Here at Flooring Clarity, we spend a lot of time discussing flooring like hardwood, laminate, and luxury vinyl flooring. While all of those materials are excellent options for your home, there’s only one style of flooring to consider when you value comfort. Carpet is still the best choice when you want something warm and cushy underfoot, but the potential cost of installing new carpeting can be intimidating.
If you’re leery of carpeting showrooms and prefer to do your due diligence online, our guide has all the answers. We’re going to discuss all the factors that separate high-quality carpeting from the budget class. We are also going to break down the cost of installing carpeting yourself vs. bringing in a professional to do the job.
Carpet Cost Factors
Compared to other styles of flooring, carpet is relatively cheap to install from a labor standpoint. That means most of the cost lies in the material itself, along with the amount of work needed to prepare your flooring for new carpet. That means you need to understand what goes into the material that will cover your floor including the types of fibers available along with other factors that impact the price.
Types of Carpet
If you’ve never looking into purchasing carpeting for your home, you may be surprised to find that there are two types of carpet available to consumers today. We’re not talking about the fiber, but how they are installed as you can choose from traditional carpet or carpet tiles.
Unless you just need to run a small area of carpeting in an office or room of your home, carpet tiles aren’t the best option for most consumers. While they look good and are easy to repair, they aren’t budget-friendly to use throughout your home.
Carpet is a multi-layered type of flooring, just like laminate or engineered wood flooring. While the backing layer is important, it all comes down to the fibers for most consumers. There are five popular fibers commonly used by most manufacturers with Nylon, Polyester, Wool, Triexta, and Polypropylene.
The type of fiber may be the most expensive factor that goes into producing carpeting, but every manufacturer has a technology or technique they use as well. From StainMaster protection that’s geared towards pets to fibers that will never fade, there is a company out there with a solution for your needs.
Those treatments will increase the cost of your carpeting, although there’s no way to gauge how much. The main thing to keep in mind is that some manufacturers use their own technologies while others simply coat their fibers with chemicals from DuPont and others. Stain resistance isn’t something that should be overlooked, but don’t overpay as some fibers can handle stains and fading naturally.
While we aren’t going to discuss the differences between Sisal and Frieze carpeting, the style of your carpet is the next biggest factor in its overall price. Patterned carpets will bring a premium, and you’re certainly going to pay more for a textured Saxony style than simple loop carpeting. We feel this is an area that largely boils down to personal preference, but things like pile height and density definitely matter when it comes to the cost of carpet.
With thousands of styles, colors, and textures available, it’s impossible to predict the price of carpet as everyone has a different taste and style. Budget is usually a concern for most homeowners as well, so we’ve put together a chart that gives examples of carpet cost from both premium and budget-friendly brands.
To understand how much carpet you need for a room, you’ll need to multiply its length by its width. The cost to carpet a 10 x 12 room will be different than the average cost to carpet a 1000 sq. ft. house, so measure carefully before using our table to estimate a price for your project.
$2.58 sq. ft.
$4.44 sq. ft.
$11.58 sq. ft.
$3.59 sq. ft.
$1.74 sq. ft.
$1.59 sq. ft.
$6.31 sq. ft.
$4.47 sq. ft.
Carpet installation can be a pretty intense process, especially when old flooring starts coming up, and you find your couch sitting in the kitchen. It’s also a style of flooring that you can install yourself if you are willing to put in the work. With that in mind, here’s what goes into installing carpeting yourself and what you should expect when hiring a professional.
The Cost to Install Carpet Yourself
Carpet installation can be a pretty intense process, especially when old flooring starts coming up, and you find your couch sitting in the kitchen. It’s also a style of flooring that you can install yourself if you are willing to put in the work. With that in mind, here’s what goes into installing carpeting yourself and then we will introduce what you should expect when hiring a professional.
Installing carpet in your home is a lot easier than it used to be thanks to new tools and materials. The cost of carpet remains the same whether you buy it or it comes from the installer, although some may get a slight discount compared to flooring and hardware stores. Most of your money will go into supplies and tools, most of which you’ll have to buy unless you happen to have carpet stretchers and bonding irons lying around.
Tools of the Trade
Unless you plan to glue down carpet to the subfloor outdoors or on a slab, you’re going to need tack strips. It’s the most common installation method, and while they look painful, they will make things simple. They are sold as singles, in multipacks or in big boxes, and typically run around a couple of bucks each. You’re going to need more than a handful…
A carpet or utility knife is something you may have, but duckbill napping shears you’ll have to buy. Notched trowels, seam rollers, and carpet row cutters are relatively inexpensive as well, although a good seaming iron or carpet knee kicker can set you back $30 to $40. Carpet tuckers, staplers, and hammers are also common and won’t break the bank.
There are two specialty tools you may need to rent, however. A carpet stretcher can run between $50 to $150 depending on the size and quality and is ideal for larger rooms. Carpet rollers are handy as well, and something you will need to rent if you plan on using carpet.
The first thing that goes when carpet is installed is the baseboard. It can be an unexpected expense for homeowners as well, and one that can cost anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. Any floor vents for your HVAC system may need to be replaced as well, but your main extra cost will come in the form of carpet padding.
Most homeowners focus on the fiber and feel of carpet as they walk on it, but the padding beneath the carpet is critical. Carpet padding can add cushioning underfoot and provide a bit of insulation. That said, too much cushion beneath new carpet can make your footing unstable, so you don’t necessarily need a plump pad if you plan on buying thick shag carpeting.
