Carpet Flooring Cost & Installation Price

Carpet Flooring Cost & Installation Price

Whether you want to give your home a fresh new look or you want a durable flooring option for your new home or office, carpet is an excellent choice. Carpet offers warmth and a comfortable plushness that’s truly unmatched by other flooring options. With so many styles and colors, it’s easy to find the right flooring for any space with options available for nearly any budget.

Before you start shopping your local home improvement store or local flooring retailer, it’s a good idea to set your budget and know what to expect in terms of cost before pulling out your wallet. Whether you choose to cut costs by doing the installation yourself or you’d rather hire a professional carpet installer to tackle the task for you, we’re going to break down the related costs for your new carpet.

It’s important to note that these are estimated prices. You may find variances in costs depending on the retailer you choose, the quality and brand of the carpet and materials you purchase, and pricing in your region. As such, these costs should be used as estimates only – your costs may be higher or lower based upon the aforementioned factors.

Cost of Materials

If you plan to install your new carpet yourself, you’ll have to purchase the right materials for the job. In some cases, even if you hire a professional, you may have to supply your own materials and pay for the labor. Whatever the case may be, if you’re purchasing materials, there are a few items you’ll need to purchase to get the job done properly.

Carpet

Of course, the most obvious purchase you’ll make is your carpet. There are a number of factors that affect the price of carpet. This includes the style, the quality of the carpet, the fibers used, and other considerations. Let’s break down these different components and associated costs.

When it comes to materials, there are several different types of carpet to consider.

Nylon is used in more than half of the carpets sold in the U.S. This material is easy to clean and very durable, making it a great choice for busy households with heavy traffic, children, or pets.  Nylon carpet can be prone to static buildup, although anti-static products can help with this issue.

Nylon carpet is available in a variety of price ranges based on the quality of the fibers. Type 6.6 Nylon is premium and is what is used for many high-end brand name carpets. A more budget-friendly option is Type 6 nylon, which is lower quality but easier on the wallet. Nylon carpeting is priced anywhere from around $8 to $45 per square yard.

Polyester is another material used to make carpets and is known for being resistant to fading, mold, and mildew. However, many carpets made of polyester show wear more quickly than other materials, making this a poor choice for high-traffic areas. Expect to pay around $6 to $15 per square yard for polyester carpeting.

Polypropylene, or olefin, is a material that’s growing in popularity. It is resistant to staining, fading, and moisture.

This type of carpet is extremely durable and great for high-traffic areas. In many cases, it is a more affordable alternative to nylon carpet. This type of carpet ranges from $8 per square yard on the low end to $25 per square yard for higher-end products.

Wool is a premium carpet material, so it is on the more expensive end. However, it is extremely durable and resistant to stains, so it can last for many years with proper care.

However, static, fading, and moisture absorption are among the issues you may encounter with this type of carpet. Wool is by far the most expensive material, costing anywhere from $40 to $100 per square yard.

Carpet Padding

Once you’ve selected your carpeting, you won’t just install it over your subfloor. Instead, you’ll have to use carpet padding underneath. This carpet padding acts as a cushion that makes your carpet more comfortable and helps your flooring last longer.

The price of carpet padding varies based on quality. Cheaper carpet padding is more budget-friendly, but may not be as comfortable as a more expensive carpet pad. You can also lengthen the lifespan of your flooring with a high-quality product that requires a higher initial investment.

On average, expect to spend around $3 to $4 per square yard for your new carpet padding.

Tools & Supplies

If you’re making your carpet installation a DIY project, you need to have the right tools for the job. Some tools may already be in your tool box, but other specialty tools will need to be purchased or rented.

One of these specialty tools is a knee kicker. A knee kicker not only helps you install your flooring like a professional, but it also makes the job easier and saves time. You use it to add tension to the carpet so you can pull it closer to walls and affix it with a tack strip or tackless strip.

A knee kicker is best for installing wall-to-wall carpeting in smaller rooms, closets, and on stairs. You should budget anywhere from $25 to $150 for a knee kicker.

A more cost-efficient way to get a knee kicker is by renting one from your local home improvement store or equipment shop. Rental prices start at around $15 per day, although you may get a bigger discount with a longer rental time.

Another tool that is useful for installing your new carpet is a power stretcher. This tool is similar to a knee kicker but is best for stretching carpet in large rooms.

Basic power stretchers may cost as little as $50 or as much as several hundred dollars for a professional-quality tool. You can also rent these from your local equipment shop or home improvement store at prices starting at around $30 per day.

There are also some smaller tools you will need for your carpet installation. A claw hammer – which costs anywhere from a couple of dollars to $20 or more – is one tool that you need to purchase if you don’t already own one. You use this to nail down tackless strips and install transition molding, which we’ll discuss a little later.

