How to Find a Qualified Carpet Installer

AbcCarpetPro.com Carpet Professor

The Best Carpet Installers rarely need to advertise to find work because of their great reputation.

Top-notch carpet installers can be difficult to find. Getting your carpet installed quickly may be next to impossible as the best installers are booked up weeks in advance.

For this reason, you would be wise to start your search for a qualified carpet installer before you order new carpet.

The best way to find a good carpet installer is by word of mouth.

Carpet retailers are often reluctant to give carpet installer recommendations to you because they would prefer to keep their best in-house installers to themselves.

You can call around to see if any carpet store has suggestions for you, but you still need to be cautious. Make sure any installer you hire is experienced with your type of carpet installation.

Check references and verify required licensing with the state. How to Verify a Contractor’s License

You can also call local carpet installation supply companies to get a recommendation for a good installer.

These companies provide all the products that carpet installers need including tools, seam tape, tackless strips, transition metals and adhesives.

The people working in the warehouse know which installers are active and use quality supplies. Often they have a cork board on the wall where installers can place their business cards.

A Google search for Carpet Sundries will show businesses that you might call to ask about a carpet installer recommendation.

You could visit one of these businesses early in the morning, before 8 am and speak with installers who are picking up supplies for their day. Here in Portland Oregon, I got my supplies from T & A Supply.

Most carpet retailers provide installation as part of a package deal.

Local carpet retailers have their own carpet installation crews. When buy new carpet and padding from them, installation is automatically included in the deal.

Installation is a part of the package deal. You have no say as to who is installing your carpet or know anything about their level of experience. A reputable carpet retailer uses qualified installers.

The benefit for you is that the retailer stands behind the installation and if you ever have a problem, they will answer the call and make sure all your concerns are addressed.

Carpet Installation Warranties

Many carpet stores offer a installation warranty of more than one year. Some even offer a lifetime carpet installation warranty.

The typical carpet installation warranty provided by independent carpet installers is one year.

If you hire an independent carpet installer and have an installation problem you would have to contact the installer directly.

In most cases this is not a problem and the installer will come back and fix any concerns you may have.

If you do have a installation concern, act fast… before the installation warranty expires.

“If installed wrong, your new carpet could lose more than half of its intended lifespan!”

Finding and hiring a qualified carpet installer can be challenging.

The best carpet installers charge a little more and are often very busy, but is well worth the wait if you need to get top-notch installation!

Some carpet installation jobs are more difficult than others and require that you hire a well experienced installer.

For example, installing expensive carpet in a custom home requires much more expertise than does installing apartment-grade carpet in a rental unit.

Not all experience is good experience

Of course everyone wants their carpet installed correctly, and hiring an installer with minimum of 5 years experience is where I would draw the line with a simple installation job.

So, if you buy a more expensive carpet or your carpet job is quite large, more difficult or tricky, than you should find a carpet installer with more years of experience.

I personally believe that it takes at least 10 years before any flooring installer can truly begin to master their trade, and that’s only if they have the desire to become the best of the best.

Should I Hire an Untrained installer?

You don’t have to go to school to be considered a trained installer. I was mentored by several master craftsmen who took the time to teach me the tricks of the trade.

Unfortunately, many carpet installers NEVER become anything more than a poor-quality installer because they either lack training, or don’t have the ambition to become a master of their trade.

Some installers prefer to install low-quality materials and make just enough money to get by. They prefer to work “under the table” and ask to be paid in cash. They may offer you a discount if you do.

These are not the type of installers you want to hire because you cannot depend on them to do a good job or show up on time. That’s why everyone refers to them as fly-by-night installers.

Bear in mind, if you pay in cash and don’t get a written receipt with their name and contractors license information, then you will have no recourse if something goes wrong.

You will not have any recourse when they leave town, disappear and cannot be contacted if and when you have an installation problem.

If you have a problem with your installation it may be hard to get them to come back to fix the problem.

Incompetent carpet installers usually are easy to spot. Here are some of the tell-tale signs of a less-experienced carpet installer.

  1. Advertise on Craigslist or the local Thrifty Nickel Newspaper, 
  2. They typically have an older pickup truck or van with stuff piled up on the dashboard, 
  3. Have a wife or girlfriend that does the driving,
  4. They wear tattered and mis-matched clothing,
  5. Wreak of stale beer and cigarettes. 

How to Verify a Contractor’s License

What type of experience does this Carpet Installer have?

Some carpet installers can charge more because they are more experienced in doing custom homes and commercial work. Some charge less because they are used to doing rentals or property management work. (apartments and rental homes).

You need to determine what level of expertise your job requires and then hire an installer according to their level of expertise.

If you are just carpeting one or two rooms with an inexpensive carpet, you don’t need to hire the best and most expensive carpet installer in town.