Those are just three of the most common options as there are also memory foam carpet pads and dozens of hybrid solutions available. Keep in mind, the warranty of your carpet pad should match or exceed the warranty of your new carpet.
Carpet Padding Prices
$0.81 sq. ft.
$0.37 sq. ft.
$0.50 sq. ft.
$1.00 sq ft.
$0.52 sq. ft.
$1.59 sq. ft.
Carpet Installation Problems
When installing any type of flooring, it’s always best to expect the unexpected. With carpet, that comes into play when you remove your current flooring more often than not. You can install carpet directly over some types of flooring, but tile, luxury vinyl, and old carpet can cause some serious headaches.
Most of the problems with carpet installation actually come after the carpet is down. It could be a light case of bubbling after a deep cleaning or mild buckling if you use the wrong type of padding. While we can’t help you assess problems that haven’t occurred yet, the biggest issue you could face would be subfloor repair, which can run anywhere from several hundred to thousands of dollars.
Professional Carpet Flooring Installation Cost
When you hire a professional to install your carpet, the installation cost per square foot may vary wildly from one quote to the next. Three things typically make up the price as it all comes down to the carpet you choose, the type of padding you want beneath that carpet, and the cost of labor for the job. There won’t be a breakdown of carpet stretching costs on any invoice, so focus on those three key areas.
While we have helped you find the cost of material and touched on carpet padding prices, labor can be tricky. You’ll pay a cost per square foot of $1 to $3 for carpet installers to lay carpet, but the price varies depending on your location, the size of the job, and how much prep work is involved.
It’s obviously easier for them to install carpet in a newly constructed home than to remove and replace carpet in a home that’s lived in. When you factor in the cost of carpet and padding, the cost to install carpet rises to around $4 a square foot on the cheap end and can go beyond $8 per square foot if you want something fancy.
With any project, there is a chance you’ll run across something that will increase the overall cost. The one major issue you can experience with installing carpet yourself will also plague a professional – your subfloor.
Depending on who you hire to install your carpet, they may charge an additional fee for removal and hauling your old carpeting or flooring away. In most cases, it’s included in the price, but with older homes where there’s a chance of lead paint or asbestos, the removal cost can get expensive.
Spongy floors will be even spongier with new carpet, but replacing plywood or securing joists isn’t something most carpet installers will tackle. You will more than likely need to hire another type of professional to deal with those issues.
Furniture removal can be extra as well, and if it’s something unique, expensive, or extremely heavy, they may not move it for you. You also need to consider any permanent fixtures that could need to come up and along with molding, vents and other things they may offer to replace for you. Stairs can cost extra as well, but we’ve also seen plenty of carpet installers include those for free.
If you’d like to get a quote from a carpet installer in your area, our tool can help you find the right professional for the job.
Best Places to Purchase Carpet for your Home
When you want an unlimited selection of styles and colors, going to a flooring store with a showroom full of carpet samples will be the best option for most homeowners. While you can browse colors and styles online until your eyes cross, you really need to see and feel the carpet in person. It’s also a good idea to bring home samples and put them down to get an idea of how certain shades may look in a room.
Depending on where you reside, there should be a flooring or carpet store within quick driving distance, but if there’s not, there are other options. You can always buy online, although we feel Home Depot and Lowes are usually the best two options locally for budget to mid-range carpeting when you don’t have access to a chain store.
With Home Depot, you’ll find over 1000 styles of carpeting online along with around a nice selection of carpet tile. Most of the carpeting they carry is made using polyester fibers, but there are around plenty of styles available in both nylon and triexta as well, along with a handful of options in wool.
As you might expect, most of Home Depot's carpeting is branded under the Home Decorators Collection. LifeProof and TrafficMaster are also well-represented. Overall, you Home Depot has a nice selection online but a fairly sparse selection in local stores brand-wise. You can find carpeting as low as $0.57 or over $10.00 per square foot from Home Depot, depending on your needs.
Lowes handles things a bit different than Home Depot when it comes to carpet. While both stores have a similar amount of products online and in-stores, Lowe’s focuses on larger brands like StainMaster, Shaw, Mohawk, and Phenix. Most of the carpeting through Lowes is listed at Nylon, and while there are hundreds of polyester options there are only a handful of styles that use triexta or olefin fibers.
Whether you want Berber carpet, tiles with a simple pattern, or something plush and comfy, Lowes has a style and fiber for you. They also have a nice range of prices across their product lines, considering StainMaster starts at around $0.60 per square foot, and there are hundreds of styles in the $2.00 range.
Green Building Supply
If you prefer natural fibers to syndetic ones and want to qualify for LEED credits, Green Building Supply is where you should turn for carpeting online. They only carry carpet made from Wool or Wool blends along with an interesting blend called Ecco Tex.
GBS carries four brands with J Mish, Unique Carpets, Nature’s Carpets, and Earth Weave. Their high-quality carpeting is mainly in the loop pile class due to the fibers used but is made in the Netherlands, United States, Belgium, or New Zealand. Carpet from Green Building Supply ranges from $3.96 to $46.80 per square foot.
Regardless of whom you decide to buy from, remember to keep shipping charges in mind. Some companies will ship for free if you buy a certain amount of carpeting, while others will provide free installation if you meet their square footage requirements.
Buying carpet is a bit more complex than flooring materials like linoleum or porcelain tile. While the cost of carpet can be cheaper than other styles of flooring, you get what you pay for, so it pays to know what type of carpet is right for your needs. If you’re still on the fence about fibers or padding, our carpet buying guide will help you make an informed decision.