How Much Does It Cost to Install New Carpeting?
Get free estimates from carpet installers near you
Carpet Installation Cost Guide
Updated: January 24, 2024
When choosing new flooring for the home, 83 percent of homeowners want durability, according to Fixr’s 2022 Flooring Trends report, but that doesn’t mean carpet is out. Thirty-three percent of homeowners want wall-to-wall carpet in their bedrooms.
When compared to the cost of more popular options like hardwood and laminate, carpet is the most economical choice. The cost of carpet installation ranges from $1.36 to $13.58 per square foot, on average, for labor and materials.
Below, we lay out how much it will cost to install carpet in your home, the factors that affect these costs, and any extras you may want to consider.
Square foot costs to install carpeting
National average cost
$1.36 to $13.58
Factors that can influence carpet installation cost
The carpet alone typically costs from $1.11 to $12.60 per square foot, with some high-end brands costing even more. In addition, the padding adds another $.35 to $1.14 and labor another $.74 to $1.17 per square foot, on average.
When shopping for carpets, you’ll find that advancements in manufacturing have created options like never before. Stain-resistance, low volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and allergen-free are just some of the features you can find in today's carpets. These features, coupled with other options, all affect which end of the price ranges your choices will fall.
Below, we look at these options more in-depth.
There are many different carpet materials to choose from, each with its pros and cons. The carpet’s material influences its cost, durability, longevity, and sustainability.
For instance, nylon and triexta (a synthetic fiber similar to polyester) are economical, easy to clean, and resist mold and mildew. Triexta sets itself apart from nylon as the more eco-friendly version because its formula includes some plant materials.
Homeowners on a budget may choose polyester or olefin (polypropylene) carpet for its affordability and wide range of options. Still, they wear faster than other materials and are harder to clean. While wool carpet is popular for those who prefer eco-friendly, natural fibers over synthetic materials, it is expensive, prone to mold and mildew, and requires special care.
The way carpet fibers are presented or configured determines their type. Trying to keep straight all the different names could make your head spin, mainly because their definitions sound similar. For instance, the fibers could be looped, cut, or a combination of both. Textured carpet has a combination cut at different levels. Shag carpeting has very long-cut fibers that lay haphazardly. Each carpet style looks, feels, and wears differently. These differences make some types appropriate for high-traffic areas and others more suited to low-traffic ones.
Carpet types are categorized into three different varieties: cut pile, loop pile, and cut loop. These three types can often be combined into one carpet. For example, the carpet fibers could be looped, cut, or a combination of both. Textured carpets have a combination cut at different levels, while shag carpeting has long-cut fibers that lay haphazardly.
Each carpet style looks, feels, and wears differently. These differences can play a key part in choosing carpeting for the more high-traffic and low-traffic areas of your home.
- Level loop carpet is constructed with fibers forming loops without any exposed cut ends. The level of the loops varies depending on the style, with the lowest loops being the most durable.
- Berber carpet is a loop carpet with a low pile (height). Because it’s dense and stain-resistant, it makes a good choice for areas with a lot of foot traffic, like hallways and stairs.
- Multi-loop carpet has looped fibers of varying height. The pile variation hides stains better than the level loop pile, making it an excellent option for family rooms. Loop carpet resists the matting you find in cut pile carpet.
- Instead of loops, the fibers of cut pile carpeting are cut to expose the ends. Without the loops, dirt is less likely to get trapped, but it is prone to fraying. Examples of cut pile include Saxony, frieze, and cable.
- Low-pile carpet is constructed the same as cut pile, but the fibers are ¼-inch long or less to make it stand up better in high-traffic areas. This type of carpet is typically found in commercial buildings.
- Cut and Loop carpet combines the exposed strands found in cut pile with loops to create a textured feel. This combination hides traffic patterns better than other types but is typically more expensive.
The complexity of your carpet installation impacts the total cost. For instance, carpeting a staircase involves more time and labor than carpeting a wide-open space like the living room. Stairs require more tack strips, too, which adds to the cost.
Carpet padding adds softness to your floor, making it more comfortable. It also absorbs sound and provides insulation. It’s made from several materials like foam, felt, and rubber. A professional carpet installer will recommend certain padding types for specific areas or carpet types. It’s wise to follow their recommendations and not skimp. As you’ll not only be more comfortable and prolong the lifespan of your carpet, most manufacturers won’t honor warranties if you didn’t install proper padding.
Popular carpet padding types and their costs
Cost per square foot
Urethane foam–light traffic
Bonded urethane–avoids compression
Waffle rubber–uncommon choice
Flat rubber–most durable for very high traffic
Specialty carpets and treatments
Do you have family members with allergies or asthma? Are you in the throes of puppy training? Do you have toddlers in the house? No problem. Whatever stage of life you’re in, you can still have carpet in your home.
Advances in manufacturing have created carpets free of latex and harmful VOCs, virtually eliminating out-gassing in many options. Today's carpet is also more stain-resistant and easier to care for than the carpet you grew up having. You can now purchase carpets with the following features:
- Eco-friendly and recyclable
- Antimicrobial padding
- Antimicrobial fibers that prevent the growth of mold and mildew
- Spill-proof backings that protect padding and subfloor
Other possible factors
There are a few additional factors that could add to the cost of your carpet installation.
