A length of soft flooring made of wool, paper, cotton, linen, silk (for luxury only), plastic, seagrass, sisal, jute or any other suitable fibre for use on stairs. It was called a runner because it was always a single width of carpet when 70 cms ( 27-28″ ) was the standard loom width that left the stair sides uncovered. Stair runners are fixed in place with round metal rods or wooden quadrants set into side brackets at the junction between each tread and riser. These are tightly fitted over carpet and underlay to hold the runner in place.
Runners tend to wear on the front of the tread, so an extra allowance is either folded under on the landing at the top of the stairs, or doubled back over the lowest step. The usual sizes for runners are 70-90 cm for back stairs or cottages, and 90-120 cm for front stairs, although runners can now be woven to any width, and lengths can always be stitched together for wider stairs or a closer fit .
Linen side bindings look smart and can be used to extend the width a little, the bindings are always folded back under to protect the edge and prolong the wear. All bindings should be hand stitched in situ once the carpeting has had time to settled down in its environment
Unless very professionally done, factory stitched edgings where neither material has acclimatised to the site are inclined to shrink back or ruckle.