In This Article: Carpet Installation Costs | Cost Factors | Additional Costs and Considerations | When to Replace Carpets | Benefits of New Carpet | DIY vs. Professional | How to Save | Our Conclusion
Carpet makes for a cozy, comfortable flooring that hides dust and absorbs sound. Unfortunately, even high-end carpet doesn’t last forever. Whether you need your carpet replaced or you’re having it installed for the first time, it’s important to budget for carpet installation costs before you begin the project.
The national average cost of carpet installation in a 200-square-foot room ranges from $650 to $2,050. We’ll break down the costs of different materials and styles of carpet as well as the different factors that go into determining the labor costs of the project. Finally, we’ll address some frequently asked questions about the process to help you decide whether now is the right time to have carpet installed in your home.
On average professional carpet installation will cost $5 - $11 per square foot.Get Free Estimates
Professional carpet removal may cost $0.25–$1 per square foot.Get Free Estimates
Depending on level of damage, you could pay $1.50–$4.50 per square foot for floor repairs.Get Free Estimates
Carpet Installation Costs
The cost to re-carpet a room can range depending on material, padding, and labor. On average, new carpet itself costs $2–$8 per square foot, although luxury brands can cost much more. Padding costs about $0.75–$1.25 per square foot, and you’ll pay $0.50–$1 per square foot for labor.
Carpet Cost by Material
When looking at the cost per square foot of carpet, the material it’s made of plays the most significant role in determining price. Polyester and polypropylene, which is also called olefin, are the least expensive. They resist fading and staining, but they are not particularly durable or easy to clean. Nylon carpet is the most popular type in the U.S., as it’s durable and resistant to mold and mildew, but it’s not as soft as other types and it’s prone to building up static.
Acrylic isn’t as popular, since it has a tendency to form pills and isn’t the most durable of the synthetic materials. Triexta is gaining popularity as a more eco-friendly version of nylon, since it’s partially made from plant materials. It does offer the same durability and stain resistance as nylon, but it’s a little more expensive.
Finally, natural fibers like wool and sisal are the most expensive. Sisal, made of fibers from the agave plant, is highly durable but a little rough to the touch. Wool carpet, on the other hand, gets high marks for comfort, durability, and eco-friendliness, but it’s prone to mold and mildew and requires special care to clean.
Cost Per Square Foot of Carpet Material
|Material||Cost (per square foot)|
Carpet Cost by Style
The individual names assigned to types of carpet can be a bit confusing since they overlap and don’t always have clear definitions, even within the industry. For example, velvet, plush, and saxony carpet may all refer to the same style of twisted cut pile, though some sources say plush has a lower height than saxony. Similarly, shag and frieze carpets are both taller cut pile carpets, but they may be twisted or upright. Here are some general terms to know when considering carpet styles.
- Berber carpet: This is a loop carpet with a low pile. It is dense and stain-resistant, making it a good choice for hallways, stairs, and other high-traffic areas.
- Cut pile: This carpet style is relatively easy to clean since there are no loops to trap dirt and debris. However, its exposed ends are prone to fraying over time.
- Low-pile carpet: This carpet stands up better to foot traffic than high pile, but it doesn’t provide as much cushion underfoot.
- Cut-pile: This pile variation combines exposed strands with fiber loops to create a unique texture. This style also hides footprints and vacuum marks well, though it’s usually more expensive than other varieties.
Different carpet materials are better suited to certain styles. For example, nylon is versatile enough for several styles, but olefin carpet is usually low-pile because it’s inherently less durable. Material is a bigger determinant of cost than carpet type is. Wool will always be more expensive than polyester carpet regardless of cut or style. Below is an average cost table for how much each style of carpet costs per square foot.
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Carpet Style Cost by Square Foot
|Style||Cost (per square foot)|
|Cut and Loop||$3–$12|
Factors in Calculating Carpet Installation Cost
The carpet itself is only one factor in the total cost. You also need to consider the process of laying the carpet. The most common elements that factor into carpet installation cost include these:
- Type and material of carpet
- Room shape in size
- Labor costs
Type and Material
A high-end carpet will usually cost the same to install as a lower quality carpet. The exception to that rule is carpet tiles, which are squares of synthetic material that are self-adhesive or can be glued to the floor. These are quicker and easier to install than whole-room carpet and will reduce labor costs.
Room Size and Shape
The more floor space you have to cover, the more expensive materials and installation will be. Carpet is sold by the square foot or square yard, and if you have to cut it to fit a room with an unusual shape, you may have some carpet left over. Similarly, stairs and unusually shaped areas will cost more in labor.
Carpet can be installed directly onto the existing floor, but most homes first lay down some type of carpet padding to make it more comfortable to walk on and to provide extra insulation. However, thicker isn’t always better, and thick padding may not work with all styles of carpet. Padding will typically add $0.75–$1.25 per square foot, although some types of carpet, like peel-and-stick tiles, may have padding already attached.