- Removal of the old flooring: Most professional carpet installers will include this cost in your estimate.
- Hidden damage: If you discover damage to the subfloor after removing the existing flooring, that damage will need to be repaired. Pet odors, water damage, or insect damage will need repairing before installing a new carpet on top. The cost of these repairs will add to your overall budget.
- Installing radiant heat tiles: While installing new flooring, many homeowners take the opportunity to add radiant heat tiles to their homes. This installation will add to the total cost of your project.
- Multiple thresholds: The strip that covers where one type of flooring meets another at a doorway is called the threshold. Typically, the threshold costs from $15 to $50, depending on the type of material. The installation may cost more if your room has an unusually high number of thresholds.
The average cost of carpet installation
What you can afford in carpet depends on your budget. To help you plan, we’ve broken down a carpet installation into three budget categories. This includes what you could possibly install and expect to pay for each budget category.
Budget-friendly carpet installation
For a family on a budget, carpet is an affordable flooring choice. And, if you’re confident you’ll be replacing the carpet in a few years, the least expensive option would include an olefin Berber carpet with urethane foam padding. This level of installation could cost you from $475 to $1,980, on average.
Features and materials you’ll find in a budget-friendly carpet installation
- Olefin or polyester loop carpet
- Urethane or bonded urethane foam padding
- Depending on room size, one to two rooms or a basement reno
The mid-range carpet installation
A mid-range carpet installation could cost from $1,406 to $5,073. But you have more options. You can perhaps afford to cover more square footage in this category–all the bedrooms, staircases, and hallways – and you can upgrade in material and type.
Features and materials you’ll find in a mid-range carpet installation
- Triexta, nylon, or acrylic carpet
- Level loop or cut pile style
- Several rooms, hallway, and staircase
The high-end carpet installation
When you have more money to spend, you can choose from specialty carpets and cover more area of the home. You can afford features like stain resistance, antimicrobial properties, and allergen-free carpets. For this budget category, expect to spend from $17,525 to $31,885 for the total project cost.
Features and materials you’ll find in a high-end carpet installation
- Natural fiber carpet and padding
- Stain-resistant, allergen-free carpet
- Recyclable carpet
- Ability to carpet the entire house
Which level of carpet installation is right for you?
Budget carpet install
Mid-range carpet install
Luxury carpet install
Olefin or polyester
Triexta, nylon, or acrylic
Wood or sisal
Loop or cut pile
Cut and loop, textured
1-2 bedrooms or basement
2-3 bedrooms, hallway, + staircase
Paying for your next carpet installation
Whether you’re doing one room or a whole house, carpet replacement or installation can cost a big chunk of change. And, since laying carpet is not a DIY-friendly job, you’re also looking at paying for the labor. If you don’t want to spend the cash for this home improvement project, here are a few options to make paying for it more manageable.
- Borrow against your HELOC: If you already have a home equity line of credit, borrowing against it for carpet installation should be easy. If you don’t have a HELOC in place, talk with a lender about opening one today.
- Use a credit card: Credit cards from the big box stores typically give you payment options like five percent off or two years with no interest. Taking advantage of one of these offers could get the job done and save you money, too.
Ways to save money on new carpet prices
If you’ve shopped around for the lowest prices and still need to shave a bit off the total cost of your carpet installation, here are a few tips that might help.
- Choose quality carpet and padding over price. Even if you must take out a loan, better quality carpet lasts longer than cheaper varieties. And when your flooring lasts longer, you save money in the long run.
- Ask your retailer about free installation.
- Do the demo. Carpet removal isn’t much of a demolition project, but it is a DIY-friendly task. Ask your flooring professional if you do the dirty work like removing the existing carpet and moving the furniture out of the room if you can save on labor costs.
A few items that could incur additional costs when installing new carpet in your home include
- Labor - While you certainly can purchase carpet, padding, and all the supplies at your local big box store like Home Depot, installing carpet is not a DIY-friendly job. For one thing, carpeting is heavy. For another, stretching takes skills most homeowners don’t possess. Consequently, the labor cost will influence the job depending on the extent of the job and where you live.
- Cost variations - Carpeting and installation costs vary by region of the country. For example, the costs tend to be higher in urban areas than they are in rural locations. Always check with local carpet installers for the best price for your home.
- Site prep - Removing old carpeting is one thing. But if your flooring team needs to scrape up the mastic from old sheet vinyl, that’s another. The more labor-intensive the job, the higher the cost. The same goes for moving furniture. Couches and chairs are to be an expected part of the job. But moving a baby grand piano or shelves full of books isn’t.
- Warranties - Part of the shopping experience includes comparing warranties. Once you make a decision, make sure to ask your salesperson for a copy of the warranty paperwork for your carpeting. Also, always ask if any warranty options include professional installation.
Fill your home with cozy carpeting
If carpet installation is down for your next home improvement project, don’t try to go it alone. Call a professional carpet installer to ensure you have the best carpet your home deserves.