2019 Carpet Installation Cost: Nylon, Wool, & Polyester Carpet Prices, Pros and Cons

Wall to wall carpet provides softness and comfort under foot, additional insulation and noise reduction. Its also one of the most affordable flooring materials you can install to update the look of any room in your home.

Carpet installation prices can vary, but the average cost is $3.5-6.5 per square foot. depending on the material, room size and job complexity. You will spend $500-950 on new, average quality carpeting in a standard size 12×12 room.

There is a wide range of carpet materials and designs to consider. Look for a carpet that offers great value, while meeting your aesthetic taste, foot traffic and maintenance preferences.

How much does carpet cost?

Did you know that carpet is of the most cost effective flooring replacement options? Low grade materials cost as little as $1.5-2.00 per square foot. In general, carpet prices for decent quality materials, such as nylon, are $5-8.5 per square foot. Of course there are also high-end carpet options, such as wool, which can cost as much as $18-20 per square foot.

The figures below are only an estimate for basic labor. This is NOT a substitute for a quote from a reputable vendor or contractor. We strongly recommend that you contact a flooring professional for a more accurate carpet installation price estimate.

ItemQuantityLowHigh
Material: Non-discounted retail pricing. 10 yr abrasion resistance. 20 yr stain resistance. 75 oz/sy face weight polyester. Quantity includes typical waste overage, material for repair and local delivery.t250 sq. ft$530$695
Labor (includes the following): measuring and laying out seam locations, setting perimeter tack strip, installing padding, cutting, seaming and securing carpet. Also includes planning, equipment and material acquisition, area preparation, setup and cleanup.5 hrs$290$385
Additional Required Materials and Supplies: manufacturer recommended underlayment, fasteners, adhesives and surface sealants.250 sq. ft$126$145
Equipment Allowance: specialty equipment used for job quality and efficiency, including: 20' stretcher, carpet edge trimmer and hot melt seaming tool.$28.5$40.6
TOTAL COST250 sq. ft$974.5$1,265.6
AVERAGE COST/SQ.FT$3.9$5.06

Price estimates are for Olefin(polypropylene) carpet.

what is included:

1. Material / equipment delivery, as well as service provider transportation to and from the job site.
2. Preparing the job site, including protection of existing structure(s), finishes, and materials.
3. Site cleanup and debris removal at project completion.
4. Labor setup time, mobilization time and minimum hourly charges that are typically included for carpet installation projects.

what is excluded:

1. Removing, relocating, repairing, or modifying existing framing, surfacing, HVAC, electrical, and plumbing systems.
2. Testing and remediation of hazardous materials, such as asbestos or lead.
3. General contractor overhead and markup for organizing and supervising the project. If a GC is supervising carpet installation, expect to add 15% to 25% to the total cost.
4. Permit or inspection fees required by your local building department for the project.

Note: Complex installation jobs can cost almost 2x the labor prices quoted in this estimate.

Room dimensions and carpeting waste

When you calculate your carpet cost, you have to consider the following: carpeting comes in 12 ft rolls. Thus, if your room is wider than 12 ft in both directions, then you will have to use 2 runs of 12 ft wide carpet.

For example, if your room is 13×13 ft, you will have to use two 12 ft wide pieces, because you have to cover 1 additional ft in your room.

Carpet Waste Diagram

This will significantly increase your material costs (as in example you would waste 11×13 ft of carpet). However, there is no way around it, since no one uses left over patches of carpet to cover the leftover square footage.

Prices for popular carpet materials

Here is you how much you can expect to spend on top carpeting options. Generally, labor costs to install any of these materials will be similar to the ones quoted in the table above.

Nylon

Nylon is considered to be the best quality carpet and one that stands up really well to high foot traffic. Therefore, its no surprise that nylon carpets are the most popular among homeowners, and are installed in over 60% of all homes in America.

Nylon boasts the strongest fiber, which makes it ideal for any room of the house, including the hallway, as well as residencies that have many kids and/or pets. Other considerable benefits of a nylon carpet are that it is the MOST durable of the synthetics, is very easy to clean and maintain. Also, it is non-allergenic, resistant to soiling and mildew.

On the down side, nylon is the most expensive of the synthetic carpeting choices. Therefore, it may not be ideal if you are on a tight budget.

If you are thinking of purchasing nylon carpeting, keep in mind that there are 2 general types:

1. Type 6 nylon – this is a budget option. One of the biggest cons is inconsistent fiber quality, which will make this carpet more susceptible to wear and tear.

2. Type 6.6 nylon – this is the high-quality material that is used in brand name carpeting. While it costs more, it offers all the superior features and durability of a premium carpet.

Cost: $4-10 per square foot

Olefin

This is the second most popular material (Nylon is # 1) and is known for its durability, wool-like feel and appearance. Today its the fastest growing material used in residential wall to wall carpeting, and can be found in about 30% of homes across the US.

Initially, olefin was designed for use outside and in basements due to its superior resistance to moisture, mildew, staining, piling, static and shedding. Moreover, it is also a highly colorfast material and will not fade in the sunlight, because it is dyed before its made into fiber. Another huge benefit is that olefin carpeting stands up really well to heavy foot traffic.

