It’s no secret that the cost to install a carpet can vary greatly from home to home and even room to room. The size of your space, the quality of your carpet, and even the professional carpet installer you hire can all heavily influence your budget.
Still, as useful as it is to know all that, it doesn’t exactly help when it comes time to set a budget for carpeting your home.
Hopefully, today’s guide will.
A new carpet can truly transform any room, adding a whole sense of comfort, luxury and style that few other flooring types can match.
Below, we outline everything you need to know about carpet installation costs, breaking down the prices you should expect to pay to fit the most common types of carpet in the most commonly carpeted areas of the modern home.
We’ll also look at those hidden costs that many people overlook when it comes to their flooring, and answer your most burning questions about fitting your new carpet.
How Much Does it Cost to Install Carpet in 2020?
The type of carpet you buy will play a large role in determining how much it costs to install it.
The average homeowner in the United States spends around $1,600 to install a new carpet, though the range is much broader. Depending on other factors such as room size and carpet type, you could end up spending as little as $750 or as much as $2,500+.
These prices are all-inclusive, meaning they include everything from the actual carpet itself to the materials used to properly install them in your home and labor costs. What they don’t include are the costs to tear up and remove your old carpet, though we’ll discuss that as a separate issue later.
If you prefer to work out the cost in square feet, we can tell you that the majority of homeowners spend somewhere in the region of $4 – $12 per square foot, though some cheaper carpets can cost as little as $2.50 per square foot while premium brands may set you back as much as $20 per square foot.
In case you were debating between the two, installing a carpet usually works out about the same as tiling a floor when compared like-for-like.
How Much Does it Cost to Carpet a Living Room?
A carpet remains a wonderful way to add unbridled comfort to your living space.
It’s perhaps fair to say that carpeted living rooms aren’t as fashionable as they once were, with many modern homeowners preferring the contemporary aesthetic and practicality of laminate or hardwood flooring.
Still, in our estimation, there’s no better way to create a truly cozy, warm, and inviting ambiance than your living space than with carpet. Best of all, it costs less than you might think.
The average size of a living room in a small (under 2,000 square foot) living room is 171 square feet, compared to 200 square feet for larger (3,500+ square feet).
By that reckoning, we can say that the cost to install a carpet in a smaller living room is around $684 – $2052. For a larger living room, you should be expecting to pay between $800 and $2,400.
How Much Does it Cost to Carpet a Bedroom?
Carpet remains the most popular choice for a bedroom floor.
Carpets may not always be the most en vogue choice for a living room, but they’ve never gone out of style as far as the bedroom is concerned.
After all, what would be better than waking up after a relaxing night’s sleep, sinking your feet into the soft caress of a quality fur rug, and then walking across a beautiful, exceptionally comfortable carpet?
Not much perhaps, with the possible exception of discovering just how affordable that wonderfully carpeted bedroom floor is going to cost you.
Naturally, this is once again a matter of size.
According to the United States Census Bureau’s annual Characteristics of New Housing report, almost half of all 683,000 single-family homes sold in 2019 contained three bedrooms, with one master bedroom and two smaller rooms, so let’s consider the average costs for both types of room.
Master Bedroom Carpet Installation Costs: $880 – $4,200
In homes under 2,000 square feet, the average master bedroom is around 220 square feet. That means that the cost to install a carpet in that room works out at between
$880 and $2,640.
In a larger home with more than 3,500 square feet of space, the typical master bedroom can be as large as 350 square feet. This puts the average cost of carpet installation at $1,400 – $4,200.
Cost to Install Carpets in Other Bedrooms: $1,140 – $9,000
In smaller homes, the remaining bedrooms take up a combined total of 285 square feet, meaning you’ll need a budget of between $1,140 – $3,420 to carpet both rooms together.
In larger homes, you’re looking at a budget of $3,000 – $9,000 to carpet two rooms up to a total of 750 square feet.
How Much Does it Cost to Install Carpet on Stairs, Landings, and Hallways?
Carpeted hallways may be most popular in hotels and commercial venues, but they still make a great addition to residential properties too.
The cost to install carpet in a hallway or on a staircase averages around $3 – $11 per square foot, with more complicated set-ups such as rounded stairways or those with corners costing the most.
