Ashburn, VA

Average cost for Carpet Installation ranges from
$2 – $4 /square foot

The average cost for carpet installation is $3 per square foot. Hiring a carpet installer, you will likely spend $2,500 for a 1,200 sq. ft. home. The price of carpet installation can vary greatly by region (and even by zip code). When you're ready, get free estimates from pros near you.

How much does carpet installation cost?

Author: Daniel W.
Millions of people ask HomeGuide for cost estimates every year. We track the estimates they get from local companies, then we share those prices with you.

Out of every element in your home, the floor is the part you will connect with the most every day, and no other flooring option is as nice to walk barefoot on. Carpet is a common selection for most rooms in the house, other than for the kitchen—because of the potential for stains from food spills, etc.

Next to vinyl or linoleum flooring, carpet is second in affordability. Costs vary widely depending on your location, the type of carpet you are having installed, and what size the room is. Carpet can start as low as $2 per square foot and go up as high as $100 or higher.

Typical costs are $2,500 for a 1,200 sq. foot home, taking out 120 sqft for the kitchen, and working with an average price of $3 per square foot.

This pricing guide covers:

Flooring Cost Comparisons

The options on flooring are listed below, from least expensive to most expensive.

Flooring Type Price relative to carpet
Vinyl or linoleum -73%
Carpet --
Porcelain or ceramic tile Similar cost
Natural stone tile +27%
Laminate (wood like surface) +67%
Wood flooring +200%

If you previously installed a harder type of flooring finish, switching to carpet will be a choice your feet will thank you for every day, and newer carpet types can be even softer. However, carpet doesn’t do so well in high-traffic areas of the home, such as the hallways, foyer, dining room, and living room.

Carpet Materials

Nylon

The most popular choice. It is strong, very often staying in great shape for many years, and does a good job fighting off stains.

Acrylic

Potentially the least likely to fade with wear and exposure to the sun. Resists most stains and produces little to no static electricity.

Olefin

Appearance can degrade. Made from a polypropylene compound, it has a wool-like feel to it, is quite strong, and does a good job resisting moisture.

Polyester

This synthetic material is prone to clumping in piles if not well looked after, but it is great at resisting stains and moisture.

Wool

Before synthetic materials were used in carpets, carpets were made from wool. Wool fibers in a carpet give it a durable finish that does a great job of resisting dirt and stains. Different breed of sheep can give higher and lower levels of durability to the carpet, with the wool from around the neck reserved for finer carpets. Sheep from higher altitudes produce wool with a shinier appearance. Generally, carpets made from wool will be more expensive.

Triexta

This is another synthetic choice of carpet material often chosen for homes with younger families or pets due to its strong fibers. It’s usually more expensive.

Carpet Installation Materials

When choosing your carpet, consider the option some contractors give of being able to visit their showroom. This can be a great way of seeing and feeling textures up front before making a final decision—better than trying to gauge your choice based on a 2”x2” sample on a board.

Some companies will do an in-home consultation, which gives them the ability to recommend certain carpet that fits perfectly with your home based on their experience and knowledge.

Types of Carpet Installation

Carpet are created in either loop pile or cut pile. Some manufacturers create elaborate mixes of the two in order to create texture.

Loop Pile

This type is produced when the fiber is threaded through the backing, giving loops of fiber on the walking surface. The strength created by the loops hides footprints and furniture marks really well.

  • Level loop pile has an even finish because all the loops are at the same height.
  • Multi-level loop pile uses loops that are of different heights for a more organic finish and can allow for design elements to be included in the final product.
  • Sisal carpeting has the appearance of having tiny trenches between the tight short loops

Carpet Installation Loop Pile

Cut Pile

The material starts out as a loop, but the ends of the loop are cut off, leaving two strands instead of one continuous strand. In addition to being cut, the pile is often twisted to add some structural integrity and to help prevent its being crushed and lying flat. Cut pile that has a heavy twist will result in a textured finish that will also help conceal wear and dirt. More tightly twisted pile will yield a more durable surface, and the higher the twist, the more direction the pile will lie in—producing a smooth, random texture.

