How Much Is Carpet Padding?

Typical Range:

$185 - $425

Find out how much your project will cost.

Cost data is based on research by HomeAdvisor.

Updated July 14, 2022

Written by HomeAdvisor.

The cost to add carpet padding for a standard 10-by-10-square foot room falls between $75 and $375. Per square foot, that's $0.75 to $3.75, including materials and labor, or around $2.25 per square foot on average. The most affordable padding is rebonded foam, while the most expensive is flat rubber. How much you'll pay depends on the size of the area you're covering and the carpet pad type, density, and thickness.

Carpet Padding Prices per Square Foot

Expect to pay an average of $2.25 per square foot for the carpet pad and installation. However, prices will range depending on the material you choose. View the table below for a general estimate of carpet pad costs per square foot.

Square FootageAverage Cost Range (Material and Labor)Average Cost (Material and Labor)
Average flight of stairs$50 – $250$150
120 (room)$90 – $450$270
144 (room)$108 – $540$324
180 (room)$135 – $675$405
225 (room)$170 – $850$510
400 (room)$300 – $1,500$900
800 (apartment)$600 – $3,000$1,800
1,000 (house)$750 – $3,750$2,250
1,500 (house)$1,125 – $5,600$3,360
2,000 (house)$1,500 – $7,500$4,500

Cost of Carpet Padding per Square Yard

The per square yard price for padding is $6.75 to $33.75, including labor. For materials alone, expect to pay $2.25 to $27.

Carpet Pad Price per Roll

Rolls cost $75 to $810 and typically measure 45 by 6 feet, which is equal to 270 square feet. The cost of the roll and installation is between $200 and $1,000.

Carpet Pad Cost by Materials

The most budget-friendly carpet padding is rebonded foam, which starts at $0.25 per square foot for materials only, or $0.75 per square foot installed. It's a good compromise between cost and durability. At up to $3 per square foot for the padding, flat rubber costs the most, or $3.75 with installation. While flat rubber is the most costly option, it's also the most durable, saving you money in the long run.

Carpet Pad MaterialMaterial Cost per Square FootLabor and Material Price Range per Square Foot
Rebonded foam$0.25 – $0.80$0.75 – $1.55
Prime foam$0.25 – $1.50$1 – $2.25
Fiber/jute/felt$0.35 – $1.25$0.85 – $2
Waffle rubber$0.50 – $1$1 – $1.75
Memory foam$0.50 – $1$1 – $1.75
Frothed foam$0.50 – $2$1 – $2.75
Flat rubber$0.75 – $3$1.25 – $3.75

Rebonded Foam

Rebonded foam costs around $0.75 to $1.55 per square foot with installation. It's a popular, affordable option that's widely available. Plus, it's an eco-friendly option because it's made from 100% recycled foam, diverting nonbiodegradable foam from landfills. However, rebonded foam isn’t the most durable, so it’s not suited for use in areas of heavy foot traffic. Also, it isn't compatible with all carpet types so can void your carpet's warranty.

Prime Foam

Prime foam costs around $1 to $2.25 per square foot with installation. This type of foam typically comes free with your new carpet, and while it feels soft when it's first installed, the material won't last. The air pockets quickly compress, and the life span is only three to four years. If you go with this option, remember that you'll have to replace it frequently, and even so, it's only suitable for light-traffic rooms.

Fiber, Jute, or Felt

Fiber carpet padding typically costs around $0.85 to $2 per square foot with installation. Fiber refers to natural, synthetic, or recycled fibers. We break down the differences below:

  • Natural fibers: jute, felt, wool, and horse hair; eco-friendly 

  • Synthetic fibers: nylon, polyester, acrylic, or polypropylene 

  • Recycled fibers: made from textile fibers; eco-friendly 

Natural and recycled options are made from sustainable sources so they can be reused and will eventually break down. Felt carpet padding is the most common natural fiber type, and it's prized for its high density and long-lasting durability. Felt can also withstand high foot traffic and is an excellent insulator, but it doesn't give the softest cushion. Additionally, natural fibers like felt are at risk of mold if installed in basements and other perpetually damp areas.