Unlike many remodeling jobs, labor represents only a small portion of carpet installation costs. Most professional contractors will charge per hour or per square foot to install carpet. On the other hand, some big-box home improvement stores like Home Depot offer free installation if you purchase both carpet and padding. You can also call local contractors to get estimates or place your ZIP code in the form below.
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Additional Costs and Considerations
Beyond just materials and labor, here are some other factors to take into account which may determine final project costs. You may need to calculate added expenses:
- Carpet removal
- Floor repair or replacement
- Moving furniture
- Stain-resistant treatments
- Subfloor repair or replacements
In many cases, you’ll need to have your old carpet removed and hauled away before the new one can be installed. You can remove existing carpet yourself, if you’d like. Homeowners paying for professional carpet replacement may include removal as part of the job, which can add $0.25–$1 per square foot. You may be able to recycle your old carpet or reuse portions of it as rugs, doormats, or soundproofing material.
Floor Repair or Replacement
Any structural problems with your old flooring will need to be fixed before the carpet is laid down. If the damage is extensive, you could pay $1.50–$4.50 per square foot in labor and materials for repairs. In some cases, the underlayment may need to be entirely replaced, and contractors will usually charge $70–$100 per hour for this work.
Before the carpet can be installed or replaced, any furniture in the area will need to be moved out of the way. This may be included as part of labor costs, or it may be separate. For very heavy or specialty items that require careful handling, like grand pianos, you’ll probably pay an extra $50–$100. Thankfully, this is a step many homeowners can save costs on by handling on their own.
If the carpet you choose hasn’t had any stain-resistant treatment applied during the manufacturing process, you can have it sprayed on after installation. Sold under brand names like Teflon or Scotchgard, these treatments coat the carpet fibers to help them repel liquids. You can usually treat 1,000 square feet of carpet for about $80.
Subfloor Repair or Replacement
The subfloor is the plywood, fiberboard, or concrete that sits atop your floor joists beneath the finished flooring. It helps evenly distribute the weight of anything that’s on your floors. If this material is old or substantially water damaged, it may need to be repaired or even replaced entirely. This will cost an additional $1–$4 per square foot.
Signs You Should Replace Your Carpet
Most of the time, it’s apparent when you need new carpet. If the old carpet is ripped, stained, worn, smelly, or moldy, it’s time to have it replaced. Here are some other things to look for when considering carpet replacement:
- Visible signs of old age: Carpet typically has a lifespan of five to 20 years, so if your carpet is older, it may need replacement.
- Signs of significant wear: These signs may include loose threads, undone loops, fading, and crushed pile.
- Unpleasant smells: If you have pets or smokers in the house, your carpet will pick up and hold onto those aromas.
- Uneven thickness: Carpet that feels thinner even if it doesn’t look crushed can be a sign of worn or damaged padding.
- Allergy symptoms: If you or your family notices signs of hay fever out of season, your carpet may be full of allergens, such as dust and dander. If a deep carpet cleaning doesn’t help, replacement may be in order.
- Water damage: Carpeted areas that have experienced flooding usually need to be replaced. Even if you don’t see visible signs of mold or mildew, moisture trapped in the padding or backing can lead to mold growth.
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Benefits of New Carpet
You can update the look of your home’s interior by replacing the carpet, which should help increase the value and make it a more comfortable place to live. Even better, new carpet can actually make your home slightly safer since it will have improved traction and grip. Finally, a new carpet will also add to your home’s insulation and sound absorption.
DIY vs. Professional Carpet Installation
Some carpeting projects may be DIY-friendly, including small jobs and the laying of peel-and-stick carpet tiles. However, large-scale jobs are usually better left to the professionals. If you’re replacing carpet, you’ll have to deal with things like removing old tack strips and scraping up dried adhesive before you can even get around to rolling out, stretching, and securing the new carpet. You’ll need a carpet stretcher and a staple hammer-tacker, and you’ll need to be careful when you cut the carpet so you don’t waste material.
If not properly stretched and secured, carpet can become both an eyesore and a trip hazard. You may also void the carpet’s warranty if you lay it incorrectly. Since labor is usually such a small proportion of the total cost of carpet installation, it’s usually a good idea to bring in a professional service.
How to Save on Carpet Installation Costs
Even if you choose a professional carpet installation service, there are several ways you can cut down on the cost of this service:
- Get multiple quotes to ensure you receive the best price
- Use high-quality carpet padding to extend the life of your carpet
- Select a more durable style of carpet to increase your new carpet’s lifespan
- Remove all furniture from the room yourself
- Take out all old carpet and padding yourself rather than paying for the service
The best carpet for your home is the one that stands up to the amount of foot traffic you anticipate while also fitting your price range and your home’s aesthetics. Take the time to explore some different styles before making your choice.
Homeowners can save money by moving their own furniture or removing old carpet. We recommend professional installation to keep your warranty intact, give your carpet the best look, and extend its lifespan. To get a quote from a carpet installation company near you, use the free quote tool below to connect with professionals in your area.
FAQs About Carpet Installation
Frequently Asked Questions
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