Of course, this is assuming you go down the traditional route of hiring a professional carpet fitter to ensure your stairway is fully carpeted. As an alternative, you could always go down the easier, DIY route of using non-slip carpet stair treads like these attractive dark-gray treads from TreadSafe.
The biggest advantage of this approach is that you’ll avoid the need to pay any professional fees, but that’s not the only reason to do so. It’s not uncommon for a single pack of stair treads to cover an entire staircase, meaning you’ll save on material costs too.
Carpet Installation Costs by Type
Before you buy a new carpet, it pays to know the difference between cut pile and loop pile options.
To the untrained eye, one carpet may look pretty much indistinguishable to the next. Look a little closer, however, and you’ll discover several different types of carpet, each with its own advantages, disadvantages, and price range.
Carpet Tiles: $1.50 – $8 Per Square Foot
Carpet tiles may be the cheapest option for laying down a new carpet, but that isn’t the only reason why they’re so popular. They’re also incredibly easy to install.
Products like these 12 x 12 Carpet Floor Tiles from Achim Home Furnishings come with a simple ‘peel-and-stick’ installation method which is exactly what it sounds like:
Peel the back off a tile, stick it to your floor and move on to the next one.
This makes it a great option for anyone looking for a quick, easy, and affordable way to carpet a room without bringing in the professionals.
Also working in their favor is the fact that carpet tiles can be mixed and matched to create all kinds of interesting designs and fun patterns. They’re also a breeze to clean and maintain, requiring little more than regular vacuuming and a once-in-a-blue-moon deep clean.
However, it must be said that carpet tiles do have their disadvantages too.
For one thing, carpet tiles tend to be less durable and more susceptible to wear than regular, wall-to-wall broadloom carpet. What’s more, even the most well-fitted tiles can still show visible lines where one tile doesn’t quite blend seamlessly into the next, creating a noticeable blemish on the aesthetic quality of your space.
Some would also say that even the most unique of carpet tile designs could look out of place in certain spaces such as luxury living rooms or bedrooms where a more traditional, high-quality carpet would be more suitable.
Cut-Pile Carpet: $2 – $25 Per Square Foot
Cut pile carpets at the lower end of the price scale can often show visible marks after vacuuming.
A cut-pile carpet in which the yarn loops have all been cut to expose the ends of each carpet fiber. This creates a soft, luxurious feel that makes them ideal for those spaces where you want to enjoy the most comfort such as living rooms and bedrooms.
Cut pile carpets are also a popular choice for whole-home carpeting. If you wanted the same look and feel throughout your property, this may well be the way to go.
Another big plus point is that this type of carpet tends to be much more durable than carpet tiles, though the level of durability all depends on the extent to which the yarn twists. The greater the twist, the tougher the carpet.
So far, so good, but things do get a little more complicated once you learn that there are different types of cut pile carpet, each one with their own advantages.
Cut Pile Plush: $2 – $8 Per Square Foot
Sometimes referred to as velour or velvet carpet, cut pile plush is the most widely-used style of carpet used in modern homes as it tends to be the most affordable and easiest to install.
Distinguishable from other types by its short fibers with a slight twist, this carpet looks great and feels good underfoot, though sometimes footprints or vacuuming marks are noticeable.
Cut Pile Twist $2 – $15 Per Square Foot
Also called textured Saxony or simply cut pile textured, cut pile twist carpet is, unsurprisingly, a carpet in which the fibers are very tightly twisted, often facing different directions to give it an attractive finish.
This approach makes them among the most wear-resistant styles of carpet out there, making them a great choice for the busiest areas of your home.
What’s more, they’re also far less susceptible to shading or tracking from foot traffic or your vacuum cleaner, retaining a nice, uniform appearance at all times.
Frieze: $2 – $20 Per Square Foot
A more affordable alternative to genuine shag pile carpet (more of which in a second), frieze carpet twists those yarns even tighter than cut pile twist, making them both exceptionally durable and remarkably luxurious.
All in all, the perfect choice for adding outstanding comfort to even the highest-traffic parts of your home.
Shag Pile Carpet: $3 – $25 Per Square Foot
Last but not least, shag pile carpets are so similar to frieze carpets that many homeowners don’t even know there’s a difference. The way to tell the two apart is that the yarns in shag pile carpets are even longer, and often thicker, than those in frieze.