Carpeting your whole house with expensive carpet with a challenging layout would demand hiring the absolute best carpet installer you can find.

Learn more about Carpet Installation Cost

4 Levels of Carpet Installer Experience:

  1. Property Management Carpet Installer  

Carpet installers with this type of experience is obtained from installing low to medium grades of carpet in unoccupied apartments or rental properties.

  • They have limited experience with installing carpet on stairs, and limited experience with difficult or tricky installations.
  • Use lower quality installation products (glues, seam tape, tack-less strips, transition metals) in order to save money. 
  • They charge less per yard because the job is less demanding and they are able to install more yards in a day.

Installers who do apartment or property management work are generally paid the least amount per yard of all installers.

Many young people have become carpet installers as a result of being hired as a carpet layers helper. Few are formally trained or have completed an apprentice program.

This is not to say that you should not hire them, but you need to be aware that many may lack the experience to perform all types of carpet installations.

  1. New Home Construction Carpet Installer   

Installers with the bulk of their trade experience from new home construction will have increased knowledge of installing different types of stairs. (carpet can be very difficult to install on some types of stairs)

  • They will have more experience working with various styles, types and grades of carpet as well. 
  • Have to satisfy the builder and the new homeowners with their performance, which makes them pay closer attention to detail.

Builders usually pay less than the standard rate for this type of installer but there is usually a greater volume of work available to the installer.

  1. Residential Remodel Carpet Installer
    These installers are well seasoned and are paid quite well. You can count on them to do a great job for residential remodeling applications. They command higher than normal fees and are booked weeks in advance. They
  • Always show up on time, have a newer vehicle and are neatly dressed.
  • Look professional and they have good answers to all your carpet questions and concerns.
  • Regularly install carpet and flooring in upscale homes and condos and may even do commercial work.
  • Are licensed, bonded and insured.

Be prepared to pay above the going rate for this type of carpet installer in your area, but also expect the job to be done right the first time.

  1. High-End Custom Homes Carpet Installer

Carpet Installers who are more experienced are paid the highest fees.

  • Usually booked months in advance with custom home builders and million dollar realtors, and may not be willing to take on smaller projects.
  • They can be quite picky about the jobs they accept. Their installation fees can be quite high, but you can expect installation perfection! 
  • Have been licensed, bonded and insured for a long time, and carry a Worker’s Compensation Policy for their employees.

If you are able to schedule them, you will receive first-class carpet installation and excellent  customer service. You may have to wait several weeks before they are available to install your new carpet.

Think their prices are high? Wait till you see the price of hiring a lousy carpet installer!

Learn more about free or low-cost Whole-House Carpet Installation Advertised Specials from Home Depot or Lowe’s.

Next up: Carpet Installation Cost

AbcCarpetPro.com Carpet Professor

Carpet Wrinkles – Moisture Problems for New Homeowner

Q. Carpet Wrinkles and Moisture Problems?

I just found your Carpet Professor website and have a carpet question for you which you may or may not be able to answer.

Carpet WrinkleWe had our home built two years ago and we selected Shaw’s “Simple Touch” carpet along with an upgraded padding (listed as 8-lb Envirostep).

Since then, we have had several issues with carpet wrinkles where it is bunching up badly in every room and down the hallway. This is not just a small wrinkle we are talking about, this is 1” and 2” inch folds in the carpet.

The builder sent the carpet installers back and they re-stretched the carpets twice within the first year, but they did so without moving out the furniture.

Now that the one-year installation warranty has expired, the carpets are once again badly bunching up in the exact same spots as before! The builder now says it needs to be re-stretched again because “The carpet was installed when it was cold”… but now I am thinking this has to be something more than just a problem with the carpet or pad.

Is it possible there might be a problem with the padding and carpet compatibility? Any thoughts or suggestions?

Alan’s Reply:

I wish I had good news for you. You have a selected a low-quality P.E.T. Polyester builder-grade carpet designed for use in low foot-traffic applications. If you have medium to heavy foot traffic, this could cause your carpet to lose its stretch and develop wrinkles in a hurry.

It’s also possible that the padding height, if over 7/16” may have contributed to the wrinkles, but I suspect that high humidity, a moisture problem or excessive wetness from a poor quality carpet cleaning may have contributed to the problem.

You have little recourse unless you can convince the builder to re-stretch it again at no charge to you. You should also make arrangements to move out all the furniture yourself if they won’t do it as it will help them re-stretch the carpet more effectively.

Meanwhile, save your money and put in a better grade of carpet when you can. I always recommend buying a Nylon Carpet if you want a long-lasting more durable carpet. In the meantime, make sure you don’t have an unchecked moisture problem.

Carpet Wrinkles and Moisture Problems

Check to make sure your gutters and downspouts are deflecting rain water away from your home properly. This is a very common source of moisture problems for homeowners.