Waffle Rubber

Waffle rubber carpet padding is priced at around $1 to $1.75 per square foot with installation. This type of pad has a rippled air pocket design and is hypoallergenic and resistant to mold because it's made of rubber. However, waffle rubber is the least dense and not as durable as rebonded rubber, although it feels soft and comfortable.

Memory Foam

Memory foam carpet padding costs about $1 to $1.75 per square foot with installation. It's super-soft to walk on and provides enough "give" to allow for a gentle cushion on the joints. However, it's not durable compared to carpet pads of similar prices, and it isn't suitable for high-traffic areas. Additionally, it causes the carpet to stretch constantly because of how memory foam flexes, which can cause damage long-term.

Frothed Foam

Frothed foam carpet pads run from around $1 to $2.75 per square foot with installation. It's made from polyurethane or urethane foam and is more durable than prime and rebonded foam, which means it can handle high foot traffic better. 

Flat Rubber

Flat rubber carpet padding costs around $1.25 to $3.75 per square foot with installation. While the most expensive option, it's also the densest and most durable, with a life span of up to 20 years. Suitable for most carpet types, including Berber and loop carpets, it’s durable enough for use over concrete floors and a good choice for high-traffic areas.

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Cost of Carpet Underlayment

Part of the cost to install a carpet is adding underlay, which provides a solid, even surface for both the carpet pad and carpet to sit on top of. It also reduces wear and friction on the carpet pad and the carpet and acts as an insulator and shock absorber, helping to decrease noise and increase underfoot comfort. An underlayment costs around $0.50 to $1.25 per square foot for materials only. 

Cost of Luan Underlay

Luan underlay is a type of tropical hardwood typically made into 1/4-inch-thick plywood for underneath flooring and costs $0.50 to $0.75 per square foot. It’s a popular choice since the smooth surface makes it easy to install vinyl sheets and carpet on top. However, luan has poor moisture resistance, so be sure to use sheets or rolls of the top flooring material instead of tiles or squares. This cuts down on the number of openings where water can come through.

Cork Underlayment

The price of cork underlayment is around $0.50 to $1 per square foot. The popular thickness range is 3/32 to 1/4 inch, and it’s easiest to install it onto wooden plank boards before fitting your pad and carpet on top.

Oriented Strand Board

Oriented strand board or OSB costs around $0.50 to $1.25 per square foot. The standard sheet size is 4 by 8 feet, and you can mount the carpet or tile on top of it.

Carpet and Pad Installation Cost

Installing a pad and carpet is typically $2 to $8 per square foot. This includes all materials and labor time for laying down a carpet, the pad, and the underlayment.

It’s around $0.75 to $3.75 per square foot if you only require carpet padding and a contractor to help put it in place. We recommend an underlay underneath, which typically is included with the cost to install a carpet padding.

Cost to Replace Carpet Padding

Replacing carpet padding costs around $0.75 to $3.75 per square foot. The price covers pulling back the existing carpet, removing the old pad, installing a new one, and restretching the carpet. 

Remember that not all pads are of the same quality, so speak with your carpet fitter to find out if you can keep your old one and install a new carpet on top. If you're on a tight budget, hiring a carpet repair pro near you to repair the carpet costs less than replacing carpet padding.

Remove Carpet and Pad

Removing the carpet and the pad costs around $0.25 to $1 per square foot, including labor and waste disposal. Removing it requires pulling it from the tack strips, cutting it into small pieces for easy transport, and stripping old glue if necessary.

How to Choose a Carpet Pad

Aside from the material the padding is made from, you also need to think about the thickness and density of the carpet pad. And it's not just a case of the thicker, the better. Choose the thickness and density based on the carpet manufacturer's specifications. Otherwise, you risk voiding your carpet's warranty and reducing its life span.

Thickness

If you can't find manufacturer specifications, choose the thickness based on the type of carpet you have and how much foot traffic the area gets. For example, in high-traffic areas such as hallways, choose a thinner, firmer pad with around an 8-pound density.  

