My mind was made up.
I never make my mind up so definitively. But this time, I was sure.
When we bought our home, I knew I NEVER EVER want to install carpet again. With my feet on the cold concrete subfloor, I thought, “What’s the first thing I should do when replacing carpet?”
The internet wasn’t super helpful. It told me carpet was disgusting and that I needed hardwood floors.
But the carpet lover in me knew I wanted a plushy surface to step on in the cold of winter. So, I was on the hunt for the carpet that would work for us.
Tips For Hiring Quality Carpet Installers
Scope out your big box options
First, check out the big names in flooring first: Home Depot, Lowes, Floor & Decor, LL Flooring (formerly known as Lumber Liquidators). The first place I visited was my closest big-box hardware store, Home Depot. I went to see their samples in person. I was surprised to see there are so many options in color, thickness, and even pattern! When shopping merely online, it’s tempting to shop from lowest price to highest price or vice versa. But touching the carpet can help you imagine what kind of product you get for each price point.
It helps to find a knowledgeable store representative to ask questions. If the person working the floor section at the time of your visit seems to lack answers to your questions, try revisiting earlier in the day. There’s usually at least one person on the flooring team that is passionate and knowledgeable about flooring.
After that, pick 2 of your favorite samples within your budget and use them to price compare.
Don’t forget about underlayment
People usually either forget about underlayment altogether, or they vastly underestimate the importance of a quality underlayment. Thin underlayment (sometimes referred to as padding) can actually lead to your carpet wearing down faster. We opted for an underlayment that included a moisture barrier. Our subfloor and foundation are concrete, so we chose a material that can tolerate the changing moisture level. The cost of the underlayment combined with the carpet and labor are all a part of the installation estimate.
Get the big box store’s measurements and estimate
I know you can measure your own room for free, but I highly recommend forking over the $30 if costs to get the big box measurements and estimate. Why? For one, they use a laser tool for precise measurements. You can use their measurements and compare them to your own. Additionally, the big box guys email you a detailed diagram of all of the spaces.
When you find your knowledgeable associate, ask the nitty gritty about carpet installation. They have a pamphlet available for basic questions, but volleying questions can be more helpful. Questions I asked included:
- Is there a deposit?
- How long will it take to install?
- What are the warranty options?
- What kind of repairs are not covered under warranty?
- Are new tack strips included?
Tips for saving money with quality carpet installers
Compare prices of carpet installers
Explore your options by doing a quick Google search of local installers with storefronts in your city. Additionally, you choose someone through an online classifieds site like Craigslist or 5Miles. Lastly, you can search for quality carpet installers through online hire services like Angie’s List, Thumbtack, Home Advisor, or other sites. I chose to contact businesses with free estimates. Compare the measurements you took with those obtained from the big box estimate to the measurements of the potential carpet installers you choose. Use those measurements to gage your conversation with the pros.
No matter where you choose to find your carpet installer, be sure to read the reviews and take notes of the negative reviews. I personally used Thumbtack to choose my quality installer and I could not be happier with my selection!
Try for a discount!
The fantastic part about hiring with smaller contractors is the room for negotiation. For example, when I hired my installer, I received a discount for paying in one payment (other than the deposit). It doesn’t hurt to ask! Do they offer discounts for a lump payment? Can you get a better price if the old carpet has been removed? Any AAA or AARP discounts? Demonstrate a great interest working with a company before politely ask for any type of discount. Respect the installer if they do not offer any discounts. Sometimes, a discount is not necessary if the company’s prices are reasonable.
At the beginning of our journey, we ripped up the old carpet and underlayment ourselves. At that time, our city trash picked up construction materials at the curb free of charge. We also used a pry bar to remove the tack strips. After that, we swept and swept the concrete subfloor incessantly. That means the carpet installers only had to lay down the new underlayment and carpet. We made for an easy job.
Be time flexible
If possible, offer a window of time for the company to install the carpet. For example, I gave my installer a week that I was totally open for them to come in and work during the week. The fact that I was open for installation on a Wednesday after the holiday season delighted my carpet installers! That flexibility combined with my ability to pay in one fell swoop made my business attractive. The job for 3 small bedrooms and closets was 4 hours.
In sum, flooring is a substantial investment that deserves time dedicated to finding the best quality for your family and lifestyle needs. Supporting small businesses may be you best bet to hiring quality carpet installers at a reasonable price.
Did I leave any relevant tips out? Have you used any of these tips to hire quality carpet installers yourself? Let me know in the comments!