you run into every day, but there is good money to be made installing them this way. Hopefully this will help you make that money. Photo 35 shows the finished product.