Carpet Installation Cost Breakdown

Here just to get a rough idea of what carpet will cost you?

I’d spend a little more time on this page than you planned.

Here’s why:

The more accurate estimate you give yourself on what carpet will cost, the less chance you get ripped off.

Only a small increase in the square footage price can make you pay hundreds extra. Not to mention, your installer can over-measure the amount of square footage you need–intentional or not–and that will multiply the hundreds you just lost.

The good news is learning what carpet should cost and simple ways to measure how much carpet you’ll need will keep your budget right where it should be.

But whether you want a quick, snap-shot estimate, or a more detailed invoice of what your carpet should cost, this article has you covered. You’ll find everything you need to know on carpet prices in order of less-accurate, quicker estimates to more involved but detailed estimates.

Here’s what you’ll find in this article (in order):

  1. Ballpark estimates of how much it costs for carpet installed in a room or home
  2. Then, I’ll break down the cost of carpet by material and living situations (so you can make your own invoice)
  3. Next, I’ll cover how to measure your rooms like an installer to make your own project estimate
  4. Finally, you’ll have access to the Carpet Captain carpet cost calculator

Want someone to do the work for you? Hiring an installer can be tricky because the wrong installer can rip you off in more ways than one. Fortunately, there are companies like HomeAdvisor that will do the homework on installers for you. Click here to find pre-vetted professionals in your area (they can help with anything from installation to choosing your carpet).

Cost of carpet installed (by room size and house size)

The estimates below tell you how much I expect it to cost you to put new carpet in your room or house.

It’s great for a ballpark estimate of what you might spend if you choose to get new carpet. This can help with planning and budgeting. If you know you already know you’re getting new carpet, skip this section–below you’ll find how to make a more detailed estimate (which is important to make sure you’re not getting ripped off).

Here are the Captain’s “rules of thumb” of total costs to carpet your room or home:

One small room (eg. kids bedroom): $480
One larger room (living room or master bedroom): $1,120
Ranch house (living room, 3 bedrooms, hallway): $4,200
2-story house (ranch + stairs + extra or larger rooms): $7,600

Keep in mind, these estimates make a lot of assumptions: I had to take an “average” guess at your room or home size, the type of carpet you would buy, how much installation costs in your area, and the pad you go with. All of these can make a big change in the cost of carpet.

This was the equivalent of someone asking you, “How much does a large pizza cost?” You could say $15 but you’d be making a  lot of assumptions.

If you want a better estimate, I suggest you keep reading. I’ll dive into the cost of carpet depending on your situation, and we’ll use this to build a detailed “invoice” for what carpet will cost in your home.

Breakdown of expected carpet prices by material and situation

Now let’s cover carpet prices per square foot (and square yard).

This is the building block for your personal “invoice” or “estimate.”

Carpet costs vary from $0.50 to $10 or more per square foot. Yeah, I know… that’s not really helpful. It’s the difference between spending $250 and $5,000 for the same area.

What is helpful is if we categorize the costs by situation or material. That’s what you’ll find below.

Captain’s warning! Sometimes you’ll see carpet prices in square feet and sometimes square yards. You probably know that there 3 feet in a yard, but don’t make the mistake of thinking that you can multiple square foot prices by 3 to get the square yard prices. Flooring measurements are squared, so you actually have to multiple square feet by 9 to get the square yard price (or divide the square yard price by 9 to get the square foot price).

Cost of carpet only for each carpet material

Many specifications impact carpet price but none more than the carpet material. Here’s what you can expect to pay based on the type of carpet fiber:
Wool Carpet: $10 sq.ft. ($90 sq.yd.)
Nylon Carpet: $5 sq.ft. ($45 sq.yd.)
Smartstrand Carpet: $4 sq.ft. ($36 sq.yd.)
Polyester Carpet: $2.50 sq.ft. ($23 sq.yd.)
Olefin Carpet: $1.00 sq.ft. ($9 sq.yd.)

Cost of carpet only for different living situations

Maybe you don’t know what carpet material you’re going to buy yet. If that’s the case, you still know where the carpet will be installed and what you need out of it. Here are estimates on carpet prices based on different situations:

Apartment or rental: $1.00 sq.ft. ($9 sq.yd.)
Low-grade home: $1.50 sq.ft. ($14 sq.yd.)
Durable home: $4.50 sq.ft. ($40 sq.yd.)
Luxury home: $10 sq.ft. ($90 sq.yd.)

