Carpet Removal Cost

The average cost of removing carpet is $115.

In this guide

Cost factors
Removal
Disposal
Labor
Enhancement and improvement costs
Additional considerations and costs
FAQ

How much does it cost to remove carpet?

People desire new flooring for a number of reasons. Whether you want to update your look or would like to switch from carpet to hardwood, you’ll need to remove your old rug first. Getting rid of old carpeting can also be a big relief if you are suffering from allergies or asthma.

The average homeowner will spend around $115 for a professional to remove 140 square feet of carpeting, haul it away, and dispose of it.

Cost factors

When calculating the cost per square foot, contractors assume you have a square or rectangular-shaped room. They may charge more for odd-shaped rooms with more corners. Additional corners means there are more places where workers must “start” removing carpet, in which case it will take more time. Likewise, stairs all have their own individual corners and are therefore more time-consuming to pull up carpet from.

In addition to corners, objects in the middle of the floor can slow down carpet removal. As such, all furniture must be removed from a room first–something professionals may charge extra for. They will also need to pause and remove objects that are permanently attached to the floor. To avoid damage, technicians must also work slower and more carefully when removing carpet from floors containing radiant heat. Since this process will take longer, you can naturally expect to spend more money.

Removal

Contractors will not have to take off your baseboards before removing carpet. The tack strips that hold carpeting in place sit underneath the baseboards, so they sit over top but are not connected to the carpet. Instead, they will start in one corner of your room by cutting a small slit in the carpet using a utility knife. This will allow them to “grab” onto your carpet and tug it loose from its tacking strips. After they have have loosened the carpet from along one wall, they will then begin pulling or dragging the rug toward the center of the room.

As workers continue, the carpet may become too heavy to fold or drag. When this happens, they will eliminate some of the weight by cutting sections of carpet along the fold line. Next, those sections will be rolled into smaller rolls and secured with string or duct tape. These smaller rolls should be light enough for one person to pick up and remove, leaving enough room so that they can continue working. This process will continue until all the carpet has been removed.

After removing the carpet, the next step is to take up the padding 1. Padding is held in place by a series of staples. A professional will pull on one end of the padding, at which time it should easily come loose from its staples. Then the padding will be rolled into manageable-sized rolls, just like the carpet. Once all the padding is gone, the final step will be for them to go back and pull up all of the staples with a staple puller or flathead screwdriver.

When laying new carpet, you do not have to have someone remove the tack strips. However, you should nonetheless see that they are inspected for signs of damage. If the strips are rusted, contain rotten wood, or delaminated, your contractor should remove and replace them. Always have tack strips removed when laying any other type of flooring or whenever repairs to your subfloor 2 are needed. It can take between one to two hours to remove carpet and padding from an average-sized room. This does not include the time spent moving furniture or clearing out space in which to work.

In most cases, only tiny holes remain after removing carpet tack strips or staples. Covering over these holes will not affect how your new carpeting looks. However, when larger holes remain, you might need to have them filled them with wood putty first. It takes only a few seconds to fill a hole with putty, so you contractor will probably not charge you anything extra for this.

Disposal

Most contractors assume they will also be responsible for hauling off old carpet. As such, the cost of disposal is typically built in. However, not everyone is comfortable throwing carpet in the dump, in which case you may want to consider other options.

If you don’t like the idea of dumping carpet in a landfill, you may want to consider recycling. Through the Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE), you can find a recycling center near you that will take your old carpet and turn it into everything from furniture to roofing shingles 3. Recycling centers do charge anywhere from $0.05 to $0.25 per pound to recycle carpet. With the average carpet weighing around 5 pounds per square yard, carpet from a 140-square foot room would cost between $2.33 and $11.67 to recycle.

It’s possible to donate old carpeting that is still in good shape. Thrift stores sometimes accept used carpet for resale, and charities that help people with home improvement projects might also be interested. Unserviceable rugs could be donated to a pet shelter to be used as animal bedding. If you can’t find an organization to donate it to, you can always list your old rug on a site like Freecycle.

Several possibilities also exist for repurposing old carpet. For example, you could cut small squares to use as protective feet for delicate furniture legs, or as a type of weed block for your garden. You could also use it in various upholstery projects or to create a scratching post for a cat.

Labor

Old carpeting can contain dust particles, pet dander, and other irritants, which are released into the air as the rug is pulled. If you have asthma or allergies, this could make it difficult for you to breathe. In addition, a great deal of bending, lifting, and stooping is also required, and may cause pain for anyone with back problems. Accordingly, many people choose professional carpet removal simply to avoid straining themselves physically.

Labor costs to remove carpet can be anywhere from $0.40 to $1.50 per square foot. Expect a higher labor charge if your area has high disposal fees or you live a good distance from the nearest landfill.

Enhancement and improvement costs

Subfloor repair

If your subfloor is in poor condition, you will need to have it repaired before laying any new carpeting. You could need a new subfloor if yours has soft soft spots, mold, water damage, or is sagging in certain areas. Repairing an existing subfloor can cost between $140 and $210.

Carpet installation

Removing old carpet and installing a new rug will complete the look of your room. If you are installing new carpet, expect to pay $980 to $1,680 to have 140 square feet of nylon Saxony carpet installed.

