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Carpet installation

Enjoy greater comfort around your home with newly-installed carpet.

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Carpets can add that final touch you've been looking for in your home, and at a relatively inexpensive cost. The question is, how do you go about organising a carpet installation, and at what cost?

We've got the answers to those questions and more, right here.

Why should I install a carpet in my home?

As well as looking the part, choosing to have carpet in your home helps to keep rooms insulated and your home feeling snug. While you may want to install the carpet yourself to save on money, it's also important to weigh up the cost of the tools you'll need to invest in to enjoy a professional finish and the time it'll save you by having someone else do it for you.

How much does carpet installation cost?

The type of carpet you choose is the most defining factor in carpet installation prices. Here's what you can expect to pay for different types of carpet according to Hipages:

  • Budget: $20 per square meter for basic polypropylene carpet
  • Mid-range: $40 - $60 per square meter for nylon or wool carpeting
  • High-range: $125 - $150 per square meter for high-quality wool

Rather than charging by the hour, carpet installers charge by the square meter. While the price can be as low as $20 per square meter, it can quickly rise to over $60 if you've chosen a delicate carpet material such as nylon or wool.

Carpet installers usually include floor preparation in the cost of their quote, but you may need to pay extra for things like:

  • Carpet removal and disposal
  • Furniture removal
  • Laying carpet on stairs

To avoid any nasty surprises, always ask for a quote that itemises all of the services the carpet layer will provide.

How can I finance carpet installation?

  • Personal loan. Personal loans are normally granted on consideration of your credit score and ability to pay the debt off, and can be used for smaller renovations like carpet installation.
  • Credit card. Depending on the limits on your account, a credit card can be useful for smaller renovations like carpet installation. Remember to weigh up the expense of using a credit card versus other options as the interest rates tend to be higher.
  • Home equity loan. With a home equity loan you can access the equity in your home to finance things like renovations.
  • Home loan redraw facility. If you've made additional payments in your mortgage, you may be able to redraw this money to spend on renovations. Please note that this is only available on some home loans.

The step-by-step process for installing new carpet

Regardless of if you've decided to go down the DIY route or are having your carpet installed professionally, this is the process for installing carpet:

  1. The old carpet is removed and the subfloor is checked to ensure it's clean and level.
  2. A carpet gripper is fit around the perimeter of the room with a gap of 15mm left between the wall. This is fixed into place using nails.
  3. The underfelt is laid and cut to size using a knife.
  4. A staple hammer is used to secure the underfelt to the floor via its edges, and repeated for the second layer of underfelt.
  5. Once this is secure, the carpet is rolled out and measured to size.
  6. The carpet is then accurately cut to size using a sharp knife
  7. A knee kicker is used to secure the carpet into place between the skirting board and the gripper.
  8. A carpet tucker is used to push any excess carpet further onto the gripper.

How long does a carpet installation take?

The length of a carpet installation depends on several factors such as the size of the space you need carpeting, how big the team is and the type of carpet you've chosen to install. As a general rule of thumb, an average-sized team can lay 14 meters of carpet in one hour and it rarely takes more than a day to fit.

How to choose a carpet installer

Before settling on a carpet installer, it's always worth carrying out research into the industry and the installer themselves. Here are some key factors to consider:

  • Licence/experience. While you don't need a specific licence to become a carpet fitter, it's always good to ask about a fitter's qualifications and experience dealing with carpets.
  • Reviews and recommendations. Ask your friends and family for recommendations of carpet installers they might have already used. Alternatively, search online to find reviews from previous customers.
  • Itemised quote. It's important to receive an itemised quote from a carpet installer so you're both clear what work is included for the money. Carpet installation services can also involve carpet removal and disposal and furniture moving.
  • Guarantee/warranty. Will your carpet installer come back to rectify something if there's a problem with his work later on down the line? Tradesmen who offer a guarantee are confident that their work won't cause any problems later down the line.

How to find professionals to install carpet in Australia

You might find that your carpet retailer offers to fit your carpet for you. Otherwise, finding an independent carpet installer is relatively easy via a quick Google search or by searching on a platform like Airtasker, Oneflare or Hipages, or in a business directory like Whitepages.

What questions should I ask a carpet installer?

Don't make the mistake of jumping straight into a job. Remember to ask your carpet installer a few questions first to make sure they're the right person to complete your project.

  • How long have you been working as a carpet installer?
  • What kinds of carpet materials have you worked with before?
  • Do you have any references or testimonials you can show me?
  • How long will the job take and when can you start?
  • Can you provide an itemised quote for the job in writing?
  • Will you move my furniture for me, and dispose of my old carpet?

How to negotiate with a carpet installer

Before you enter into negotiations with a carpet installer, it's a good idea to shop around and collect quotes from different providers. This will give you a good idea of what the current market rates are for carpet laying and give you some bargaining power.

Expert tips about carpet installation

By Chris Stead, Finder's expert DIY and home renovations writer
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Is it better to install carpet yourself or have a professional lay it?