I could dedicate an article to each “situation” above, but it would bore you. Let’s cover a  few highlights and assumptions on each situation:

  • ‘Apartments and rentals’ typically will go with an inexpensive carpet for two reasons: it allows them to replace the carpet more often for new tenants, and it makes it less of a risk if a tenant damages the carpet.
  • ‘Apartment and rentals’ can get their square footage price closer to $0.50 per square foot with bulk orders and negotiating power.
  • ‘Low-grade home’ carpet is great for temporary situations, tight budgets, or rooms that aren’t used often. In high traffic areas, it will only last a couple of years. But if it’s a guest bedroom, it will last a long time since foot traffic is what destroys carpet.
  • ‘Durable home’ carpet is for the typical homeowner. They want a carpet that keeps its new appearance as long as possible. You can spend up to $10 sq.ft. here, but when you start going above $6-7 sq.ft., you start paying a lot for little improvement in durability.
  • ‘Luxury home’ is when you want a carpet that stands out. These carpets are often made of natural materials like wool.

Cost of padding and installation

Carpet pad and installation are often an after-thought when determining the cost to carpet your home, but they shouldn’t be ignored. Some companies will charge per square foot, some will charge per job, and others will throw padding and/or installation in free. At the end of the day, you’re paying for the padding and installation in some form, or the retailer would go out of business. Here’s an estimate of what to expect:

Carpet pad cost: $0.30 to $0.60 sq.ft.
Carpet installation cost: $0.50 sq.ft.

For budgeting purposes, add $1.00 sq.ft. for padding and installation to get a good ballpark estimate.

How much carpet do I need?

Determining how much carpet you need isn’t too difficult, but it also may not be as straightforward as you think.

Here is how to determine how much carpet you need:

  1. Determine the rooms which you want to carpet.
  2. Measure and record the length and which of each room.
  3. Multiply the length and width of each room—this is the room square footage.
  4. Add all the room square footages together—this is your total square feet.
  5. Multiply your total square feet by 1.10—this is your amount of carpet needed.

Not too difficult, but this gives you a basic estimate.

For a little more explanation, a little more accuracy, and how to deal with other areas like stairs, check out our page on how to calculate how much carpet you need.

What about stairs

Stairs come in all different size, but want just a general estimate? The Captain’s rule of thumb is you will need 6 square feet per stair step or 70 square feet per set of stairs. This means it will roughly cost you $385 to carpet a set of stairs.

This assumes standard “waste” and dimensions of 7″x11″x42″ and 12 steps. It also assumes you want to carpet the entire stairs (some people just carpet that part you step on or carpet them in other creative ways). Want to get a more customized estimate for your home or get a better understanding of how I got these numbers? Check out our article on how to measure stairs for carpet.

Carpet cost calculator including pad and installation

Want an idea of what you’ll pay for new carpet?

All you have to do is answer 2 questions. I make some assumptions on my end, but this should give you a ballpark estimate of about what you’ll spend. If you want a more accurate calculator, we have a page for that. The one tradeoff is you’ll have to measure your rooms, but all that takes is a tape measurer and about 5 minutes.

This estimate includes everything: carpet, installation, extra fees, and pad.

Flooring Calculator

How much carpet do you need?

approximately the size of a master bedroom/small living room (250sqft)
2 bedrooms and a living room (600sqft)
3 bedrooms, large great room OR a living + family room (1000sqft)
4 bedrooms, great room, basement OR additional family room, 2 sets of stairs (2000sqft)

How long do you want your carpet to last?

Estimated Cost: (no calculation entered)

Captain’s parting words!

Two of the easiest ways to get ripped off on carpet are paying too much for what you need and paying for more carpet than you need.

These are fixed by learning typical costs for carpet, and how much carpet you need. Hopefully, you now know both.

This gives you the power to create your own carpet invoice. It’s won’t be spot-on with what you get from the store, but it will quickly red-flag if you’re getting ripped off.

Also, if you would like an estimate from a pre-vetted professional, HomeAdvisor does a great job of doing the homework on installers for you. Click here to fill out a form to find pre-qualified installers in your area (even if you don’t know what carpet you want yet–they can help with that!)

But don’t stop there. Check out the rest of our free unbiased carpet buying guide to make sure your carpet project is done right.

Anything I didn’t cover, or have any questions? Let me know in the comments below.

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Libby Grundstrom

As a retired interior designer who hasn’t selected carpeting for a client for years, this is great information. I worked in a flooring/design store and knew a lot about flooring – a few things have changed. This information for the consumer is great. We all have to know so many details of any purchase we want to make that your willingness to keep us up to date is really valuable. Thank you!

Michael Frazier

Cool Bannanas!

Ann Cipriani

We are moving and replacing the carpet in a very visible and large livingroom area. The home is very large and in a great school district in Pittsburgh. What is the least amount I could pay for a carpet that shows well? TY!


We are carpeting a room that is 16’ by 15’3”. There is a closet that is 5’9” by 6’ 3” . The carpet does not have a repeat pattern. The company is saying that we need 44 sq yds of carpet and 36 sq yds of pad. 8 sq yds of waste seems like a lot to me. Also I am being charged for 44 sq yds of install. Is it normal to be charged for install of the waste?

nicole gundlach

I already have the carpet and padding I just need the installation any idea what that would cost