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Professional vs. DIY Carpet Installation: Which One is Right For You?

Installing carpet yourself may save money, but if it's not done correctly, it may not be worth the savings.

Amanda Scott
Amanda Scott
Hand on white carpet, yellow measuring tape, yellow cutting blade.

If you’re planning on purchasing new carpets, you know that the materials and the labor can be rather expensive. You might be trying to find some ways to save money while still getting high quality carpets. One area that many people cut is professional installation. However, this may not always be the best choice. In order to find out if it is really the best choice for you, you have to consider the pros and cons of both professional carpet installation and >DIY carpet installation.

Man, brown suspenders, gray carpet. Cutting carpet, razor blade.

Professional Carpet Installation

When you hire a professional to install your carpets, you know that the job is going to be done correctly and efficiently. Theoretically, a professional knows how to install carpet padding, how to use all of the specialty tools and how to cut the carpet for each space. They know how much your baseboards will affect carpet installation. Professionals will be able to give you a flawless installation with seams pushed together because carpet care is what they do best.

You also get peace of mind from professionals because they may have a warranty on their labor. Normally, once carpet has been cut and laid the carpet warranty is void. This means that if the job is done poorly, you will just be out the money. However, if you use a professional installation service, they will probably have their own warranty on their labor and installation work. This gives you a bit more of a safety net.

Professional carpet installers can add a lot of good to a carpet installation, but they’re not all good. Getting carpet professionally installed adds a lot of money. You have to pay for the carpet, the padding, labor and carpet removal. You have to wait to get your new carpet until you can fit into the company’s schedule, which may take a while. It can add a lot of money and change your schedule, but in some cases it is worth it.

Knee kicker tool, hands rolling out carpet.

DIY Carpet Installation

Installing carpet on your own means that you are in charge of the quality. You don’t have to worry about letting workers you barely know into your house and hoping that they respect your space enough to leave your house clean. You get to install the new carpet on your own schedule and at your own pace.

One of the biggest bonuses is, of course, that you only have to pay for the carpet, the padding and renting the specialty tools. When you do the installation yourself, you are completely in charge of every aspect. That can be a good or a bad thing.

Doing your own carpet installation is a challenge. You have to know how to use the specialty tools like the knee-kicker, carpet stretcher and seam roller. You also have to know how to find these tools, so that you can rent them.

Also, if you do the installation yourself, there is a chance that you could lose your carpet warranty, so it is extremely important to double check if this is the case or not. That can leave you in a pickle if half way through the project you realize that you bit off more than you can chew. Also, when you do your own carpet installation, you have to pay to dispose of the old carpet, which can be expensive

Foam padding, yellow work gloves, carpet knife, sub flooring.

When is DIY Right?

The fact of the matter is that there is no right answer. There are some cases when DIY installation is the better choice and other situations when it is better to get your carpet professionally installed. How can you tell which is which? You have to evaluate the situation.

First, how much carpet are you installing? Are you doing one room or the entire house? Are you fixing one area or doing an entire flooring renovation? If you’re only putting new carpet in one room or a small space, chances are you can tackle that project yourself. If you’re putting new carpet in your entire house, you may want to consider hiring a professional.

You also should think about the room you are putting the carpet in. For example, a spare bedroom that you use as a playroom for your kids may not need as much attention as the living room where you host all of your friends. You also have to think about the size of the room, the shape and if there are stairs involved in the project. A bigger space or an odd shaped room can be too challenging for a DIY installation.

Another thing to consider is the shape of your sub flooring. If you have ever had flooding or insect issues, there very likely could be damage to your sub flooring.

Even if you don’t know of any of these problems, anyone who has previously owned your home might have experienced them, so it is always a smart idea to thoroughly inspect your sub floor. Any sub flooring damage should be fixed before you install new carpet. This means that if your sub flooring is damaged, it is probably a good idea to hire a professional to do the installation instead of doing it yourself.

DIY carpet installation could be the right choice for you if:

  • You are only working on one room.
  • You have no reason to believe that the sub flooring is in any way damaged or uneven.
  • You know how to use the specialty tools safely.
  • There are no irregularities in the room such as a high number of heating or cooling vents or stairs.
  • The carpet warranty does not require professional installation.

If these criteria are met and you feel confident in your DIY abilities, then you certainly could go ahead and do the carpet installation on your own. However, if you are nervous about cutting the carpet in the right way and using the specialty tools, it really is recommended that you hire a professional.

Carpet swatches in blues, grays and beige. Brown carpet, house shoes.

Carpet is an Investment

New carpet (or flooring of any kind) is a big investment. You need to make sure that your carpet is installed well in order to get the longest life out of it as possible. Carefully consider the method of installation in order to figure out if you know enough to do the installation yourself or if it would be wiser to trust a professional.

Carpet is an investment that you want to protect for as long as you can, which might ultimately mean turning to a professional in carpet care when it comes to installation. Remember, DIY carpet installation will only save you money when you know what you’re doing. Mistakes during your DIY carpet installation might end up making your project cost more money than it would with a professional installation. That’s why it can be beneficial to just go with a professional carpet installation company in the first place.

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