Cut pile is currently the most sought-after type of carpet for homeowners.

Generally speaking, depending on the manufacturer and carpet material, cut pile is a much softer surface to walk on than loop pile. It is the least likely to show footprints and works well in high-traffic areas.

  • Cut pile plush features a slightly twisted short pile that is soft and can show footprints
  • Cut pile twist is highly twisted and less likely to show footprints. It’s often chosen for high traffic areas.
  • Frieze is very durable. Its long pile lies in different directions, giving a shaggy appearance.

Carpet Installation Cut Pile

Combined Loop and Cut Pile

Because of the contrasts between the different types of pile, this type of carpet can include design features like swirls or square shapes in the finish. Patterns like this in a carpet can create the appearance of the room being somewhat larger, especially when using a large pattern in a smaller room.

  • Level cut and loop pile is when the loops and cut pile are the same height, creating a soft stylish look
  • Textured cut and loop pile is most often used in a patterned finish and hides dirt and vacuum tracks.

Replacing to live in versus replacing to sell

In most cases, there will be a different criterion used to select the carpet and installer based on whether you are putting in the carpet for your own family to enjoy for years to come versus carpeting to make the home look its best for the purposes of selling the home.

When carpeting for one’s own family, elements like durability, stain resistance, feel, warranties, matching color scheme, design, or patterns, etc. will all play into guiding you toward your final decision. When carpeting for a resale, many homeowners will have a shorter list that leans toward having the best-looking job for the money at the time of the sale.

Dpc Construction Texas Painting in Austin, TX, who ranked best of 2017 on HomeGuide says:

"Figure out what your main need is first before you choose any type of carpet, choosing in the order of vital to practical to financial."

Carpet Installation

Return On Your Investment

On average, the life of the carpet in relation to durability and wear will be roughly 8 to 10 years. A carpet has an expected upper limit in its lifespan of around 15 years. By dividing the cost of the old carpet by its number of years of durability, you’ll find your investment cost per year. The return on investment will also depend on stain resistance, fading, and wear and tear.

Electing to carpet the home for resale can speed up the sales date by up to two months because it now shows so well. This is especially true if you are replacing linoleum, stone, tile, or wood flooring that is in bad condition.

Best Time To Replace The Carpet

While some manufacturers introduce new styles at different times, the best time of the year to begin looking for carpet is in the spring, because that is when the vast majority of carpet manufacturers release their latest styles.

During the summer months, the main focus for most families is on the outdoors, so carpet vendors experience less foot traffic to physical stores and less traffic to their websites. Because of this, you may experience quicker responses and installation dates over the summer months.

Generally, a lot of manufacturers run their promotions in the fall because they want to release any remaining inventory of last year’s products before the new products are released in the spring. This is the best time to shop for a good deal.

Carpet Installation Price (per square foot)

There are quite a few variables that go into trying to work out what your cost per square foot could look like, including where you live, the size of the room, carpet selected, previous flooring removal costs, any repairs needed to repair the subfloor, and the quality of the installers. The smaller the area you are getting carpeted, the marginally higher your cost per sqft will be.

Other Expenses Include:

  1. Replacing baseboards or trim - $375 for a typical living room measuring 20’ x 20’
  2. Squeaky floors - When installing over damaged wood floors, factor around $200 per problem area
  3. New door thresholds - You will usually spend around $100 per threshold that needs to be replaced.

Carpet Installation

How Much Does it Cost to Carpet Stairs?

When you're looking to carpet a flight of stairs the average homeowner spends at minimum $75 to $250. Keep in mind, that is in addition to the price for carpet installation. Some carpet installers will charge by the stair and you can expect to pay $3 to $10 per stair for a basic set of box stairs, or $15 to $15 per stair if you have spindles from a handrail. If you have wrapped stairs, they require installing carpet over the side of the stairs on one or both sides, which increases the installation cost per stair.