You'd want to very confident in your abilities and in your body to try carpeting a room by yourself. If it's one small square room – and by small, I mean it can be done with one roll of carpet – then you could give it a crack. You'll need the tools to fix the carpet gripper to the edge of the room, and the carpet to the carpet gripper. As well as the skills to cut any edges perfectly straight.

You'll also need the strength of body to pull the carpet tight and hold it tight while it's being secured to avoid folds or lumps. Not to mention heaving the carpet to the installation location and spending a lot of time on your hands and knees. It's hard work!

As soon as your room goes beyond a roll-width in size, or you want to continue the carpet into adjoining rooms and hallways, the experience of a professional really starts to pay off. At this stage you'll need to join rolls of carpet together in a way that isn't noticeable to the eye and doesn't create a trip hazard. Experience counts here, especially in finding the best places to discretely place these joins.

There is also often a lot of wastage, too. Especially if there is an old carpet and underlay that is being replaced. Getting rid of old or wasted carpet is bulky and expensive work. In my opinion, carpeting is not a job you want to do yourself.

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Are there any hidden learnings you can share for first-time carpet installers?

Don't get too focused on a carpet's pile height. It's important, of course, but not as much as the underlay. If you must invest in one over the other, go with the underlay and get that nice and thick. That's going to have the bigger impact on comfort under foot and, in upstairs rooms, the passage of sound.

Also make sure you set some expectations with your installers about their responsibilities with regards to paint damage. You obviously want to paint your rooms before you lay the carpet due to the chance of spillage. But inexperienced carpet installers can be aggressive in scratching the paint at the bottom of door jams and along your skirting. Be clear that any damage will be on them so they take proper care.

You may also want to consider keeping some of the wasted carpet. Not only can this be used later for repair if required, but it can be converted to other purposes. We used leftover bits of our carpet to place under desks, as well as get sown into mats for outside wet areas or transition points between inside and outside. These protect the core carpet, but also blend into the floor so they're not obvious. Plus, you've already paid for it!

What are the most important costs to consider when installing a carpet?

How far are you willing to go on the underlay? It's not something that is seen, only felt. but it does make a big difference. If you upscale on anything, that is the most likely candidate. Although there are obvious strengths and weaknesses to the type of pile used (loop or cut), as well as the type of material (nylon, polyester, olefin, acrylic, wool, etc.).

These decisions need to be made based on the area of the home being carpeted. What is the traffic going to be like? Will it be subject to dirty feet and shoes, or food? These are the kinds of questions you need to answer.

You'll also need to decide if you want closets and wardrobes to be carpeted or not. These are not front facing, so aren't likely to be seen by anyone other than yourself when you open the doors. However, they're tricky areas to carpet due to the confined space of installation and the need for the carpet to be cut in.

If you want your carpet to go all the way, then these relatively small hidden areas will contribute considerably to the time required to install and the amount of carpet you need. Which impacts price. That's something to consider and discuss with the installer when getting a quote.

Do you have any tips on saving money on carpet installation?

Be wary of who is dealing with wastage. Carpet is bulky and heavy, and whether you are getting rid of your old carpet or just wastage, someone must pay. If it's part of your quote, the time required by the tradie to go to the tip and the cost of the tip run itself (likely with a margin) will be factored in. So that's a place where you can look to save cash by doing it yourself, if you're game.

About Chris Stead

Finder's expert DIY and home renovation writer, Chris Stead, spent two years as an owner-builder. He was involved day-to-day from the groundwork up in constructing a two-story family home with a pool and separate granny flat. Working alongside every trade on the journey, tools in hand, he went through all the successes, failures, stress and financial decision making required to renovate in Australia.

Pros and cons: Is carpet a good choice?

Pros

  • Insulates your home better than some other floor materials
  • Creates a safe space for children
  • Huge variety of styles and prices available
  • Absorbs noise in your home and helps to muffle footsteps
  • Inexpensive compared to other flooring options

Cons

  • Shorter shelf life than other types of flooring and will need to be replaced eventually
  • Carpets collect dust which can aggravate allergies
  • Requires a deep-clean at least twice a year
  • Doesn't work well in certain areas like bathrooms and kitchens

Bottom line

To make sure your carpet stands the test of time and looks professional, it's usually worth hiring a skilled carpet installer to fit it for you. While experienced DIYers may be up to the challenge, installing a carpet is a little more involved than you think.

Frequently asked questions about carpet installation

What is the most pet-friendly carpet?

Our four-legged friends can cause plenty of damage to our carpets, which is why they're worth taking into consideration while choosing the type of carpet you want to install. While the durability of a loop pile carpet is beneficial, sharps claws can cause the loops to pull easily. To get around this, it's worth considering carpet tiles that can be replaced easily.

What is causing my carpet to fade?

Sunlight, high temperatures and water spillages can all cause your carpet to fade. To prevent severe fading, consider installing UV-blocking films or solar shades on your windows.

What are the different types of carpet available?

Carpets come in three different variations: cut pile, loop pile, or a combination of the two. Cut pile is the most common choice in today's market as they offer a softer under-the-foot experience. Unlike cut piles, loop pile carpets haven't been sheared, creating a woven effect with a firmer surface. Loop piles tend to be the more durable of the two.

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