Your carpet pad may be out of sight, but it plays a critical role in how much life you get from your carpet. The right pad, acts like a shock absorber. It increases your comfort. It also extends the durability of your carpet. The wrong pad can negatively affect your carpet in several ways.
Carpet pad basics
The spongy material that goes under your carpet is the pad, or cushion. It’s cut slightly smaller than the carpet itself. It fits inside the tack strip that holds your carpet in place. Your warranty depends on having the correct padding thickness and density. But, really, the carpet pad’s main job is protecting the carpet.
Your carpet pad absorbs the impact from footsteps and furniture. It also keeps the underside of your carpet from wearing against a bare floor. The Carpet Cushion Council report 19% pile height loss in carpets without a pad. Compare that to only 5% loss to carpets with a pad.
Common carpet pad mistakes
Buying a carpet pad that’s too thick or soft are common mistakes. Get a pad that’s too soft and it bottoms out to foot traffic. This shortens your carpet’s life because it has to absorb the impact of traffic. Typically, 7/16” is the thickest padding for home use.
Thickness is just one rating. Density is another. The higher the density, the firmer the pad. A firm bad supports your carpet better. That also prevents wrinkles from forming in you carpet.
Carpet pad types
There are many different types of carpet padding available today to accommodate the many varieties of carpet and use:
- Rebond: This is the most economical choice for your home, rental or office. It is made from recycled materials, mainly from recycled urethane foam and is multi-colored. The higher the quality of recycled materials used, the better the rebond pad. It is available in almost every thickness and density.
- Urethane Foam Padding: This padding will not tolerate much traffic. It will soon become completely flat after about a year. That’s why it’s often used in apartment settings where the carpet life span is less than 3 years.
- Prime Urethane Padding: It is made of very dense urethane and is designed primarily for commercial applications, but is becoming more common in residential applications. The cost is more than a standard rebond.
- Wool or Fiber Pad: Primarily for Berbers and commercial carpets, these very dense pads breathe well. Made from recycled or shredded fabrics or natural wool, they’re designed to support looped Berbers and commercial carpets.
- Rubber Pad: Rubber slab padding is often used in commercial applications over concrete. Rubber padding density is usually rated in ounces.
- Specialty Pads: Moisture barrier, odor eating, baking soda infused pads are typically sold as upgrades. Their value is of dubious benefit.
Better pad, better carpet life
Your best guide in picking the right carpet is picking a trustworthy dealer and installer. HomeShow Radio’s trusted company for carpet and flooring is Texas Floors. They can guide you in getting the right match of pad performance and carpet design.