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Cost to Install Carpet (Cost Per Square Foot in 2021)

Carpet close up

Carpet is one of the most common forms of flooring you’ll find across the US. It’s also one of the most economical choices; a major reason for its popularity. Carpet can be cleaned, but once it gets to a certain point, replacement is usually the best bet.

Prices for carpet installation vary, depending on factors like the type of carpet you choose and how much floor you have to cover. In this article, we aim to help you understand the average costs of carpeting so you can get a good idea of what price range you’re looking at to have carpet installed in your home.

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Average Costs to Install Carpet

Many factors need to be considered when you’re pricing out a carpet installation. The gap between the most affordable and the most expensive jobs is huge. We’ll discuss everything in cost per square foot so that you can apply the pricings we discuss to a room or home of any size.

The average cost to have carpets installed is about $3.50-$11 per square foot. When you account for certain optional choices, that price could be as much as $25 per square foot or even more. And if you want to have existing carpet replaced, there will also be an additional cost for removal of the old carpet as well as the tack strips, pad, and adhesive.

Labor Costs

Labor costs for getting carpet installed are surprisingly cheap. On an average install, you’re only looking at about $0.50-$1 per square foot for a standard installation. Granted, there are generally additional expenses for moving furniture, making special cuts for non-square rooms, and more. Those additional services can often be costlier than the install price itself. Additional services might be as little as $0.50 per square foot or as costly as $2 per square foot. Still, your total labor costs for installation will average only $1-$3 per square foot.

Image Credit: Andrey_Popov, Shutterstock

Again, keep in mind that these prices only reflect the cost of installation. So far, we haven’t accounted for the cost of removing the old carpet and everything that held it down.

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Average Costs for Carpet Replacement

Carpet lasts for quite a while, but it’s also susceptible to damage, staining, fraying, and more. Because of this, carpeted rooms tend to be replaced from time to time. Unfortunately, having carpet replaced incurs additional costs over simply having carpet installed.

Getting your old carpet removed will cost as much or more than getting new carpet installed. Just for the removal of the carpet, you should expect to spend $2-$3 per square foot. If you’re having the pad replaced, that’s an additional $1-$2 per square foot for removal. The old tack strips and adhesive add up to another $1 per square foot, for a total of $4-$6 per square foot just to remove the old carpet.

Once you add up all of these additional costs, the average price of carpet replacement is approximately $7.50-$17 per square foot. If you choose expensive carpets, this price can rise even higher, but on average, this is the price range you’re looking at for carpet replacement.

Costs of Different Carpets

One of the factors that has the biggest effect on the price you pay to have carpet installed or replaced in your home is the type of carpet you pick. Some super-cheap builder-grade carpets are available for as cheap as $1 per square foot. On the other end of the spectrum, high-grade expensive carpets can go for up to $20 per square foot. Let’s take a look at how your carpet choices can affect the pricing.

carpet colors
Image Credit: Markus Rauscher-Riedl, Flickr

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Different Carpet Types

There are three main types of carpet for you to choose from. Some of these carpet types can be split into several additional subcategories.

Cut Pile

Cut pile carpets can cost more than either other type of carpet, with the most expensive cut pile carpets going for $12 per square foot. These carpets feature woven loops with tufted ends. The loops are all the same height, and the carpet is dense and soft to the touch.

There are four subcategories of cut pile carpet:

  • Cable
  • Frieze
  • Saxony
  • Textured Saxony

Loop Pile

Loop pile carpets are the cheapest of the three types. On average, they cost between $1-$5 per square foot. They’re made with uncut yarn and are ideal for high-traffic areas in both residential and commercial applications. This type of carpet is exceptionally durable, hides stain well, and is resistant to lines.

carpet rolls
Image Credit: Ildar Sagdejev, Flickr

Cut and Loop

Cut and loop carpet is priced between the other two types with higher costs reaching $10 per square foot. This type of carpet is a combination of cut pile and loop pile carpets. This allows it to be made with unique patterns and designs to add texture to any room. It’s ideal for mid to high-traffic areas and does a good job concealing lines.