Preparing For Your Carpet Installation

Anything you can do yourself that the install team doesn’t have to do will definitely save you money. For many families, the additional time and longer disruption to the family might not be an attractive byproduct though. Tasks you can consider to keep your costs down include:

  • Moving out all furniture and belongings
  • Removing and storing doors
  • Removing existing flooring and disposing appropriately
  • Planning childcare or alternative working/sleeping arrangements

Moving out all furniture and belongings

Decide if you are going to do this yourself or have the installers include this in their quote. If you have furniture that has a lot of content like plates and glasses, etc., you’ll need to store the content before the furniture is moved. Figure in 2–3 hours per room for emptying and removing all furniture. If you’ve had the installers remove the furniture, you may want to have them put it back too.

Removing and storing doors

Take all the doors that the carpet will run under off their hinges and store them somewhere. Installers could charge about $5 per door to do this for you.

Removing existing flooring and disposing appropriately

Flooring removal costs will vary depending on the type of flooring you are going to remove, with ceramic tile and wood flooring glued to the subfloor being the most expensive. The base costs for removing carpet include the following average ranges for a 10’ x 10’ space.

  • Labor costs: $4/sqft for rubber-back, glue-down carpet, no scraping included
  • Waste disposal and haulage: $50 to $100

The full cost of removal will average between $2 and $4.50/sqft. Some carpet installers may have a cheaper line item for removal if you bundle that service with the new carpet installation.

Planning childcare or alternative working/sleeping arrangements

If you have a newborn, or someone in the house works nights and needs to sleep during the day, you might want to plan around this for the duration of your installation job. When getting the bid for the project, ask your installers what length of time they will be in your home. It should only take them a few hours to a day to remove and install all the carpet.

DIY: Install The Carpet Yourself

In general, labor costs are equal to product cost, so if your carpet costs $2–$4/sqft, you’d think labor would be half of that cost. However, it is unlikely that you will save on the materials because installers, or carpet shops that do installation, will generally get the carpet at a much better price than you can as a nonprofessional.

Carpet Installation DIY

Process for Installation

  1. Buy carpet installation equipment/tools – they will cost approx. $750 to $800
  2. Measure the rooms, stairs, and curved hallways precisely and order carpet.
  3. Remove all the furniture, doors, and old flooring. Watch installation videos. If you have no experience removing old flooring adhesive, you might damage the concrete trying to get it off.
  4. Order a junk removal and disposal service for the old flooring.
  5. Remove and replace older tack strips. Replace all of them if they are warped from flooding.
  6. Clean the concrete subfloor. Scrape off any bumps or excess paint. Sweep, vacuum, and remove all debris.
  7. Patch any holes or surface damage in the subfloor with patching compound and sand it down once dry.
  8. Install tack strips, if there weren’t any in place before, using adhesive and masonry nails. Do not put any tack strip across the threshold or in doorways. Essentially, because there are sharp tacks sticking out of the strip to grip the carpet, you don’t want that sticking into anyone’s foot. The tack strips are available in different heights, widths, and thicknesses, so do some research to make sure you get the right type before buying your supplies.
  9. Lay carpet padding, joining the seams to further prevent the likelihood of any bunching under the carpet.
  10. Lay the carpet.
  11. Run the seaming iron along the edges.
  12. Catch the carpet on the tack strips.
  13. Trim the excess along the wall.
  14. Push the edges under the baseboards.

If you value your time and the pain that can come from kneeling, squatting, and pulling, having a contractor do it for you can be well worth the extra cost.

Finding a Carpet Installation Pro

When looking for installers to make it to your final list of 3–5, choose contractors who stand out from the crowd because they:

  • Are A+ rated members of the Better Business Bureau
  • Who have been in business for a good amount of time
  • Rated highly on HomeGuide & Other review websites
  • Provide a great warranty
  • Insured and bonded
  • Registered as a local business

After you have requested bids from your shortlist of contractors, you should be in a great position to make your final selection.

Choose your carpet installer today.

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