Adding Foam to Car Seats – Cost
Recently we’ve been getting a lot of questions like “How much does it cost to re foam my driver’s seat?” or “How much does it cost to replace the foam on my bench seat?” Because there is such a wide variety of vehicles with different style seating, types of foam and labor rates we could not even begin to answer this question for each vehicle.
Guidelines for Adding Foam to Car Seats
There really is no easy way to answer this question. But fear not because we do have some guidelines for you on choosing foam here and we will also share with you how we price out a job. Remember, you have to take into account
- Upholstery shop labor rates in your area
- Type of foam and pricing information of that foam for your specific project
- The amount of material that you will need to get the desired outcome
What Your Being Charged For When Adding Foam to Car Seats
In all cases your upholstery shop will most likely charge you for the following
- Time used to remove the seat from the vehicle
- removal of the existing upholstery in order to get to the foam
- The time it takes to “build up” or “shave down” the foam
- Put the upholstery back on
- Re-installation of the seat
In most cases this can be done in one to two hours. Again, you may have that one vehicle that makes it nearly impossible for the upholstery tech to efficiently take the seat out so estimated labor may be longer. The same goes for higher end vehicles with lots of gadgets and additional wiring in the seats, all of this excess stuff is more time consuming to remove and therefore will cost more.
Check with the upholstery shop to see if they have a labor minimum. Some shops have two hour or longer labor minimums. That means that even if the job can be done in one hour you will still be charged for two hours. Shops do this because overhead and administration time (Invoicing, Estimating etc.) cannot be covered realistically if the shop charges exact time on small jobs. Like it or not, the shops have to make money too or they will be out of business.
Condition of the foam and amount to be used –
- You are just looking to have some padding added or removed for added lumbar support and comfort. This is the least labor and material intensive.
- Is the foam sagging in some areas and in good condition in others such as the high use area (lean back, bottom foam)? In this case you may need a moderate amount of new padding.
- Does the foam need to be completely replaced? In this case you may be better off ordering an entirely new seat, if you can find one. Seats for some older cars can be difficult to locate.
- In older/classic cars you may need cotton padding, this will be added to the price of the foam
- Make sure that the seat springs are not the real issue. In older/classic vehicles often the springs need to be replaced and adding padding won’t make a difference in the long run. After a few months the seat will collapse again unless the springs are in good working order.
Type of Foam to be Used
What type of foam do you want to use?
There are several different varieties of foam with different densities (please see the section on selecting foam) from low density to memory foam and foam rubber. The type and amount of foam you choose will be the biggest factor in determining the exact price of your project. Check with your local supply house for accurate pricing in your area.
We hope this this short article gives you some insight into what you should expect when you go to the upholstery shop and what the upholstery tech will be looking at when he prices out your project.