Shag piles are both highly durable and stunning to look at, but they’re far from perfect. Usually the most expensive option, they also require a lot of maintenance as the larger yarn patterns collect dust and dirt much more easily and stubbornly than other brands. With that in mind, if you are going down the shag pile option, it pays to have the best carpet stain remover you can get on standby and tend to stains and spills as quickly as possible.
Loop Pile Carpet: $1 – $8 Per Square Foot
Loop pile carpet often has a similar aesthetic quality to carpet tiles though it’s construction makes it much tougher and avoids the common problem of unsightly lines between your tiles.
Unlike cut pile, the yarn on a loop pile carpet remains uncut to keep their original looped form. This creates a somewhat rougher feeling underfoot but adds to the overall high level of durability which is its biggest selling point.
It isn’t just that a loop pile carpet is tough enough to withstand lots of foot traffic without showing any signs of wear and tear, it’s also easy to clean and maintain, doesn’t stain nearly as much as other types of carpet, and doesn’t reveal footprints or vacuum tracks.
The only downside to it is that it doesn’t offer the same luxurious look and feel of cut pile carpets, so if design quality is important to you, this might be one to miss.
That said, loop pile’s unbeatable durability is the reason why it is the most commonly used type of carpet in offices and other commercial venues, and also why it makes a solid choice for high-traffic parts of your home such as stairs and hallways where toughness is more important than style.
Combination Cut and Loop Carpet: $3 – $25 Per Square Cut
If you’ve ever seen a carpet that had patterns such as spirals or squares that looked as though they’d been carved into the very fabric of the carpet, it’s likely you were looking at a combination cut and loop carpet.
As you’ve probably already guessed, these use both cut and looped yarns to create all kinds of exciting and interesting designs. Not only do cut and loop carpets look impressive, but they also tend to be stronger than standard loop carpets, making them a decent option for mid-high traffic areas.
How Much Does it Cost to Remove an Old Carpet?
Removing that tired, old carpet before laying a new one can add to the costs of your project.
So far, all of the prices we’ve listed in this guide have been focussed solely on carpet installation, including both the price of the actual carpet as well as any costs associated with fitting it into a room in your home.
That’s all well and good if you’re adding carpet to a new build home or a room where no carpet previously existed, but let’s be honest, such cases are few and far between. It’s much more likely that you’ll be replacing an existing carpet which means you’ll have to budget a little extra to rip up, remove, and dispose of your old carpet.
While some professional carpet installers will offer this service free of charge as part of your installation project, most will charge extra.
As a general rule expect to pay between $1.50 – $2 per square foot of carpet. This includes not just the physical removal of your carpet, but also cleaning up all of the mess afterward and disposing of all the waste in as safe and environmentally-friendly way as possible.
You may find that some contractors prefer to charge an hourly rate for this service. In that case, you’re looking at around $50 – $60 per hour. It takes around 3 hours to completely remove the carpet in a standard 144 square foot room, so budgeting at least $150 – $180 is a good idea.
If you also need your contractor to move large furniture out of your room before they can tear up your carpet, this may incur additional costs. Again, some might be willing to do it for free if it sweetens the deal and convinces you to hire them over a competitor, so it’s always worth asking. However, be prepared for them to say no and add anywhere from $25 – $75 to the cost of your project depending on how much furniture there is to be moved and how heavy it is.
DIY Carpet Removal
Naturally, the easiest way to keep your costs down is to rip up that carpet yourself. If you’re taking this approach, then you might find it helpful to make a small yet invaluable investment in proper equipment such as the Roberts 10-10 Carpet Puller. Such tools are specifically designed for tearing up carpet from your floor, making the whole process much faster, easier, and safer, than using a pair of pliers.
Although this approach is much more cost-efficient, it’s not without its downsides.
For one thing, removing a carpet can be a seriously laborious chore. Even after you’ve ripped up the actual carpet, there’ll be a whole load of mess to sweep up and dispose of and that can often be more tiresome than then actual carpet removal. After that, you’re also responsible for disposing of that carpet. If that means taking it to a recycling center or similar facility, you may need a large vehicle to transport that carpet. If you don’t already have one, then that again can add to your cost total.
Frequently Asked Questions About Carpet Installation
Fitting a carpet in a room like this one could take as little as a few hours or as much as a full day.
How Long Does it Take to Install a Carpet?
In most cases, installing a carpet in any room -even a fairly large one- should take a professional carpet installer no more than a day, though some may be able to get the job done much faster without compromising on quality.
