Carpet Installation Cost

How much does it cost to install new carpeting?

It is not unusual to see advertisements in many home improvement stores that state that installation of any carpeting purchased in the store will be done for a fixed price, or even free of charge. This is something that anyone who is hoping to upgrade their interior spaces should investigate, but they should also be aware of hidden fees too.

ColorYourCarpet.com indicates that there is "no such thing as free installation" and goes on to illustrate the many additional costs that can be unexpectedly tacked on to a free or fixed-rate install. They indicate that most residential installations will require from $3 to $6 per yard strictly for labor. Additional costs tend to include:

  • Fees for moving and returning furnishings which might add up to $2 per square yard;
  • Extra charges for removing and discarding pre-existing carpeting which could see the rate increase by an additional $4 per yard;
  • Fees assigned to the installation of "Berber" rugs which can run at $3 per yard; and
  • Cutting charges issued when a room is not an uninterrupted rectangle or square.

When added up this could mean that a fixed-rate installation of $5 per yard is actually around $18 per square yard, or more! This is the reason that contract must be drafted with the installer, and every price point identified and accepted.

For this discussion we will consider the materials and costs of a carpet installation in a standard family room. This is a room measuring 16'x16' in size (256 square feet or ) and having no unusual angles or special cutting requirements.

Can it be a DIY project? Not really, it takes some know-how and specialized tools to properly install a rug and padding. It also requires a high-powered carpet stretcher to be used as well, and most homeowners do not already possess such equipment.

Cost breakout

The average costs and materials associated with this project include:

  • Selecting the carpet - carpeting can cost as little as $2 per square foot, or as high as $100 per square yard, but the average carpet and pad will cost between $30 and $40 per square yard - for a total of around $995 for the carpeting alone. There is also the need to select a carpet pad as well, and these too come in a range of qualities and styles, but most are included in the cost of the carpet;
  • Installing - for the project discussed, the family has moved their own furnishings, but has accepted the additional $4 per square yard fees for removal and disposal. With a base rate of $5 per yard, the total installment fee is $252; and
  • Consider new moldings, thresholds, and baseboard replacement as part of the project as well. This is something that may also require a carpenter to complete, but will only increase the average budget by roughly $250.

Additional considerations and costs

  • Arrange for a carpenter to assess the condition of the subfloor prior to the carpet install. If weaknesses are discovered, the repairs must be made in advance of the carpet installation. This might mean that the carpenter will install new joists or plywood before the carpet pad or tack strips are installed. Carpenters require roughly $45 per hour, and plywood sheets of 4'x8' cost only $22 each.