How Much Does Carpet Padding Cost?

Written by: Staff
Last Updated:  August 7, 2018

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Carpet padding, the pad installed under the carpet before it is installed, can come in many types such as a waffle rubber, foam, rebond, slab rubber, fiber and Berber.  Some companies may charge you an additional fee for the carpet padding or may charge you an upgrade fee if you don’t like the padding they throw in for free.

carpet padding by jasoneppink, on Flickr
carpet padding” (CC BY 2.0) by  jasoneppink

How much are typical carpet padding prices?

Carpet padding, on average, can cost anywhere from $0.25 to as much as $0.80 per square foot.  When the professional installation is factored in, it’s best to budget another $0.50 to $0.75 per square foot.  The cost will depend on the type (see below), the thickness, density, brand and who you purchase the carpet padding from.

Carpet Captain says for budgeting purposes, it’s best to add $1 per square foot for the padding and the installation job.

Lowe’s carpet padding, for example, cost anywhere from $0.50 to $1.10 per square foot.  Menard’s, on the other hand, has over 30 options and the prices range anywhere from $0.25 to $0.79 per square foot.

TypePrice Range (per square foot WITHOUT installation)
FoamUsually free with purchase. If purchased separate, less than $0.15 per square foot.
Prime Urethane Foam$0.60 to $0.75
Rebond$0.40 to $0.50
Specialized$0.75 to $1
Waffle$0.40 to $0.50
Wool or Fiber:$0.60 to $0.75

This table shows you what the average thickness will cost per square foot:

ThicknessCost (per square foot)
9.12$1 to $1.15 for a STAINMASTER
11$0.35 to $0.55 for synthetic
11.43mm$0.70 to $0.90 for STAINMASTER rebond
12.7mm$0.70 to $1.10 for Rebond or Foam

Carpet padding overview

This padding will have various thicknesses and densities, and this will vary from one manufacturer to another.  For most residential carpets, 7/16-inches will be the most common choice.  As for the density, it can be as low as three pounds to as high as 10; however, six, seven and eight tend to be the most common choice in a residential setting, while three to five pounds could be found in apartments since it’s cheaper and has to be replaced more often.

Carpet padding usually comes in 150 to 200 square foot rolls.  It will be wrapped as well as rolled to make for easy transportation and delivery.

Step Ahead Carpet Cushion with Nike Grind, TrafficMASTER, Shaw, Odoban and STAINMASTER are popular brands you will see at most carpet retailers.

What are the extra costs?

Carpet, if you’re replacing, will be an additional expense to consider.  See: “How much does carpet cost?

Tack strips and/or glue may be necessary in order to pin the padding to the ground.  Glue will be necessary for harder surfaces such as concrete.

Carpet padding purchased online may have additional shipping charges.  For larger orders, freight shipping services may be necessary in order to get it to your home or business.

Types of carpet padding:


Also known as urethane, this type of pad will be the most inexpensive type on the market and will be very light in weight.  If the store is going to offer you a free option, this is usually the type they are going to give you.  This type of padding will be cheap and won’t be able to tolerate much in terms of traffic.  After a few years, it can start to feel flat and won’t last longer than three to five years.

Prime Urethane Foam

This padding won’t be made of recycled material like a rebond padding; instead, it will be made from a very dense polyurethane.  While it’s designed for a commercial setting, it can be installed in a residential setting due to its durability.


This pad will be the most common type, usually found in a residential setting.  It will be made from recycled urethane foam and will have multiple colors.  This padding will be available everywhere and can come in virtually every thickness size available.  The most common density found in the home will be six to 10 pounds.


A specialized carpet padding will claim it can eliminate odors or prevent pet accidents.  While these pads can make this “claim,” don’t expect them to follow through as most of these pads haven’t been proven to stop moisture from protecting you from mildew and mold.  Some names you will hear in the “specialized” category will include moisture barrier, odor eating, memory foam and air filtering.

Waffle Rubber

Waffle padding, often referred to as rubber pad, will be an economical choice for those who want to install carpet over a concrete floor.  Introduced in the early 70s, this padding has flexible rubber sheets and a “waffle” pattern on the top.  Waffle padding will be rated in ounces instead of pounds.

Wool or Fiber

Natural wool pads will be used primarily for either commercial or Berber carpet.  This padding is dense and can breathe a lot easier when compared to other types, and because this, it will lose that typical spongy feel most padding will have.  This padding, when installed with Berber carpet, will be designed to support and allow it to wear well with all sorts of traffic.

Tips to know

When purchasing a carpet, always make sure the grade matches the padding.  If you’re going to purchase the carpet that can last you 10 years, then you will want to have a padding that can last you 10 years as well.

While thick carpet padding may sound ideal, it can actually backfire if it’s too thick.  Thicker carpet padding can cause wrinkles in your new carpet and it’s advised you don’t choose anything thicker than 7/16 inches.

Call the carpet company or refer to your warranty’s terms and conditions to make sure you’re purchasing the right thickness.  If you fail to buy the correct padding requirements, you risk voiding your carpet’s warranty.

How can I save money?

Many stores offer free padding with carpet purchases.  Consult with the retailer to see if they have any offers that are available you can take advantage of.

Even if the carpet company doesn’t offer any type of padding, many will be able to include the padding with the purchase if haggling is done.  What most people don’t know is that if you haggle with the price, most retailers will be more than happy to offer some sort of padding for free.

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