Picking Your Budget

Choosing Your Budget For Flooring

Before shopping for flooring in Little Rock, it is important to set a budget and consider all costs involved. Walking into a couple stores and comparing cost per square foot will not provide the full picture. For accurate comparison shopping, it is important to know the estimated square footage of the room(s) to have new flooring, the cost of padding and installation, as well as any additional fees the retailers charge.

Measure the Space

The basic formula for Area is Length x Width. Turn odd areas into rectangles by multiplying the largest dimensions in both directions. 
Rolls come in 12’ widths, so rooms with one dimension smaller than 12’ are easy to estimate. For example, in an 15’ x 11’ room, you will need 15 linear feet from a 12’ roll. Although you will only use 165 square feet (15×11) you will have to purchase 180 square feet (15 x 12). 
For rooms where both dimensions are more than 12’, estimating becomes more complicated. If your room is 18’ x 22’, 22 linear feet of a 12’ roll will leave a 6’ strip uncovered. Although you could easily figure cut pieces to fill in the strip, the result may be less than attractive. The goal in installing carpet is to end up with as few seams as possible. Also, if you have a textured or patterned carpet, matching the pattern at the seams is vital for a polished look and may result in additional waste. 
Leave the layout to the professionals. For the purpose of setting a budget and keeping salespeople honest, the rule of thumb is to figure the square footage of the room(s) and add 10% (multiply by 1.10). While the actual figure may be closer to the actual measurements or as much as 20% more, 10% arms you with a good estimate. 
Don’t forget to include closets when you measure. And also, keep in mind that some carpet is still priced and sold by the yard. One square yard equals nine square feet. (3’x3’). To figure the amount of square yardage you need, divide the square footage by nine. And to convert a per-square-yard price to square feet, divide by nine.

Carpet Padding & Installation Expenses

Padding and installation may not be the beautiful, exciting part of the process, but they are vital to a successful carpet purchase. For more details as to why, refer to the padding and installation sections. Padding ranges from $.30 to $.60 per square foot, and installation adds another $.50 per square foot. 
Some retailers will discount pads and/or square footage and may even offer one or more for free, but they are probably making up for it in product cost. When comparing prices between retailers, figure the total cost of carpet for your estimated square footage, then add the cost of padding and installation so you can compare apples to apples.

Additional Fees

At each place where you shop, ask about additional fees. Even after accounting for carpet, padding and installation, there may be more costs before reaching the bottom line. Shops commonly charge separately for carpet removal, dumping, product delivery and transition strips, for example, and trim like quarter round or base molding may need to be replaced. 
Subfloor issues can also add costs to a flooring project. Consider having your floor inspected, especially if certain areas protrude or sag under foot. 
Beware of deals that seem too good to be true. Companies that promise to carpet “any room” for an incredibly low price may charge far higher than average prices for additional rooms or for rooms larger than 10’ x 10’. Read all terms carefully.

Consider Payment Options

Saving until you can afford to pay cash for a purchase is always sound advice, but if you are planning to buy carpet on credit, interest can add a considerable amount to your purchase. Look for low- to no-interest options from trustworthy sources. 
Some independent flooring retailers now offer financing options, and since they survive on repeat customers and referrals, their terms tend to be reasonable, and their customer service tends to be strong. 
Some credit cards offer no interest for up to 18 months and give cash back for purchases, which could amount to significant savings on a large purchase like flooring if your pay it off in time. Pay attention to the amount of interest that will eventually be charged, and mark the date on a calendar so you don’t get caught by surprise.
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