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What is the Cost of Carpet Installation? (Use Our Calculator)

Man installing carpeting

There are many variables that go into the overall cost of carpet installation.

The best way to get some ideas of how much your carpet installation will cost, including the cost of carpet, padding and labor is to use our carpet cost calculator below.

Carpet Cost Calculator

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All about the cost of carpet installation

Carpet is just one of the many flooring options you have available for your home. Tile, vinyl, hardwood, and laminate are just some of the others. For most people, the choice boils down to carpet vs. hardwood.

When choosing carpet for your home, you need to consider a few different options. First of all, you will need to know how much area you are going to need to be covered. The square footage of your floor space will determine the overall cost of the project.

Subflooring and padding are also required for carpet installation. These costs will need to be accounted for in your budget as well.

Smaller costs will also need to make an appearance in your design budget. Things like tack strips, baseboards, furniture moving and old material removal all have an impact on your budget.

This guide will show you the different types of carpet you can choose from as well as guide you through the costs and various services offered for installation.

1. Costs

Square footage is the overall price determining factor. You need to know if you are carpeting a 144-square foot room (12’ x 12’) or a 256-square foot room (16’ x 16’) as this can be the difference of $112 to $900 for your budget.

When you are looking for a carpet installer, you should always get a minimum of three different bids. These bids should cover every aspect of the installation including material, labor, special cuts, removal of old materials and furniture moving.

Some of these options you can do yourself to help reduce costs. Moving furniture, for example, is something you can do before the installation date. This can save you a few hundred dollars or more.

The average size room is 12 feet by 12 feet or 144 square feet. Depending on the type of carpet you choose and the thickness of the padding and subfloor types, the average installation cost is between $700 and $2,500.

2. Factors

Several factors go into planning, designing and budgeting for a carpet installation. You should be aware of all of them so you can plan accordingly and won’t have any surprises when it comes time to pay the bill.

A. Furniture Moving

You can’t remove and lay carpet when your furniture is still on top of it. The installer will need a clear room to pull up the old carpet and padding and install the new.

Most carpet installation companies will offer to move the furniture for you for an added fee. This fee, on average, will run about $4 per yard or just over $1 per square foot.

You can save this money by moving the furniture yourself. If you are unable to move the furniture, you should expect this charge to appear on your budget and final bill.

B. Subfloor

The subfloor is the mounting surface under the carpet and pad and above the concrete foundation. This is usually done by a carpenter using sheets of plywood. You won’t always have to replace your subfloor when installing new carpet, but you need to consider it as an option.

The subfloor will wear out over time. The plywood can become broken, splintered or crumble. It will absorb moisture from below and the spills from above and over time will break down.

Once the old carpet and pad are removed, you should inspect the subfloor yourself for wear and tear. If you are unsure of its durability, calling a carpenter for an inspection is a wise idea.

Most carpenters will charge an average of $1000 to $3000 for subfloor installation.

C. Padding and Tack Strips

Padding is essential to carpet installation. Without the padding, the carpet will not have a plush or bouncy feeling, and your subfloor will eventually wear the carpet down from the bottom side.

Most contractors will include padding in the cost of the carpet. You are not required to install new padding with the carpet, but it is recommended. You will also have options for the padding material and thickness.

The thicker the padding, the softer your carpet will feel, but that extra padding thickness will cost you more per square foot.

Tack strips are also generally included in the carpet cost. Sometimes they are not. You should inspect your bid to see if new tack strips are included.

Tack strips are small pieces of wood that attach to the subfloor with nails. The top of the tack strip has a series of small nails that the carpet will be mounted to. These strips will run along the baseboards and entrance edges to the carpeted rooms.

As with padding, tack strips don’t always need to be replaced. However, you should inspect existing strips for bent nails, loose mounting, and mold or mildew, replacing as needed.

D. Removal of Old Materials

Once the old carpet and padding are removed from the home, and the new padding and carpet put in, the contractor is done with his job and will leave your home. If you don’t plan for the removal of the old materials, you may find them left in your yard.

It is common for installers to remove and bundle the carpet and padding to take with them when they go, for a fee. Disposal fees should be budgeted in and can range as much as $1 per square foot. In general, though, this will be a flat fee that will appear in the bid.

E. Special Cuts and Stairs

When installers bid on your project, they will look for any non-square areas. These areas are considered special cuts and will require extra attention and skills to install the carpet perfectly. Special cuts come at an extra cost.

In general, that cost will be between $0.50 and $3 depending on the complexity and number of cuts needed.

Stairs are also an extra cost as these take more precise cutting and installing to cover the stairs the right way. Stairs are considered a specialty installation and will cost more in labor than a regular floor install.