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Costs of Different Carpet Materials

Even more than the different types of carpets, the material your carpet is made of will have a huge impact on its price. Carpet can be made from a variety of materials, but the following six are the most common.

Polyester

At an average cost of $1-$3 per square foot, polyester is one of the most economical carpet choices. It has a beautiful color that resists fading well. Better yet, polyester carpet is usually non-allergenic and almost always mold and mildew-resistant.

Cotton

Cotton is a natural product, so carpets made from this material tend to be on the pricier side. This type of carpet is incredibly soft, though it’s highly susceptible to staining. It generally costs between $6-$7 per square foot, but since it’s easily ruined, it’s not a great choice for high-traffic homes or households with children.

Nylon

Carpet texture
Image Credit: “Al” the Albino Fox, Flickr

Nylon is a mid-tier carpet material that goes for about $2-$5 per square foot. What’s great about nylon is its durability and ease of cleaning. Because of these traits, it’s a perfect choice for high-traffic areas and houses with children. You can even use nylon carpets outside, and their durability is a great match for pet claws.

Wool

Wool has one of the greatest price ranges of all carpet materials. Moreover, it reaches the highest prices. You can expect to spend $4-$20 per square foot for carpet made of this natural material. The most common style of wool carpeting is Berber. Wool is popular because it’s eco-friendly and has a very soft, premium feel. It’s also stain-resistant, though it’s vulnerable to mold, mildew, and fading.

Sisal

Sisal isn’t as common as the other types of carpet on this list. It’s a natural fiber made from agave leaves. Carpet made from sisal is durable and great for high-traffic rooms, though its rough texture means it’s not a great choice for barefoot rooms like bedrooms. Sisal can get pretty pricey with average costs ranging from $5-$15 per square foot.

Olefin/Polypropylene

The fibers of this carpet are made from plastic. Often, these carpets are made from recycled materials. They’re durable and resistant to stains, fading, and moisture. Best of all, they’re very economical carpets that only cost $1-$3 per square foot.

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FAQ

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

carpet roll installation
Image Credit: Andrey_Popov, Shutterstock

Many factors can change the price of installing carpet. Prices change if you’re replacing existing carpet or simply installing new carpet where there is none now. The type of carpet you pick and the material it’s made from will also have a drastic effect on pricing.

For installing 1,200 square feet of carpet in a room with a concrete floor, you might pay anywhere from $2-$15 or more per square foot. That would come out to about $2,400-$18,000.

How long will new carpet last?

Again, many factors will play into the expected lifespan of your carpet. Different materials offer varying degrees of durability. Another factor is the amount of traffic that your carpet sees and how well it’s maintained. It’s a wide range, but depending on these factors and more, your carpet could last from 5-20 years.

What’s the average cost to recarpet a room?

Replacing carpet starts at $7.50 per square foot and goes up from there. Then, the cost to recarpet depends on the size of the room you want to carpet. If we assume an average price of $10 per square foot for a 12’ x 12’ room, it will cost just under $1,500 to recarpet the room. Of course, you can get cheaper carpet to lower the price, and a more luxurious carpet will mean an even higher price.

Can carpet be installed on concrete?

It depends on the type of carpet you’re installing and the feel you want under your feet. Many types of carpet can be installed directly on top of concrete, but others will require a moisture barrier or pad. But if you’re hoping to have a soft floor that feels nice underfoot, you’ll probably want to consider having a pad under the carpet anyway.

carpet macro

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Conclusion

The price of carpet varies widely. For installing carpet in a room that doesn’t currently have it, you’re looking at an average price of $3.50 to $11 per square foot. Replacing carpet is more expensive since there are costs associated with the removal of the old carpet. For carpet replacement, expect to spend anywhere from $7.50 to $17 per square foot.

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Featured Image: Alessandro Valli, Flickr

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