Another tool that you’ll need is a carpet knife. As the name suggests, this is used to cut carpet quickly and easily. You could spend around $5 for a basic utility knife or $15 to $20 for a specialty carpet knife.

You use tack strips around the perimeter of a room to hold carpet in place. Another option is that you could purchase tackless strips, which you nail down. You can purchase 100 strips for around $25.

You’ll also need a staple gun to staple the carpet padding down to the tack strip. A low-end carpet stapler costs around $30 with professional-quality guns costing $100 or more.

Unless all floors in your home or business will have carpet, you’ll need to purchase transition molding. This provides a seamless transition from carpet to wood, tile, or other types of flooring. The cost of this trim varies widely and can be as low as $1 per square foot to $30 per square foot.

Adding Up Your Costs

This chart outlines the potential costs associated with installing your carpet yourself based on the type of material you select. Prices in this chart are based on the cost of a 500 square foot project.

Carpet Material Carpet Cost (per sq. foot) Padding Cost (per sq. foot) Tools & Supplies Cost Total Price (500 square feet)
Nylon $1 to $5 $1 to $2 $78 – $895 $1078 to $4,395
Polyester $1 to $3 $1 to $2 $78 – $895 $1,078 to $3,395
Olefin $2 to $4 $1 to $2 $78 – $895 $1,578 to $3,895
Wool $4 to $12 $1 to $2 $78 – $895 $2,578 to $7,895

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Cost of Professional Installation

If you aren’t that handy, are short on time, or want to ensure your carpet is installed properly, you may want to bypass the self-installation and hire a professional carpet installer for the job. Professional installation typically costs much more than installing your own flooring, but there’s less work and time invested on your end.

Again, it’s important to keep in mind that these costs are simply estimates and may be higher or lower based on the contractor you select, whether carpet is included in the price, the complexity and size of the job, and other factors.

However, most homeowners should expect to pay around $60 to $110 per square yard for their carpet installation, including the cost of materials, supplies, and the carpet itself.

If you’ve already purchased your carpet, padding, and other materials, you only need to pay for labor. Labor costs for installing carpet vary widely, but expect to pay somewhere around $36 to $45 per square yard for professional installation.

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Carpet Cleaning & Maintenance

Once you’ve installed your carpet, unfortunately, the expenses don’t stop. However, with a few small investments, you can prolong the life of your carpet to last for many years, even with children, pets, or lots of foot traffic.

One thing that many consumers do to protect their investment is have their carpets treated with a protector that helps protect your flooring from stains. A smaller can of protectant costs around $10, or you can purchase gallon-size containers for about $80.

You’ll also need a carpet vacuum cleaner to keep your floors looking their best. You can purchase a basic model for around $30, or you can invest in a high-quality vacuum cleaner that works on multiple floor surfaces, picks up pet hair and dander, and other premium features. Expect to pay several hundred dollars for one of these models.

You’ll also need to consider deep-cleaning options. You can purchase a can of carpet cleaner for around $5 to $10 at discount and home improvement stores. You can also invest in a steam cleaner for carpet, which can refresh your carpets and can even be used on furniture upholstery, draperies, and more.

If you decide to purchase a carpet cleaner, expect to pay anywhere from $100 to $500 or more for a professional-quality model. Many home improvement stores also offer carpet cleaning rentals.

This is a more cost-efficient option if you don’t want to invest in purchasing your own cleaner. Expect to pay around $25 to $30 for a one-day rental.

You can also hire a professional to tackle the job for you. Professionals provide their own cleaning supplies in most cases. The cost of hiring a professional starts at around $30 per hour but can easily climb much higher.

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Final Thoughts

One of the best things about carpet is that it fits within any budget. If you’re budget-conscious, you can purchase lower-quality carpet, rent your tools, and can update your space at a very affordable price.

If you have more money to spend on your renovation or new installation, you might want to consider investing in higher-quality carpet and supplies or adding professional installation costs to your total project budget.

Remember the old saying, though. You often get what you pay for. Even if you’re on a budget, make sure to pay close attention to the quality of the product you’re purchasing or the reputation of the professional you’re hiring.

After all, your initial investment may be lower, but you could end up paying more in the long run. Cheaper quality carpets generally don’t last very long (about five years on average), while a more expensive but better quality product can easily last for 10 to 15 years or longer, even in very busy households.

Likewise, hiring a cheaper professional may save you money at first, but improper installation may result in carpet with a shorter lifespan. While you always want to set a budget and stick to it as closely as possible, it’s also a wise idea to fully evaluate the pros and cons of each product you’re considering to ensure that you don’t just get the lowest price but the best bang for your buck.

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Nikki Seppala

About Nikki Seppala

Nikki is an experienced writer and editor and has worked in industries that range from home improvement to entrepreneurship. For over 10 years, she's used her unique talent and love of the written word to uncover the stories that people want to read.

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