On this page:
- Estimating the Cost of Installing New Carpet
- Why Should I Install Carpet?
- Influences on the Cost of Carpet Installation
- How Does My Carpet Project Measure Up?
- Planning for Your Carpet Installation
- Cost Comparisons
- Level of Difficulty
Installing new carpet is a great way to update a room, whether with a subtle, standard product to freshen things up, or with a bold design that makes a statement on its own. Experienced pros can complete a high-quality installation in just a few hours, but there are a number of details that will affect the cost of the job.
Estimating the Cost of Installing New Carpet
How the Pros Figure It
Pros generally calculate carpet materials by the square yard and present installation costs by the yard, room, or job. It is also common to see carpet materials priced by the square foot; just multiply by nine to arrive at the equivalent of a square yard for comparison purposes. Unlike most improvement projects, the cost of some materials and supplies, such as carpet padding, tape, and adhesive, is included with the cost of labor or installation rather than itemized with the price of the carpet.
How Much Carpet Do I Need?
Since not all rooms are simple squares and rectangles that are narrower than standard carpet widths, it takes a bit of geometry and creative thinking to calculate the amount of carpet needed to cover the square footage of a room. A pro will measure the actual dimensions of the room, but will account for the width and nap of the carpet you choose and the placement of seams when determining the material needed to get the best possible finish.
How Difficult is the Installation?
No matter how an estimate or bid for carpet installation is presented, the complexity of the job will factor into the price of installation. The more corners, angles, seams, and thresholds a pro has to work around, the longer the job can take, so it may cost more to have carpet installed in a very large room or one with a complex layout than in a simple, square room with only one entry and no closet.
Why Should I Install Carpet?
Compared to many flooring types, carpet is often the most cost-effective option. Professional installation of an economical carpet could cost as little $2.00 per square foot ($18 per square yard). Even a high-quality choice could go down for about $7.00 per square foot, which could be considerably less expensive than other popular flooring choices such as hardwood or tile.
Although carpet is not appropriate for areas that are prone to moisture, like kitchens, baths, and laundry rooms, it can be the perfect choice for most other areas of the home. Carpet is comfortable on the feet, can soften any style of room, and reduces noise that would otherwise bounce off a hard floor.
Ease of Installation
Carpet is comparatively easy to install; with a reasonable level of preparation involved, but a high tolerance for imperfections in the subfloor, preparing for installation often takes a fraction of the time needed for other types of flooring. Carpet is typically held in place by tack (or “tackless”) strips or adhesive, with seams secured by adhesive tape. With either method, large sections of the flooring are installed at once, making the job fairly quick.
Influences on the Cost of Carpet Installation
The Size of the Job
The size of the room(s) involved in your carpet project can affect the overall cost of labor for installation, as well as the cost of materials. Obviously, the more carpet, padding, and accessories you need, the more the materials will cost, but often, the unit cost for labor or installation goes down as the overall size of the job goes up, since the Pro can complete a day’s work without traveling to multiple sites.
The Scope of the Job
In addition to the size of the job, the nature of the installation influences the complexity of the project. The amount and type of prep work involved and the type of carpet system installed carry varying levels of difficulty. An experienced pro can handle any type of installation scenario, but the features of the job will affect the time and manpower needed to get it done.
Can I Do It Myself?
Professional labor accounts for a significant portion of carpet installation costs, so if you are able to do any of the work yourself you can cut expenses considerably. Preparation is a good place to start; paying a pro to remove and dispose of old carpet, padding, and tack strips adds up pretty quickly. Since this part of the job doesn’t require any special tools or skills, doing it yourself is a great way to save. If you are able to handle the installation on your own as well, you could save up to half the cost of the job.
How Does My Carpet Project Measure Up?
Choosing the Carpet
It’s important to choose the right materials for every home improvement job, but when it comes to flooring and other finishes, there is a sea of choices to navigate. Carpet comes in several types and price ranges, such as carpet tiles and cushion-backed carpet, as well as the standard rolls that require separate padding in 12’, 13’6”, and 15’ widths. In addition to choosing a material and style that suits you and your application, be sure to choose one that is appropriate for your installation methods. For example, an experienced DIYer can install wall-to-wall carpet with padding or adhesive, but if you plan to do the work on your own, picking a self-adhesive carpet tile will make the job a whole lot easier.
Get the Right Stuff
Be sure your budget for materials allows for the carpet and all the related supplies, tools, or accessories needed. For example, laying traditional carpet will call for tackless strips, carpet padding, and seam tape, and cushion-backed or other glue-down carpet will require adhesive. If you are doing your own installation, you may need to rent or buy the tools you will need for the job. Also, it’s important to purchase about ten percent more carpet than required to cover the area of the room. This allows for waste and seams, and provides some margin for error when making cuts.
