Carpet installation cost guide

Carpeting is an efficient way to give your home a fresh and appealing look without having to perform radical changes. It's not so costly as hardwood flooring and can even help homeowners save on utility bills as it gives warmth to their feet and minimizes heat loss. Carpeting also provides an additional level of comfort and is more environmentally beneficial than many other types of flooring. Installing a carpet in a home, though, is not so straightforward as it might appear and involves a number of price-shaping factors.

Here you will learn about:

Carpet installation is typically performed by professional contractors who have the required equipment and expertise. The cost of material, that is carpet, is the largest budget item. Depending on the fiber and style, carpets may cost from $0.25 to $21.00 per square foot. However, many other specific details influence the total figure in the bill. Among them are the home layout (standard or with many angles), whether furniture removal is required, the condition of the subfloor, and the necessity to install baseboards or thresholds. The removal and cutting costs should be considered as well. The cost range is extremely wide: between $250 and $4,200. The majority of homeowners report spending from $780 to $2,550, with the average value being $1,600.

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Price-related questions

What different types of carpets exist and how much do they cost?

Carpets are essentially distinguished by their fiber and construction style.


The most frequently used carpeting materials include cotton, polyester, nylon, wool, and Olefin. Each of those has their advantages and shortcomings.


Pros: very soft and pleasant to the touch

Cons: quickly fades, expensive, easily absorbs various substances, which results in stains (not good for homes with animals or kids)


Pros: fade, stain, and wear resistant; prevents mold and mildew, anti-allergenic, inexpensive, a wide choice of colors and designs

Cons: can be easily crushed and tracked (poor choice for places with much foot activity), oil stains are hard to remove

Expect to pay from $1.8-4.8 per square foot.


Pros: very strong and durable (good for areas with intensive walking activity), cleans easily, prevents mold and mildew growth, elastic, quickly dries

Cons: can be susceptible to static electricity (although newer nylon carpets are not), may fade and is susceptible to bleach

Nylon is the most popular carpeting material. Its cost can be in the range from $5 to $10 per square foot.


Pros: natural material, looks and feels luxurious, good for high-traffic places, cleans easily, good sound-proofer

Cons: expensive, can become moth-infested without proper maintenance, can only be cleaned with agents containing a certain limit of alkalinity (5.5-8), susceptible to static electricity and fading, can become a source of mold and mildew growth in damp places.

Prepare to pay from $6 to $21 per square foot.


Pros: affordable; stain, bleach, and fade resistant; prevents mold and mildew, very strong and durable, feels like wool

Cons: poor fire-resistance characteristics (melts at 300 degrees Fahrenheit), can be torn when heavy things are hauled across it, bad elasticity, susceptible to oil stains

Expect to pay between $0.60 and $2.30 per square foot.

Construction style

All carpets regardless of their material follow three construction styles (called piles): loop, cut, and cut and loop.


As the name suggests, a loop carpet is produced by threading the fiber through the carpet's spine and back again, forming a loop. That results in a very durable and dense carpet, which is most frequently placed in high-traffic zones. Since its surface is extremely hard, though, a loop-style carpet is difficult to clean. It's also a poor choice for homes with pets since their claws may get caught in the fibers. Several types that are made using the loop style are Berber ($0.60 - $8.70 per square foot), multi-level loop (the price is pattern-specific), and level loop ($1.50 - $4.20 per square foot).


In a carpet made in this style, fibers are threaded through the carpet's spine. Then, a machine neatly trims the long ends of the fibers to an identical height. As a positive feature, a cut-style carpet suits homes with animals since they can move over it without the “claw” issue. A downside is that this style is not good for areas with intensive walking activity. There are several specific styles within the cut style:

  • Plush ($3.60 - $4.60 per square foot)
  • Saxony ($2.10 - $7.10 per square foot)
  • Friezé ($1.10- $4.60 per square foot)
  • Textured ($0.80- $2.10 per square foot)
Cut and loop

This is a mixture of the cut and the loop styles. The result is a carpet with an appealing and unusual pattern and good durability properties. Can be placed in areas with much foot traffic.

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How much does labor cost and what tasks do contractors typically perform?

Although many stores offer customers free or low-fee carpet installation, practice shows that free installation is simply a business trick. Apart from placing carpet in a room, many other tasks may need to be performed. More often than not, customers learn about it when the project has already gone underway. The most frequently reported cost of labor is from $1 to $4 per square yard. This is what tasks that fee may include:

  • Furniture removal: $1-$3 per square yard
  • Installing a Berber-style carpet: $2.5 - $3 per square yard
  • Old carpeting removal and disposal: $1.5 - $4 per square yard and more if your house has several stories.
  • Carpeting stairs: depends on the length, height, and width of the stairs. Fees for the carpeting of a 16-foot staircase including landing may amount from $230 to $820.
  • Preparing the subfloor. If the contractor finds that the subfloor in your room needs repair, you will have to pay a carpenter for installing new plywood and joists (normally $75 per hour as a fee and around $20 for one plywood sheet).
  • Installing end molding. If the flooring in the room adjacent to the one with the new carpet is different, you'll need to have end molding, also known as a carpet reducer, installed. Depending on its material, expect to pay from $1 to $20 per square foot.
  • Installing a threshold. This will be necessary if the carpet ends at your house entrance door. A threshold prevents the carpet from being damaged. Again, the price is determined by the material. On average, be prepared to spend $55.

Information to check

Itemized quote

Make sure the contractor gives you a detailed quote before the work begins. The quote must include each task that will be performed. Every service provider has their own notion of "basic project." Let yours explain what they mean by "basic." Otherwise, you may end up with a couple of unpleasant surprises.

Experience and qualifications

Obviously, you will want a contractor with a successful working record. Ask them for 4-5 references from their previous customers and contact those to learn about the quality of the work.


Let the contractor tell you what tools they use in their work. Most frequently, a power stretcher is absolutely necessary to make carpeting smooth and taut.


Manufacturers provide a warranty for their products. Ask if the contractor offers their own warranty for the services performed and what exactly it includes. That will prevent any misunderstanding if things go awry.


If something happens to an uninsured installer while they’re doing the work in your home, it’s you who will be held liable. So, asking the contractor about the insurance is of utmost importance.

Other frequently asked questions

Can I install a carpet on my own?

If it's broadloom carpeting, installing it requires professional expertise and special equipment like a power stretcher. Otherwise, the quality of the work will be inferior and you'll soon find yourself having to reinstall the carpet.

Is the underlay always necessary?

If the carpet is soft, the underlay will protect it, in addition to increasing the comfort level.

Bottom line

The carpet installation cost depends on a number of factors. While the largest budget item is the carpet itself, you should also consider the cost of labor, which may include additional tasks such as installing end molding, padding, and baseboards, preparing the subfloor, or re-hanging doors. On average, installing carpet may cost you from $780 to $2,550.

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