Why Carpet Padding is Important

Whenever you have new carpets installed, the padding that goes below it should be an important decision you make prior to installation.  There are many different types of carpet padding.  With all the different types, how do you know which type you should choose for your flooring?

The carpets in a home may look great and feel good under your feet.  But not if the carpet padding was removed.  Carpet padding is the foundation for your carpet.  It adds cushioning under your feet, but it also provides stability, insulation and noise reduction.  Whether it is cheap padding or top of the line, it serves important functions.

layers of different types of carpet padding

The best carpet paddings can help to prolong the life of your carpet by protecting the backing of the carpet.  This helps to keep it from breaking down.  However, the wrong type of padding can actually cause more problems.  That is why it is imperative to understand the different types of carpet padding that are available. 

Different Types of Carpet Padding

Each year, carpeting manufacturers work to push innovations and come up with greener, more environmentally friendly products.  As such, new hybrids are introduced every year.  There may be some interesting choices in your local carpet shops, but usually, the most common carpet padding types are also the most popular.  And for good reason! Below are some of the most common types of carpet paddings:

Rebond Carpet Padding:

This is one of the most used options.  If you’ve owned carpets in the past, it’s likely this type of padding was beneath it.  Rebond carpet padding is one of the cheapest forms available.  It is made from recycled foam.  The recycled foam it is made of gives it a multicolored appearance.  Rebond carpet padding is often the best way to go – IF you choose the right density, and as long as your style of carpet does not call for another option.  Homes with heavy foot traffic in carpeted area may want to consider a different option.   

an up close picture of rebond carpet padding
Frothed Foam:

Bonded foam is the most popular and will probably suffice for most homeowners, but for carpet pads that are built to last, there are far better options to choose from.  One of the best types of foam padding is frothed foam.  Frothed foam is very durable, with far more density than other types of foam.

This type of carpet padding is so durable that it will likely even outlast the carpet.  It is commonly used in conjunction with broadloom carpet.  However, it is a much more expensive type of carpet padding.  Because of its price, it is not suitable for everyone, but it is one of the best options for carpet padding.  

Memory Foam:

Memory foam is similar to the frothed foam carpet padding, but it has been infused with a gel.  This gel is what gives the feel memory foam is famous for.  I’m sure you are familiar with memory foam beds.  You can have that same sinking feeling beneath your feet with the memory foam carpet padding.  It is not a good option for any area of your home with a lot of foot traffic.  However, the comfortable feel makes if a perfect choice for your bedrooms.   

Prime Foam:

Prime Foam is another type of foam commonly used in the carpet industry.  However, its name can be misleading.  When it comes to performance and price, prime foam is in the middle of the road.  It is firmer than rebond and other types of foam padding. Prime foam is similar to the same type of foam you’ll find in couch cushions and upholstery and not suitable for areas with heavy foot traffic. 

Carpet Pad Density and Thickness:

The carpet pad density can measure between two to ten pounds. Density is measured by calculating the pounds per cubic foot. So, a five pound rebond padding would weigh 5 pounds per cubic foot.  The idea range for residential class carpeting is typically between six and eight pounds.  However, it is always best to use whatever density the carpet manufacturer recommends.  Most homeowners are usually happy with that six to eight pound density.  The eight pound density is the most popular because it feels softer on the feet.  It provides better support for carpet and helps to hold up against wear, especially in high traffic areas.

As for carpet pad thickness, thicker is not always better.  A thicker carpet pad could actually do more harm than good.  If you choose a low pile carpet, like a looped Berber, it is recommended to go with a carpet pad that is no thick than 3/8”.  It’s a good idea to stay under ½” in general, regardless of the style of carpeting you choose.

a puppy running across carpet in a room

Carpet Padding and Pets

Many claim that certain types of carpet paddings are better than others if you have pet which are prone to accidents.  However, the main thing to keep in mind when choosing a padding when you have pets is moisture.  Pet accidents obviously create moisture.  Therefore, a padding with a moisture barrier would be the better option for you.

Area rug padding on a wood floor

Rug pads are thin underlays that are made specifically for use under area rugs.  When buying a rug pad, it is best to buy a pad that is specially designed for use under your area rug and not carpet padding that is designed to be used for wall-to-wall carpeting.  Carpet padding does not offer some of the features needed for use under area rugs and could end up damaging the floor underneath your rug.  There are many different options of specific area rug pads to choose from.  Before choosing the right area rug pad for you, it is recommended to check with your flooring manufacturer.  Some types of materials found in rug pads may not be recommended for use on certain types of flooring, and they may cause damage to your floors.

For example, a rug pad made of PVC (polyvinyl chloride) can likely cause discoloration in vinyl flooring and in certain types of hardwood finishes.  Even laminate floors which are often called “indestructible” are not immune to damage from inappropriate rug padding.  Never use any type of product that is not recommended by your flooring manufacturer.  

Different Types of Area Rug Padding

There are a few types of area rug padding that are generally considered safe to use on a wide variety of hard surfaces.  They include pads made of natural rubber, felt, or a combination of the two. 

Natural rubber pads:

Natural rubber pads are ideal for preventing area rugs from sliding on hard-surface floors.   They grip the rug and hold it in place while also providing a cushioned, protective barrier between the rug and the floor.

Felt pads:

Felt pads are not as good as holding area rugs in place, making them a good option for larger rugs that are well anchored by furniture.  This type of area rug pad can provide firm support for the area rug.

Combination:

Area rug pads which are made from a combination of natural rubber and felt combine the benefits of using a non-slip rubber pad with a supportive felt pad.

If you are planning on laying an area rug on top of carpet, look for a specially designed rug-to-carpet pad.  This type of pad is typically made of polyester with a vinyl coating.  These are made to prevent the rug from bunching up on the carpet underneath.

Call Us Today! 

No matter the type of padding you have under your carpet or area rugs, there may come a time when it needs to be cleaned.  It is important to quickly dry any spills that may happen as trapped moisture can cause mold or mildew or other issues.  Some spills and stains can soak through into the carpet padding.  If that happens, wicking can occur.  Wicking happens when a stain seems to reappear even after a professional cleaning.  We carry tools and have a process for helping remove stains even from the backing and padding of the carpet if necessary.  So when you have a spill that makes you worry about your carpet padding, just give us a call!