Level of Preparation
While installing carpet usually requires a low-level of preparation, the amount of work involved and whether you plan to hire out this part of the job can have a big impact on the cost. If old flooring needs to be removed and disposed of, the job will cost more than if a solid, clean subfloor is ready to go when the installers arrive.
Hiring Out the Prep Work
If you don’t want to handle the prep work on your own, even just clearing the room of furniture and belongings will save time for the pros, which can save you money. In any case, be sure to discuss preparation with your installer ahead of time in order to avoid surprise charges for work they didn’t plan on doing. In many cases, it is more cost-effective to hire a handyman or other pro to clear out the room and remove old flooring in advance of the carpet installation, so be sure to check out this option while pricing the job.
Everything from accessibility for hauling new carpet to the installation site to the shape and layout of each room can affect the time and skill needed for the job. If the location of your project is on an upper level, if the room has a closet, or if the job requires several seams, cuts, and transitions, it could come at a higher price than if it is a simple layout on the ground level of your home.
Different types of carpet require different methods of installation, so the materials you choose could affect the cost of labor. For example, trimming and installing self-adhesive carpet tiles is very simple compared to laying tackless strips, padding, and rolls of carpet, and both are often less expensive than a glue-down installation of tiles or rolls of carpet.
Shopping for carpet is very consumer-friendly in today’s marketplace, but the way you buy materials could affect the cost of installation. Dealers, installers, and retailers frequently offer great deals on installation when you purchase materials through them, but may inflate the cost of the carpet to compensate for the discount, or charge more for labor if you buy the carpet somewhere else. It’s worth checking to see if buying the carpet on your own will end up costing you more in labor, so be sure to compare various options and estimates from multiple pros.
Planning for Your Carpet Installation
Take advantage of a pro’s experience when choosing the right type of carpet for your project. Even if you plan to do the installation yourself, you can get objective advice from the staff at a carpet store or home center. Be sure to choose materials that are suited for the subfloor in the space as well as for the amount of foot traffic in the area and the style and use of the room.
Be sure to address how the delivery of your carpet will be timed and carried out, as well as how the rooms involved will be cleared. If you have the space to store your carpet prior to the installation, you may be able to save on the cost of the job by picking up materials in advance of scheduling a pro. Likewise, planning ahead for clearing rooms, storing furniture, and prepping the subfloor can help the job go smoothly on installation day.
|$250 - $900||$450 - $1,800||$930 - $2,200|
Since your choice of materials and the features of the job can have a lot of influence on the total cost of carpet installation, it’s helpful to compare the project to a few scenarios to help anticipate the bottom line. In our example, a few common factors can make a big difference in the price of carpeting a 12’x12’ room.
DIY All the Way $250 - $900
- • Materials: The most DIY-friendly carpet product, “peel and stick” carpet tiles, allows for a DIY installation with no labor cost. Economical options are available for as little as $1.00 per square foot, with high-quality choices in stock at stores for about $4.00 per square foot.
- • Preparation: With limited preparation, such as removing old carpet and tack strips and sweeping the subfloor, only the cost of disposal affects the expense of preparation.
- • Complexity: In the simplest situation, a single transition strip in the doorway of a rectangular room with no closet, a carpet tile installation can be done with minimal trimming, accessory materials, and waste.
Typical Refresher: $450 - $1,800
- • Materials: Traditional carpet with padding, tackless strips, and a single transition keep the materials budget relatively low. But with low to mid-grade carpet prices ranging from $2.00 to $8.00 per square foot, there is still plenty of room for material choices.
- • Preparation: Another DIY removal of old carpet and accessories and minor subfloor preparation limits labor costs to the actual installation.
- • Complexity: In a slightly more complex installation such as a room with a closet, a bit more material and time is required to finish the extra (often overlooked) part of the room.
A Total Flooring Makeover: $930 - $2,200
- • Materials: Mid to high-grade carpet and padding with all the related supplies bring material costs of $8.00 to $10.00 per square foot.
- • Preparation: Leaving the prep to the installer is the most expensive option for this aspect of the job. If the pros handle everything from carrying out furniture to scraping off an old glued-down sheet floor or carpet, expect the work to cost an extra $100 to $400.
- • Complexity: In a more complex room, such as one with a bay window, closet, and built-in furniture to work around, the cost of installation goes up with every obstacle.
Level of Difficulty
The difficulty of installing carpet really depends on the type of flooring you choose. Self-stick carpet tiles can be installed by a beginner with a utility knife, tape measure, and straight edge, while it takes considerably more skill and a few specialized tools to lay carpet with tack strips or adhesive. Consider your abilities, material options, and budget to come up with the right combination.