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Stair Rods Buyers Guide – Frequently Asked Q & A

Simple & expert advice on how to choose the right carpet stair rods for your home

Whilst a staircase is clearly functional, providing access to higher and lower floors in a home, they can also be designed to be attractive features. This stair rods buyers guide considers the role of stair rods in bringing individual character and style to a staircase and advise what you need to consider when purchasing.

A. How and where are stair rods used?

Stair rods buying guide featuring Chatsworth brass stair rods on beige runner

Stair rods are decorative and a design feature on steps and stairs fitted with carpet or natural flooring. Fit one per step and attach with rod holders or brackets where the riser meets the step. The brackets vary in design, depending on whether the stair covering is full width or a central runner.

A1. Are rods functional or just for looks?

Polished brass stair rods on staircase

In the 19th century, stair rods were used to hold a piece of cloth or stair-carpet to a staircase. However, today we use secure gripper instead and therefore stair rods are now simply decorative and all about making an attractive visual feature.

A2. What type of flooring do stair-rods work with?

Blue striped stair carpet fixed on staircase with chrome stair rods

Instal stair runner rods on stairs fitted with carpet and underlay or natural flooring and underlay.

A3. Do stair rods work with both runners and fitted carpets?

Stair rods buyers guide

Feature stair rods either on a stair runners (indented carpet running up the centre of the stairs) or fitted stair carpet (full width of staircase). Make sure you choose the correct bracket option when purchasing. Stacked in a regular, linear pattern, one above another all the way up a staircase, stair rods can create an illusion of spaciousness for even the humblest of staircases. Shown here is the Tudor.

A4. Can you retro fit stair-rods?

Fitting stair rod brackets to a staircase

Yes, carpet rods are easily installed at the time of a new stair runner or retro-fitted. Each one is fitted to the staircase with screws, in the right-angle where the vertical riser meets the step.

Can I customise the stair rods for my stairs?

Beaumont triangular stair rod on bordered stair runner

Quality-made stair rods are bespoke-made to fit the dimensions of your stairs. Choose from a wide selection of finials (decorative rod ends), rod styles and thicknesses, and numerous metal and wood finishes, along with the specific length you require.

B1. What are stair carpet runner rods made of?

Complement or contrast your rods with your stair carpet from the choice of metal and wood finishes.  Quality rods such as the Premier are manufactured in solid brass, whilst Country and Vision ranges are bespoke-made from tubular brass in a choice of ten different metal finishes. It is the norm for metal rods to be supplied in a lacquered finish; this is invisible and ensures no tarnishing over time. However, stairrods can be specially ordered with no lacquer, on request.

B2. Are there any green options when it comes to modern stair rods?

For a natural feel, choose the Tudor range of wooden runner rods, available in a rich dark wood or lighter oak look.

B3. Can I buy wrought iron or stainless stair runner rods?

Blacksmith ball stair rod for runners on striped carpet

The Blacksmith Ball and Blacksmith Flat runner rod designs are produced in a rustic-looking matt black and stainless steel finish and feature an irregular, hammered texture.

B4. Are stair-rods always cylindrical or are there other profiles too?

Balladeer ball end stair rod, twisted rod, antique brass

The standard rod, fixed in between the two finials (decorative ends), is tubular and plain in design. However, attractive alternatives to the standard plain rod are available, including:

B5. Is there a difference between the quality of solid and tubular stair carpet rods?

Lancaster design stair rod, cream runner, exposed wood staircase

Quality-made tubular or hollow rods are manufactured from a robust gauge of steel or brass, which will not dent or bend easily and are designed to withstand frequent foot traffic and look smart for many years to come. However, for the utmost in quality, check out solid core stair rods such as the six designs in the Premier range, which are hand-finished in a choice of ten options, including polished brass, antique brass, polished chrome, black, brushed chrome and pewter.

B6. Which diameter of stair rod do I need?

Eastern Promise Dubai stair rod for grand staircases
  • The 3/8” (9mm) diameter, circular stair rods are designed with price rather than looks in mind. Slender in construction, they have less impact than the standard 12mm options.
  • The ½” (12mm) option is recommended for most domestic staircases, achieving a visual appearance which is significant enough to both complement and balance with the structure of the staircase and create an attractive feature.
  • The 5/8” (16mm) option is designed for wider staircases, such as those found in public buildings, hotels and larger homes, where a more substantial decorative feature is required. Eastern Promise, Country and Premier ranges are available in both 12mm and 16mm.

B6. What are stair rod finials?

Piston stair rods polished chrome on striped, folded carpet

The decorative motifs on either end of a runner rod help to define the character and overall look of a staircase. Some finials are manufactured integral to the rod whilst others come pre-attached to the rod brackets. From naturalistic thistles to stylised acorns, popular balls to medieval fleur-de-lys, exotic onion domes to minimalist flat-tipped ends, the finials make a decorative statement on a staircase.

C. Are there different types of stair-rod brackets for runner and fitted carpets?

Stair rod brackets in various sizes and finishes

A pair of brackets is typically supplied with a newly purchased, quality stair rod, complete with fitting screws and manufactured to match the finish of the stair rod. The design of bracket depends on the manufacturer and the application. Be careful to choose the right option when ordering:

  • Runner brackets option: these are only suitable for a stair runner (indented carpet that runs up the centre of a staircase) and sit either side of it; they are raised to cater for the thickness of the underlay and carpet and securely hold the rod in place.
  • Front fix bracket option: these are only suitable for use on a fitted stair carpet (full width of the staircase) and are indented from either side. The semi-circular brackets cup over the face of the rod, through the carpet, and are decorated with a finial either end.
  • Side fix bracket option: these are only suitable for use with a fitted stair carpet (full width of the staircase), when only a rod is required but no finial ends. The specially designed brackets attach to the side (stringboard) of the staircase.
  • For further information, please see here and read the product specification when choosing your stairrod design.

D1. Can stair rods be fitted to winder stairs?

Blacksmith wrought iron stair rods featuring brackets on a winding staircase

A skilled carpet fitter will install the brackets at a slight angle to cater for the winding staircase. However, the Blacksmith Ball and Flat stair rods are supplied with a universal style of bracket held in place with just one screw, which makes this process simple.

D2. Are stair carpet rods suitable for a curved step?

Curved stair rods for bottom steps

Curved steps are typically found at the bottom of some staircases. Some designs of carpet rods can be manufactured curved to match a customer-supplied template. Please get in touch for further information.

E. How to measure up and order the correct length of stair rods for your steps?

Diagram for how to measure stair rods for a runner stair carpet

Most quality stair rods are custom-made to the length you require. In the case of a staircase fitted with a runner carpet, the manufacturer requires the exact tip-to-tip measurement, including an over-hang either side of your runner for the brackets and the finial. Meanwhile, for stair-rods ordered with Front Fix brackets, you will need to provide the tip-to-tip measurement of the rod including finials, only. And finally, the length of Side Fix stair rods is determined by the width of the staircase. For more advice read here.

Are all stair-rods made-to-order?

Stair rods buy online free delivery

Quality stair runner rods are custom-made. However, cheaper rods are sold in fixed length options only; these are designed for cutting to size on site and so the end finials are supplied pre-attached to the brackets. Take a look at the Jubilee and Homepride designs.

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