Moving furniture

You can save a great deal of money by moving furniture and other items out of your room before carpet removal technicians get there. Expect to pay around $25 per hour for each mover you hire. It should take two movers around an hour or so to move all your belongings from a 140 square foot room, in which case your total cost would be about $50. When moving furniture to vinyl 4 or linoleum 5, place bits of fabric or even squares of your old carpeting underneath the feet to protect the floor.

Additional considerations and costs

  • If you are having new carpet installed, you will probably find it more cost effective to have the same contractor remove your old rug. Some installers will offer a discount of 10% or more on carpet removal services when they are also hired to lay the new carpet.
  • Tools such as a utility knife, extra blades, claw hammer, and pry bar are needed for DIY carpet removal. If you do not already have these tools on hand, expect to pay between $32 and $60 to purchase them.
  • Some cities have implemented “green building initiatives” to help them reduce waste from building demolition, home improvement, and construction projects. If your city has a green building initiative, you could be required to recycle your carpet or use only a certified disposal facility when dumping it.

FAQ

  • How much does it cost to remove a carpet?

If you are willing to do the work, you can remove carpet yourself for free. Otherwise, you can expect to pay between $56 and $260 to have a professional perform the job for you.

  • How do you remove carpet?

Start in one corner of the room and gently peel the carpet away from its tack strips. Since this is the only thing holding your rug in place, you can simply pick the rest of it up from the floor. Cut the rug into smaller strips as you go; otherwise the rug will become too heavy for you to handle.

  • What is the fastest way to remove carpet?

There is no one method that is faster than another. However, the project will go quicker if you have another person helping. That individual can work on the opposite side of the room and then meet you in the middle. He or she could also remove old rolls of carpet as they are cut up, which will allow you to continue working.

  • How do you pull up carpet without damaging it?

Gently pull carpet away from the tack strips located just underneath the baseboards next to the wall. Once you have cleared the tack strips, the rest of your carpet is unlikely to tear unless it is in very poor condition. Rugs that already have rips or tears in them may not be salvageable.

  • How much does it cost to remove and install carpet?

When carpet installation and removal are coupled together, you can expect to pay anywhere from $1,036 to $1,940 to cover a 140-square foot room.

  • How much does it cost to remove carpet and install hardwood?

When getting rid of your old carpet and replacing it with oak hardwood flooring, your total should be somewhere between $2,856 and $3,060.

  • How much does it cost to install 1,200 square feet of carpet?

It costs on average between $7 and $12 per square foot for professionally-installed carpet. This includes the cost of the rug itself as well as the padding. Using this example, 1,200 square feet of carpet would cost anywhere from $8,400 to $14,400.

  • Is it easy to remove carpet?

It isn’t difficult to remove carpet; however, many people do find it tedious and time-consuming. Removing carpet also requires lots of bending, stooping, and crawling–tasks that not everyone is well-suited for. This is why many homeowners hire a professional, because they would rather not perform the work.

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Remodeling Terms Cheat Sheet

Definitions in laymen's terms, cost considerations, pictures and things you need to know.
See full cheat sheet.
1 Padding: A cushion placed under a carpet to absorb impact, thus extending the life of the carpet
2 Subfloor: The bottom-most layer of a floor, supported by joists, over which finished flooring material is laid
3 Shingles: A smooth, uniform, flat piece of construction material, available in a wide variety of materials and laid in a series of overlapping rows, used to cover the outside of roofs or walls to protect against weather damage and leaks.
4 Vinyl: A synthetic plastic made from ethylene and chlorine. Vinyl has many applications in the construction industry and it is widely used in sidings, window frames, roofing and gutters, among others
5 Linoleum: An inexpensive flooring material made from linseed oil, resins, recycled wood flour, cork dust, limestone and mineral pigments, on a canvas or jute backing.

Cost to remove carpet varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

Labor cost by city and zip code

Compared to national average
Akron, OH
-6%
Alpharetta, GA
+9%
Arlington, TX
+6%
Athens, GA
-9%
Austin, TX
+13%
Baltimore, MD
+12%
Brooklyn, NY
+16%
Canton, MI
+16%
Chicago, IL
+40%
Cleveland, OH
+7%
Dayton, OH
-7%
Denver, CO
+1%
Escondido, CA
+9%
Everett, WA
-14%
Fort Lauderdale, FL
+2%
Fort Worth, TX
+6%
Greensboro, NC
-9%
Hampton, VA
-18%
Hillsboro, OR
+15%
Indio, CA
-6%
Irvine, CA
+23%
Las Vegas, NV
+7%
Leechburg, PA
-24%
Los Angeles, CA
+11%
Loveland, CO
-11%
Mesa, AZ
-2%
Muncie, IN
-16%
Newport News, VA
-12%
Ontario, CA
+19%
Palmdale, CA
+9%
Philadelphia, PA
+40%
Pittsburgh, PA
+9%
Racine, WI
-7%
Reno, NV
0%
Richmond, TX
+63%
Richmond, VA
+4%
Round Rock, TX
-5%
Sacramento, CA
+8%
Saint Paul, MN
+20%
Saint Petersburg, FL
-11%
Salt Lake City, UT
-6%
San Diego, CA
+11%
San Francisco, CA
+53%
Smyrna, GA
+10%
Suwanee, GA
+16%
Tucson, AZ
-19%
Tustin, CA
+22%
Virginia Beach, VA
-8%

Labor cost in your zip code

Last modified:   
Methodology and sources