If you have a basement or your home is built on a slab, it would be smart to do a moisture test to make sure the concrete is not a source of moisture.

Have the concrete sealed if there is a problem. It’s not too costly to have the concrete professionally sealed. You can even do it yourself for less using Thompson’s Water Seal available at your local hardware store.

Alan aka The Carpet Professor

Follow up:

Thanks so much for the response Alan,

Ironically we had a major moisture problem in the crawl space under the house the first year. (Standing water) and the house was covered with mold.

They removed the mold and sealed the crawl space and now it’s all climate-controlled. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is what caused the carpet problems.

The good news is the builder will be coming out to re-stretch the carpet again despite it being 2.5 yrs after build, the bad news is we have to live with a low quality carpet (which I already figured…even with no bunching.

I hate how the pile mats down with the first foot print) so I guess we will suck it up until we have enough money to get all new carpeting in a couple years…. Thanks again!

AbcCarpetPro.com Carpet Professor

Carpet Installation Cost, Extra Fees and Charges

Carpet Installation Cost and Fees

Rolls of Carpet
Local Carpet Retailer Displays Rolls of Carpet

Carpet installation costs, fees & extra charges can vary greatly depending on your location.

Other factors include how difficult your job is and the style and grade of Carpet you select.

In different parts of the United States, the current prices for Carpet Installation vary higher or lower depending on the current supply and demand in your area.

Right now is a good time to buy new carpet because installation costs are still lower due to the reduced amount of consumer spending on basic home improvements.

Home sales are up in 2021 and consumers have been buying new cars in record numbers…  and I guarantee carpet installation prices will be going up too.

Making sure your carpet installer is qualified is your responsibility. Don’t assume that every carpet installer is qualified to install your carpet.

In fact, I firmly believe that less than 35% of all carpet installers are properly trained.

Asking for references and making sure they are licensed, bonded (if required by your state) and insured (business liability) is your responsibility.

Here is a helpful link: http://www.howtobuycarpet.com/contractor_state_license_requirements.htm

States with the lowest carpet installation costs have typically been Florida, Texas, New Mexico, and Southern California.

Other southern states like Louisiana, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Arkansas and Southern Arizona have fairly inexpensive carpet labor and installation costs too.

Prices will range from $2.25 per yard to $4.50 per yard depending on the difficulty of the job and the carpet selected.

The highest carpet installation prices are in the Northeastern states like New York, Virginia, Massachusetts and Ohio and also in the Pacific Northwest like Oregon and Washington and Northern California.

Prices may range from $3.50 per yard for a medium grade plush style carpet to $6.50 per yard for a heavy duty looped Berber style carpet.

In our current economy, there are a lot more hungry carpet installers out there looking for work.

This is good news for those consumers who have money to spend on home renovations and are willing to do a little legwork to find a qualified carpet installer and negotiate …

Most Retailers Bundle the Cost for Carpet, Padding and Installation.

SHOP AT HOME FOR CARPET
It’s great to be able to shop at home for carpet. It’s fun, easy and saves time too.

To get your best TOTAL carpet deal, you will have to negotiate with the carpet dealers of your choice and not be afraid to ask the retailer for a discount or other incentives for you to buy from them.

The smart homeowner always gets at least three bids/estimates and then takes plenty of time to negotiate a better deal. Patience is key here, and those who wait for the price to come down are the winners. Be sure you are comparing apples to apples!

I think that asking for a minimum of a 10% to 15% discount is very reasonable as long as you are ready to write a check at the end of the day.

If you are daring, ask for a 20% discount and see what happens. They may say no, but you have nothing to lose by asking. Just be sure you have selected the right carpet and padding that will meet your needs and goals!

Take my free Carpet Foot Traffic Test to see what grade of carpet you need to buy.

Carpet Installation Scams

Some carpet retailers choose to make additional profits by adding an extra fee or surcharge on top of the standard going rate for carpet installation charges, often adding as much as 25% to the total installation cost.

I feel this is an unfair charge to the consumer and a big slap in the face to the installer.

Carpet installers work very hard and earn every dime they make.

If a retailer is going to pay their installers peanuts and then charge customers a surcharge on top of that, well that is just not right.

Carpet retailers already make a fair and reasonable profit from the markup on carpet and pad.

If you find that a carpet dealer has exorbitant carpet installation charges, I suggest you consider shopping elsewhere!

Learn More: Find a Qualified Carpet Installer Near Me

Carpet Installation Cost

Beyond the scope of a “Basic” Carpet Installation

While they continue to change the advertised prices for their “basic” carpet installation on a frequent basis. I have found that Home Depot and Lowe’s basic carpet installation service does not cover very much ground.