Cost: $3-6.5 per square foot

Polyester

Polyester carpeting is a great option, if you are on a budget. While it is not as durable as nylon, it offers stain and mildew resistance, and can be easily cleaned. Polyester carpets are available in a wide selection of textures and colors. On the down side, this material is susceptible to piling and shedding.

If you want to go for polyester carpeting, its best to spend a little extra on better quality. Look for polyester carpets that have a low profile and high-density construction. These will do a much better job standing up to foot traffic over time.

Its best to stay away from high pile, low-density polyester fibers, as these will have the shortest life span, and will not look as good, especially if used heavily.

Cost: $1.5-4.5 per square foot

Wool

If you are looking for natural luxury flooring, wool carpeting is worth checking out. Its a high-end material that offers a uniquely rich look and feel, along with excellent resilience and durability. A wool carpet has tightly packed fibers, which makes it naturally stain and dirt resistant.

On the down side, wool is food for months and is susceptible to shedding. Another potential issue is that it can be damaged by certain alkaline carpet cleaners. Also, its a lot more expensive than all of the synthetic carpet options.

Cost: $5-20 per square foot

Pros and cons of carpet materials

To make your selection process easier, we have compiled a chart that compares different carpet materials.

PropertyPolyesterOlefinNylonWool
Resiliency : based on fiber structure and modifications.Good to ExcellentExcellentExcellentGood to Excellent
Abrasion Resistance: based on the fiber and density of face fiber . The more tightly packed the yarns, the greater resistance to wear.Good to excellentExcellentExcellentGood to excellent
Soil & Stain Resistance: based on color, texture, dyes, fiber structure and modifications.Good to excellent -- oily stains should be treated immediately.Good, if oily stains are treated promptly.Good to excellentGood to excellent
Resistance to Sunlight: based on fiber structure and modifications.Good -- may weaken with prolonged exposure.Good to excellentGood -- special dyes may be used to minimize damage from the sun. Poor -- if protected from the sun, degradation does not occur as quickly.
Resistance to Mildew: based on fiber structure and modificationsExcellentExcellentGood to ExcellentPoor if severely damp or soiled.
Static: based on fiber structure and modification.Builds up in low humidity unless modified.Builds up in low humidity but at a lower level than nylon or polyesterBuilds up in low humidity unless modified.Builds up in low humidity unless modified.
Flammability: based on fiber structure, modification, construction methods, dyes, padding and carpet installation methodsBurns slowly, melts; some are self-extinguishing. Has a chemical odor.Burns and emits a heavy, sooty, waxy smoke. Pulling a heavy object across the carpet surface can cause enough friction to melt the carpet fibers. Has a paraffin wax odor. Burns slowly, melts in direct flame; self-extinguishing. Structure may alter what occurs. Has a celery-like odor.Burns slowly indirect flame; considered self-extinguishing. Has a burning hair odor.
Feel to TouchVaries -- finer fibers are soft and silky.Waxy, softVaries from warm and soft to cold and coarse. Warm and soft

Best carpet for stairs

If you are planning to install carpet on the stairs, the best material is nylon! Safety is a top priority when it comes to selecting carpet for your stairs, because the wrong type of carpet, or one that is very worn out will it much easier to slip and fall.

So how can you avoid dangerous accidents?

Look for a nylon carpet that has a low pile, less than 3/4 inch, which will make it both slip resistant and durable over time to high traffic. Plush style is better and safer compared to looped style, such as Berber. Moreover, highly twisted nylon fiber is a lot more durable and longer lasting, especially on stairs, so look for a carpet that has a tuft twist rating of at least 5.

Another important safety consideration is installing the right carpet pad. Its best to go for a firm thin material, which will provide the most sturdy surface. Good options include thin rubber, synthetic, foam, wool, or felt padding.


Top carpet brands

There are a number of trusted carpeting manufacturers that produce a wide range of good quality carpets, using different materials.

Top carpet brands in the US are:

Shaw
Mohawk
Beaulieu of America
Interface
Milliken
J&J Industries
Collins & Aikman

Get the most value out of your new carpet flooring

There are a number of things you can do to ensure that you get the best quality carpet and installation without being overcharged.

1. Ask for quotes from at least 2-3 carpet vendors and contractors. You may find that a small company may charge less than a large vendor, such as LOWE’S or Home Depot.

2. Consider installing carpeting in multiple rooms/large area of the house vs. just one room. Contractors typically do a markup for small projects and are willing to give better pricing on larger jobs. In fact, you can realize significant savings on the material and labor cost per square foot of a larger vs. a smaller job.

3. Be flexible about scheduling your project. Often, installers are willing to give discounts on their labor during slow/dead times when they are looking to get work.

4. Take the time to check references before hiring a flooring company. You don’t want to end up paying more money to redo someone’s sloppy, unprofessional work.

5. We recommend hiring only licensed and insured pros, especially if your project is of more than average complexity.


About Yelena G

Yelena G. has been working in the remodeling and construction industry for over 15 years. Her focus is on construction planning and design as well as project cost estimating. Yelena also has a personal interest in interior design, as well as in unique DIY remodeling projects. Read more about Yelena

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