How much does carpet installation cost? The carpet, materials costs, and labor all drive the project’s budget. Seventh-grade mathematics is all that is needed to calculate carpet installation cost. The main thing upon which the whole project cost hinges is accurate measuring and calculations.
The shape of the rooms is important. Since most rooms are rectangular the following formula applies:
Area of room = Length x Width (applies only to rectangular spaces)
Do not include those rectangular areas that aren’t to be carpeted (pantries, closets, etc.)
For rooms with alcoves or offsets of differing shapes (for example, many breakfast nooks are half-hexagonal or are semi-circular) break the total space down into rectangles, triangles, and/or semi-circular areas on paper. Then, use the additional formulae:
1. Area of triangle = ½ x Base x Height
2. Area of semi-circle = ½ x 3.14 x (Radius of Circle)2
Make a rough sketch of the room on a sheet of paper. Measure each space to be carpeted. Add up the square footage obtained for each room. This gives the net carpet square-footage needed.
Carpet is generally sold in square yards, not in square feet. To convert to square yards, take the total number of square feet, and divide that number by 9:
Square yards = square feet/9
(Example: total carpeted living space is 1800 ft2. Dividing this number by 9 gives 200 square yards of carpeting needed)
Carpeting must be stretched to remove wrinkles, requires seaming along edges where pieces meet, and must be trimmed along baseboards, and in and around corners. Because of this finishing work it is best to have a small amount of extra material. The industry standard is an additional 10% to the basic need. Calculate the excess needed for the job. In the above example, adding 20 square yards of material (10% of 200 yd2) now means 220 square yards of carpet are necessary.
Carpeting is not generally applied directly to bare floor; carpet padding cost must be considered. The yardage needed for carpet padding (including the 10% overage) is the same as for the carpet.
Determine the total carpet and padding cost:
Carpet system cost = sq yds needed x ($/sq yd of carpet + $/sq yd of padding).
(Example: using the 220 yd2 calculated above, assume carpet is $10/yd2 and padding is $5/yd2. Then, the total cost of the carpet system is 220 yd2 x $15/yd2. This equals $3300).
Two more expenses come into play. The first is sundry material costs, such as glues, carpet tacks, trim molding, or seaming strips. The other cost is labor. Generally, the labor cost of installation ranges from $3.50 to $6 per square yard. Carpet padding, of course is less costly, running about $0.50 per square yard for labor. Thus, in the current example, carpet system labor costs (using simple mathematics) are between $880 and $1430. Another consideration is removal of old flooring; although some provide this service for free most installers charge (usually around $0.50 per square yard).
One of the best ways that a homeowner can save on the carpet installation cost is by cutting out the labor expens by personally doing the job or hiring help. On average, 15 square yards of carpet can be lain in an hour by a two-man team (this translates into 2 man-hours). An “hourly” wage rate would be based upon 2 man-hours per every 15 square yards of carpeting (so, in the on-going example, 220 square yards should take about 220/15 x 2 or roughly 30 man-hours to complete).
Some other unexpected costs may arise if the new carpet is plush and much thicker than the carpet being removed. This may mean that doors need to be trimmed in order to open and close smoothly over the new floor. This may require a carpenter or handyman. DIY fans can most likely remove the door and saw off the bottom to the desired length and reinstall, but not everyone is capable of doing in themselves.
This is a basic overview of the requirements for estimating carpet installation costs. In summary, the three main cost elements are carpet plus padding, labor, and other materials. The investment will significantly improve a home’s value. Certainly the homeowners can save money by installing the carpet themselves. Calculating carpet installation costs isn’t difficult. And, if needed, further information can be obtained by talking to your local carpet retailer.
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