The key wording here is “basic” What is a basic installation? What is their definition of a “basic carpet installation?

Apparently, if your carpet installation job is not considered “Basic” and is determined to be more difficult or more involved, then you may find that the final bill for your carpet install is much higher than you had expected.

Don’t assume that their advertised low price for installation is valid for you in your situation.

Carpet Installation Cost Extra Fees

After your new carpet has been installed, you may be faced with a sizable and unexpected final bill for extra fees and services that were beyond their limited definition of a “Basic Install”.

About Carpet Sales Gimmicks:

I’ve been in the carpet business for 3 decades and I’ve seen every trick in the book. Trust me on this: Don’t fall for any “wow factor” sales gimmicks.

Don’t trust any television ad that says if you buy one room of flooring then they will give you two rooms of flooring for free.

Free Carpet Installation?
Be leery of Discounted Carpet Installation Specials you see on TV!

Don’t be so gullible. The fine print will beat you every time and you will not get the great deal you hoped for.

You need to be absolutely sure your new carpet has been installed properly.

You cannot afford to take chances by having your expensive new carpet installed cheaply by a third party.

Read more about: How To Find a Qualified Carpet Installer

Carpet Installation Cost and Extra Fees

Removing your old Carpet and Padding and hauling it away

Tearing out and disposing of the old carpet and padding can cost anywhere from $1.50 to $2.50 per yard or more.

An experienced Carpet Installation crew of three can remove 100 yards of carpet and pad in less than an hour on a normal job.

I personally think $2.00 per yard is a fair price to remove the old carpet and padding.

Most carpet dealers have an onsite dumpster to reduce the cost and hassle of taking one load at a time to the local landfill.

Carpet Installation Costs for Mobile Homes

If you need new carpet for a mobile home, there is going to be some added costs to remove the old carpet and pad if it is the original carpet.

When mobile homes are made, they put down the carpet and then install the walls right down on top of the carpet and padding.

This makes it very hard to remove the old carpet because it has to be cut at the base of all the walls and then new tack-less strips must be installed.

Most carpet installers do not like installing new carpet in mobile homes because the outer walls are not sturdy enough to leverage the foot of a power stretcher.

This means using other more time consuming methods to get the carpet stretched in properly.

Floor repairs are also more difficult to perform because mobile homes are built over a metal frame, not the standard 16″ on-center wooden floor joists that most homes utilize.

Expect to pay more if you need any floor repairs done. Most installers charge at least $35 per hour per person for floor prep work.

Installing New Tack-less Strips

All new construction jobs will require that new tack strips be installed. It’s easier to install tack-less strips on a wood floor than on a concrete slab.

The fee for new tack strips on wood might be an additional .50 to 1.00 per yard.

The fee for installing tack strips over concrete might be an additional $1.00 to $2.00 per yard or more.

In existing homes with damaged tack strips that need to be replaced, the fee should be about $2.00 to $3.00 per each four-foot section that must be replaced. (tack-less strips come in 4′ foot lengths)

What are Carpet Tack-less Strips?

Tack-less strips (often called tack-strip) are wooden strips with sharp pins that are installed all around the perimeter of each room near to the walls.

Tack-less strips are about 1″ wide and 4 feet long. Tack-less strips are what hold your carpet to the floor and allow it to be stretched-in tightly to prevent wrinkles.

The sharp pins hold the carpet tight because they are angled towards the wall.  They are nailed down to the floor.

Carpet Installation Cost Extra Fees - Tack-less Replacement
Carpet Installation Cost Extra Fees – Tack-less Replacement

The carpet padding is butted up against the inner side of the strips. The carpet goes over the pad and stretched over the top of the tack-less strips.

Then the raw edge of the carpet is tucked into the wall and floor crevice or underneath the wall molding for a nice finished look.

Carpet Transitions and Thresholds

The raw edge of the carpet will eventually end or butt up to another carpet or other types of flooring at the entry doorways and at kitchens, baths and utility rooms and must have a transition installed of some type.

Examples are: Carpet to carpet, Carpet to vinyl, carpet to hardwoods, carpet to vinyl tiles, and carpet to ceramic tile are some of the most common locations where a transition or threshold of some type will be necessary.

Carpet Installation Cost and Extra Fees.
Berber Carpet to Ceramic Tile Transition. Carpet Installation Cost Extra Fees
Transition Strip – Berber Carpet to Ceramic Tile

Transitions can be made of wood, metal, rubber or plastic. Each transition is available in different quality levels depending on the application.

The correct transition must be used to ensure durability without fail.

The total cost of transitions varies widely and should be discussed with your carpet estimator/retailer/installer before the final bid/estimate is finalized.

Next Free Article: How to Buy New Carpet Wisely

Carpet ProfessorCarpet Installation Cost, Extra Fees and Charges.