How much will depend on the number of stairs and if you are doing a full coverage or a top coverage. For your budget, you can expect to pay an extra $1 to $3 per yard for the labor.

3. Types of Carpet

Carpet comes in a wide variety of styles, patterns, colors, and fibers. Choosing the right one for the area is crucial for your overall budget.

High traffic areas will benefit from different carpet types than low traffic areas. High plush will be stomped down over time and will lose its appeal. Knowing the different types of carpet and materials will help determine which carpet is best for you.

A. Loop or Cut?

Loop pile carpets are among the most popular styles. When the carpet is made, the fibers are looped from the bottom side to the top side and back again. This gives the pile an even texture and a stronger density.

Loop pile carpets are more resistant to stains and damage because the loops don’t absorb spills as much as cut ends will.

A cut pile is plusher than a loop pile. Cut pile carpets have the ends of the fibers cut off at an even level to allow the carpet to move and flow underfoot. This gives a softer feel but can become worn and damaged quicker than loop pile.

B. Berber

Berber carpet is a carpet that requires special mention. Berber is one of the most widely used carpet piles around today, but it costs a lot more than any other option.

The reason for this is the material used for the Berber pile. It is a tight pile that withstands heavy foot traffic, stains and wears. It also requires special cutting, special padding, and a more difficult install.

The padding must be denser and thinner than the average padding. This padding will cost an extra $0.50 to $1 per square foot. The cutting must be done with skilled hands and special tools to ensure the pile isn’t ruined. Labor costs for Berber pile can add as much as $3 per square foot to install.

Depending on the material you choose for the Berber, you can end up paying quite a bit. Wool Berber is the most expensive option and will run you up to $15 per square foot, where all other carpeting and pile options will be less than $4 on average.

C. Nylon

Nylon carpet is the most common carpet fiber in use today. It is sturdy and will withstand moderate to high foot traffic. It is also available in any color or pattern you can imagine.

Nylon is also very easy to clean. This makes it ideal for homes with small children and pets. High traffic durable and stain resistant, nylon is in use in more than 65% of homes.

D. Polyester

Polyester fibers are known and used because of their resistance to fading and wear. Polyester will last longer than nylon, and the colors won’t fade over time.

Because of these two factors, polyester is growing in popularity and being used in more and more homes across the country.

Polyester is also naturally mold and mildew resistant and is considered a non-allergen. This is beneficial to homes with allergy sufferers. However, polyester still has some flaws. The variation of fiber quality from brand to brand makes it hard to determine if you are getting a good quality fiver or not.

High pile and loose twisting fibers will bend, break and wear down faster than they should. It is not recommended to use polyester in high traffic areas.

E. Olefin

Olefin is a manufactured fiber that is incredibly resistant to moisture, fading and mold and mildew. Sun fading is basically non-existent because the colors are added during the chemical creation of the fiber instead of topically dyed like polyester or nylon.

It is one of the most durable carpet materials available and is used primarily in very high traffic areas. Because it is a manufactured fiber, it is also less expensive than nylon.

Olefin is growing in popularity and is now seen in over 30% of homes.

F. Wool

Wool fibers are arguably the softest and finest carpet fibers in use today. It is considered a premium fiber and will cost more than the other options.

Wool carpets have an extravagant feel and look and are highly durable. Wool carpets will last a long while in medium to high traffic areas. However, they are not without their downsides.

Wool is a natural fiber and as such will absorb moisture. This can lead to mold and mildew build up which may cause allergy sufferers problems. It is not recommended for use in high moisture areas such as basements or bathrooms.

Wool is also easily faded and in sunlight will show fading a wear more readily than the other fiber options.

4. In Conclusion

When deciding on what type of carpet to purchase for your home, you should establish a budget and try to stick with it. You should understand the traffic that will be on the carpet and choose a material that will hold up under the conditions it will be in.

You should consider all of the options that go into carpet installation. From the subfloor inspection to the maintenance of the final product, every aspect should be accounted for. If you need help moving your furniture, your installer will do it for an added fee.

You may also want to pay for the removal of the old carpet or flooring materials to save you from having to gather it up and dispose of yourself.

When replacing a carpet, check the padding and ensure it isn’t too stained or worn and can be reused. The ability to reuse padding, tack strips and subflooring will save you a few hundred dollars for the install.

You should also expect to pay more for specialty cuts and stairways if you have them in your home.

All in all, once the carpet is installed, you will have years of service from your flooring and a style that brings out the best of your home.


Thank you for your interest in our carpet cost calculator.

The results of this calculator are NOT a professional quote. This is a free online carpet cost calculator that provides an APPROXIMATE cost. This calculator is intended to be used merely as a guideline to give you an idea of how much a deck may cost according to select variables, materials and sizes.