Installation Cost of Carpet on Stairs
The average cost to have carpeting installed or replaced on your stairs and landings is around $28 per square foot. For do-it-yourself homeowners, you can expect the cost to be around $14 / square foot, though the results are rarely as good as when a professional does the job.
Professional installation typically includes the cost of the carpet, new padding, installation supplies, replacement trim if needed, and removal and disposal of your old carpet.
Overview of Carpeting on Stairs
Carpet installation on stairs is labor-intensive, so the cost is much higher than installing this flooring in the rest of the house. In fact, when you get carpet installation estimates, carpeted stairs might be given their own line item for labor.
As for the carpet, which is the second largest factor after the labor in stairway carpet replacement cost, there are many different types of colors, materials, and patterns to choose from, and cost varies significantly. Additional factors discussed below will contribute to the cost of carpeting a stairway, such as stair length, whether stair rail spindles have to be worked around, and site conditions.
The low end of the carpet spectrum is polyester or olefin, which costs $1 – $2 per square foot or $9 – $18 per square yard. Mid-range carpet choices for stairs are Triextra and nylon. The cost for midrange carpeting is between $3 – $5 per square foot and $27 – $45 per square yard. The most expensive carpet choice is wool carpeting. Wool carpeting is $20 per square foot or $180 per square yard.
The average price to carpet your stairs is around $550, which is for a 12-step stairway and using Berber olefin carpet without spindles. The high end of the spectrum is a 12-step stairway with spindles with wool carpeting can cost up to $2,500. Both projects will require around 12 yards of carpeting.
Cost Factors for Carpet on Stairs
There are many different factors that will affect the total cost of removing existing carpet and then installing new carpet on a stairway. Below is a list of factors that will determine the bottom line of how much it will cost to replace carpet on your stairs:
- Number of stairs – Contractors usually charge a “per stair” fee to go along the square footage cost. This fee is generally between $10 and $50 per square foot, depending on where you live, site conditions, etc.
- Carpet removal and disposal costs – A contractor will charge between $1 and $3 per square foot for the removal and disposal of the existing carpet that was on the stairs.
- Type of carpet – The price and quantity of carpet ranges greatly. Some types of carpet, such as olefin or polyester, are usually between $1 and $2 per square foot. Higher end carpet, like wool, can be as expensive as $20 per square foot.
- Spindles on the stairway – If a stairway has spindles, then you can expect to pay between $2 and $15 more per stair or spindle. Working around spindles is a difficult and tedious task. More cuts are required, and the carpet has to be cut, stretched, and stapled around each spindle.
- Carpet runner – Carpet runners are slightly more expensive than carpet on the entire stairway. Expect to pay around $0.50 to $1 more per square foot for the installation of carpet runners, due to having more intricate cuts required.
- Landing – Adding carpet to a stairway with a landing is not more difficult than a normal stairway, but it requires more carpet, which will make the project slightly more expensive.
- Site conditions – The condition of the stairs will affect the overall installation cost. If the stairs are in poor condition, then they will need to be fixed or replaced before the carpet is installed. Also, some stairs are steeper than the standard stairway (which may not be up to building codes). This makes it more difficult to install and also can be a safety hazard.
Cost of Carpet and Installation Supplies
Below is a list of the retail prices for every material that a homeowner will need to properly remove and then install new carpet on your stairway
- $2 – $20 per square foot | Carpet
- $5 – $25 per tool | Vice grips
- $5 – $20 per knife | Heavy-duty utility knife
- $0.25 – $0.40 per square foot | Carpet padding
- $7 – $10 per box | 5,000 ½-inch carpet staples
Permits, Inspection, and Installation Costs
Permits and Inspection Cost
- $0 | A permit is not required for a homeowner to replace and install carpet on stairs at their home.
Labor and Installation Time
Labor cost is $20-$40 per stair. Fixr puts labor at $3-$15 per stair, and Costaide says $4 to $8 each. Both are unrealistically low. HomeGuide is closer to our estimate at $20-$45 per stair, and yes, it could cost as much as $45 per stair if site conditions are poor or, for example, if the carpet is installed as a runner that has to be edged on both side, which is time-consuming work.
The cost to replace carpet on stairs is determined by:
- Whether spindles must be trimmed around or a carpet runner edged
- Width of the stairs
- Cost of labor in your area
- Time of year – getting new carpet before the holidays, for example, comes with premium labor rates
- Experience of the installer – It is worth paying more for a quality job from an experienced carpet layer
Project Completion Time
- 3 hours – 2 days | Carpet installation on stairs
The time that it will take for carpet installation on stairs depends on a few different factors. First of all, if there are spindles on the staircase, this will take added time due to the complexity of going around the spindles. Also, the number of stairs that are to be carpeted plays in for the installation time.
Finally, whether or not the staircase has a landing that needs to be carpeted or if you are installing a runner, rather than carpeting the entire stairs. All in all, an experienced carpet layer can carpet a non-spindle stairway in an hour or two. However, if you choose not to hire an experienced carpet installer and choose to do the job yourself, expect it to take a full day or more.
We’ve found the projects listed below to be commonly related to having a carpet installed.
Are You a Pro Carpet Installer?
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DIY or Hire a Pro
Replacing and installing carpet on stairs is a tough job to do correctly, and it requires skill and experience. The last thing you want is loose or rumpled carpet on a stairway causing a slip or fall. Getting carpeting to lay right around spindles is something of an art, and a first timer trying it DIY is unlikely to succeed.
A homeowner may be able to save a bit of money by removing the existing carpet from the stairs. But laying carpet on stairs is one of those indoor projects that usually requires hiring a professional to get pro-looking results.
Compare Costs from Leading Resources
- Thumbtack: $18 - $35, Per Step, Installed
- Fixr: $12 - $42, Per Step Installed
- HomeServe: $10 - $45, Per Stair Installed