For rooms with complicated layouts, odd-shaped walls or other challenges, it could take up to half a day to finish the installation,
Keep in mind that these timeframes are for a professional installer with the skills and experience to get the job done in the most efficient manner. If you’re taking this on as a solo project, it may take you longer.
Can You Walk on a New Carpet Immediately After Installation?
Absolutely. As soon as your carpet is glued to the floor, it’s perfectly safe to walk on it without causing any damage to the carpet.
How Long Should I Wait Before Moving My Furniture into a Newly Carpeted Room
Most professional carpet fitters recommend leaving at least 24 hours before placing heavy furniture on top of it. This is because the adhesive used to glue down your carpet usually takes that long to completely dry. So, while it’s unlikely that walking over it will knock your newly-laid carpet out of place, there’s always a chance that large items of furniture might, especially those you have to maneuver into place.
Are New Carpet Fumes Harmful?
We’re all familiar with that new carpet smell. Some people love it, while for others it can make them feel quite nauseous. This smell is largely caused by a chemical called 4-phenylcyclohexane (4-PC) which spends the first 24-48 hours after installation going through a process called off-gassing.
The good news is that while 4-PC and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs) found in both the carpet and adhesive can be unpleasant and irritating to people who are especially sensitive to them, they aren’t so dangerous that your newly-carpeted room should be a no-go zone.
It’s still perfectly safe to enter, and even sleep, in a room with a new carpet, ventilating the room by opening the windows or using a good quality air purifier will definitely help to reduce those fumes.
Finally, we should point out that that low-VOC and zero-VOC carpet adhesives do exist, so it’s always worth talking to your contractor about using them if you’re concerned about the fumes.
Can Carpets Be Recycled?
Technically, yes. Almost all types of carpet can be recycled, though the multiple components and chemicals make it a trickier process than recycling cardboard or similar materials.
It’s because of this that a very limited infrastructure exists for recycling carpet. Chances are, if you take your old carpet to your local recycling center, they won’t be able to accept it.
Fortunately, one organization is working hard to change this. CARE (Carpet America Recovery Effort) is a U.S based non-profit that is striving to provide more facilities for homeowners to dispose of their old carpets in an environmentally-friendly way. At time of writing, CARE’s helpful Carpet Collector Map had details of at least 60 carpet recovery centers located throughout the United States.
Final Thought: What’s The Best Way to Minimise the Cost to Install a Carpet?
By now, you likely have a fairly good idea of how much that new carpet installation is going to cost you. You’ve weighed up the pros and cons of the different carpet types, considered how you’re going to get rid of your old carpet, and put together a realistic budget.
Still, let’s face it:
Even that budget is a little bit on the steep side.
So what can you do to keep those costs as low as possible without compromising the look and feel of your home?
If you were paying attention earlier, you might be tempted to simply buy a pack of low-cost peel-and-stick carpet tiles and slap them down yourself. Yet while this definitely works out at the least expensive option, it isn’t necessarily the right move for every room.
In a child’s bedroom, your home office, or low traffic areas of your home then sure, self-adhesive tiles make a smart choice. They’re practical, easy to maintain, and can look pretty decent.
That said, they’re no match for the superior quality and style of an actual, wall-to-wall fitted carpet, especially when it comes to living areas and master bedrooms where comfort is a top priority.
If you’ve done your own research into buying a new carpet, we’re sure you’ll agree with this assessment, even though you may still be wondering how you can get that beautiful, luxury cut pile carpet into your home without going over your modest budget.
The simple solution is, of course, to do it yourself.
Labor fees typically add $1 – $2 per square foot to the cost of your project, and that doesn’t include any additional fees for removing your old carpet. What’s more, if the contractor you hire is also responsible for buying the materials, they’re likely to add as much as 50% markup on them, further increasing your costs.
With that in mind, if you’re confident in your own abilities to lay a carpet without making any mistakes, doing so will always prove to be the most budget-friendly option.
Failing that, the next best alternative is to simply shop around for special offers at the major carpet and home improvement stores. Such outlets will frequently run “free installation” promotions and all of the work at no extra cost providing you buy a certain amount of carpet from them.
Though this may mean you have to wait a little while to get your new carpet, it can often prove the most effective way to get a quality, professional installation at the lowest possible price.
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.