Living rooms, bedrooms, playrooms, and other low-traffic areas benefit from thicker, softer pads with a 6- to 8-pound density, which gives a softer, more comfortable underfoot feel. 

If you have Berber or short pile carpets, you need a thin pad of no more than 3/8 of an inch. Any thicker than this and you may cause wear and damage to the carpet and will most likely void the warranty.

Density

The denser the padding, the more durable it is—although it’s less soft and less comfortable. Typical carpet padding has a density of between 6 and 8 pounds per cubic foot. However, you can go up to 10 pounds per cubic foot for high-traffic areas like entryways and hallways. These denser carpet pads are much more durable, but they also cost more and are firmer underfoot.

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DIY vs. Hiring a Carpet Pad Installer Near You

If you do the work yourself, you only need to pay $0.50 to $3 per square foot for the pad. Hiring someone is more expensive, but finding a local carpet installation pro is worth your money as they handle the entire carpeting process, including waste disposal. Paying for a contractor will run you from around $1 to $3.75 per square foot, which includes all materials and their time. They can also help you in choosing the right carpet setup for your home. 

How to DIY Install a Carpet Pad

If you do want to go the DIY route, you'll need the following:

  • Safety eyewear

  • Hammer

  • Carpet tack strips

  • Carpet pad rolls

  • Tape measure

  • Carpet knife

  • Staple gun

  • Masking tape

  1. Make sure you clear the area, removing any dust, dirt, or debris.

  2. Nail carpet tack strips around the perimeter of the room.

  3. Start in the farthest corner from the door and unroll the carpet pad, smooth side up, along the longest side of the room.

  4. Cut the padding, leaving a 1/4-inch gap between the padding and the carpet tack strips.

  5. Repeat until the whole floor is covered, with a 1/4-inch gap all around the edge and no overlapping seams.

  6. Staple the seams together, making sure they firmly butt up against one another.

  7. Staple one end of a strip to the underlayment or subfloor. Go to the other end of that strip and pull it tight before stapling it down. This prevents wrinkles in the carpet.

  8. Repeat this process across the room.

  9. Use masking tape to tape up the seams once firmly held in place.

  10. Now you're ready for carpet installation.

FAQs

What is a carpet pad, and do I need one?

A carpet pad is a layer of natural or synthetic material used underneath a carpet. It provides the following benefits:

  • Provides cushioning underfoot

  • Protects your floorboards

  • Adds life by reducing fiber crushing

  • Stops slippage

What is flooring underlayment?

Flooring underlayment is a 1/4- to 1/2-inch-thick material that provides a flat surface to install padding and carpet on top.

How much carpet padding do I need?

How much carpet padding you need depends on the size of the room you're carpeting. Measure the length and width of the room, and multiply those figures to get the square footage. This is how many square feet of carpet pad is necessary to cover the room. It's a good idea to allow a 10% overage, just in case of mishaps during the installation.

How can I get cheap carpet padding?

You can pick up inexpensive carpet padding in seasonal sales from retailers and manufacturers. Look for closeout deals on the end-of-the-line stock, and ask removal and fitting companies if they have large offcuts from recent projects.

Where can I buy carpet padding?

You can buy padding in home improvement stores nationwide. There are also specialist suppliers in most major towns and cities.

What are the best carpet pad brands?

  • Schluter-Systems: DITRA is a 1/8- to 5/16-inch polyethylene padding system that absorbs movement using an angled grid structure and costs around $2.25 per square foot.

  • Future Foam: The company specializes in manufacturing a variety of polyurethane pads with eco-friendly certifications. Its 3/8-inch pad is around $0.50 per square foot, and the 1/2-inch pad is around $0.75 per square foot.

  • DMX1-Step: Its dimpled design using closed-cell polyethylene foam enables airflow and moisture evaporation underneath floors and carpets. It typically costs $1 per square foot.

What is the cost to install a carpet and padding?

Installing both the carpet pad and the carpet costs around $2 to $8 per square foot.

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