Carpet Installation Cost: The Complete Guide

Carpets offer a cozy factor, but it pays to explore all your options – and costs – before you pick one.

An installer is using a utility knife to trim a section of new stair carpet for installation.
Image: BanksPhotos/getty

Certain areas in a home beg to be carpeted. Bedrooms, living rooms, and playrooms are all high traffic areas where people want to feel cozy and comfortable. Carpet manufacturers have stepped up their game in carpet design options and durability. So, if you’ve been favoring hardwood floors, you might want to give carpet another look.

You can start by exploring types of carpet and if carpet installation costs are worthwhile.

Types of Carpet

Each type of carpet material has specific pros, cons, and costs.

Synthetic Carpet vs. Wool Carpet

Synthetic carpets are among the most common and cost-effective types of carpeting. Made from synthetic plastic fibers, nylon, olefin, or acrylic, all have the advantages of being hypoallergenic, stain resistant, mostly fade resistant, and easy to clean, while requiring minimal upkeep. Some synthetic carpets can even be recycled. 

Despite the benefits, synthetic carpets usually don’t last as long as their woolen carpet counterparts, which can last a lifetime with proper care.

Wool carpets are made from sheep’s wool and are natural and more durable. The disadvantages are they’re more vulnerable to stains and they require more upkeep. Without appropriate cleaning and maintenance, a wool carpet could attract moths or other pests.

While wool carpets are generally more expensive than synthetic, their longevity can add value. 

Loop Pile vs. Cut Pile Carpet

The carpet pile refers to the surface of the carpet. Cut pile is more common and is made by cutting the fibers so that they stand even and upright.

Loop pile carpets are made without cutting loops, so, they’re more durable. They are most common on stairs, as doormats, and in heavy traffic areas.

In many cases, loop pile and cut pile carpets of the same color, material, etc., will be approximately the same price. 

Carpet Tiles

A square section of a blue carpet cut out in the course of carpet installation.
Image: zorazhuang/getty

Carpet tiles or carpet squares are smaller sections of carpet that homeowners can mix and match. Compared to wall-to-wall carpet, tiles are easier to move, lift, and install, plus they're simpler and less expensive to replace if damaged, making them a popular choice for high-traffic and spill-prone areas like playrooms. But carpet tiles are also more susceptible to fraying and could create a broken-up look in a room.

During installation, there's often less waste from carpet tiles since they require minimal cutting. That may help installers finish a job more quickly. DIYers may be tempted to lay carpet tiles themselves, but it's important to first check out carpet installation costs to see if the savings is worth it, especially if old carpet needs to be removed or rooms have odd angles or corners.

What Factors Impact Carpet Installation Cost?

The cost of installing carpet varies based on factors such as labor costs in your area, room size, the type of carpet, and the amount of carpet you need.

Carpet installation is typically charged by the square foot or square yard, or quoted as an hourly rate. The average cost of carpet installation for a 250 sq ft room ranges from $1470 to $1987 in materials, labor, and job related supplies, according to Homewyse.

However, if you’re making a substantial carpet purchase, you may be able to negotiate free installation in exchange for purchasing a certain amount of carpet.

Many carpet installations take less than a day, but wool carpet takes longer to install than synthetic because it must acclimate to the room temperature.  Carpet tiles are quicker to install, and labor could cost less.

When reaching out to a pro, ask about the complete cost of installation, including:

  • Previous flooring removal and disposal
  • Furniture removal
  • Labor
  • Carpet style with padding
  • Size and shape of room(s)

Features That Impact New Carpet Cost

The following features can affect the price of carpet material. Any enhancements that help protect a carpet from stains, wear, or bacteria, will likely increase the cost.

Stain Resistance

This refers to a carpet’s resistance to mud and dirt as well as things like liquid spills and shoe prints. 

Wear Resistance

Carpet wear refers to the number of carpet fibers lost or damaged from abrasions like foot traffic. The higher the wear resistance, the longer the carpet will last.

Bacteria Resistance

Bacteria and mold can grow deep below the surface of carpets, especially when the carpet is exposed to moisture or not regularly cleaned. Carpeting can be treated to be antimicrobial, so that such contaminants can’t live there. The treatment uses metallic agents like silver or woven threads that make liquid spills remain on the surface and clean up more easily.

Alternatives to Carpet Flooring

Hardwood and tile are two of the most popular alternatives to carpet flooring. They tend to cost more because of materials and labor, but they can also add value to the home and don’t need to be replaced as often as carpet does.

If your room has been exposed to water in the past or you’re looking for a hypoallergenic flooring option, you may want to consider carpet alternatives.

Is Carpet Installation Worth the Cost?

The installation cost for a new carpet may be worth the installation cost for three reasons:

  1. Makes your home more comfortable. Whether you’d like a different color, material, or feel for the carpet in your house, your home should feel like home to you. The comfort and happiness you may feel after installing a new carpet is hard to put a price on.
  2.  Increases the market value of your home. If you're planning to sell your home soon, buyers will likely appreciate not having to install new carpets themselves.
  3. Upgrades your living space at a low price. Creating your ideal living space doesn’t need to break the bank. Carpet tends to be more affordable than hardwood and is on par with tile, so you may get the look you want for less.

Which Type of Carpet Is Right for You?

A chart providing a quick look at the pros and cons of different carpet solutions
Image: Maggie Stuart for HouseLogic

Installing an expensive carpet, like wool, may not be the right choice for someone who lives with messy pets or children or would simply rather not worry about the upkeep of an expensive carpet. But if money and upkeep are less of an issue, you may want to look at a wool carpet.

Cost-effective synthetic carpets are a better option for homes that get a lot of natural light or experience heavy foot traffic. Once the kids get older and the pets are house-trained, the old carpets can be recycled and replaced with higher-quality carpets.

If you’re on the fence about which type of carpet to choose, remember, nothing has to be permanent, and carpets and other flooring are being improved all the time.

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