Selecting the Right Carpet Pad
by Alan Fletcher - Carpet Expert & Consumer Advocate
Carpet Padding - It's not all
There are many different types of
available today in order to accommodate all the various Carpet
Types, Grades and Styles.
all the various Types of Carpet Padding that you will encounter when
shopping for new carpeting your home, office or rental property.
A certain type of padding thickness and density
is required by every carpet manufacturer to maintain your carpet
warranty. For most residential carpets, a 7/16" thickness is most common
and either a 6-pound density or an 8-pound density will usually be selected. Looped
Berber styles and commercial grade carpets require special pads of higher
density and reduced thickness to prevent wrinkles and increase carpet
longevity. Check with the carpet manufacturer to see what type of padding is
required under the carpet you select.
is Padding Thickness
Don't make the mistake of thinking that a
thicker pad will be a better pad. If you chose a padding that is too thick it
can cause wrinkles to develop in your carpet. In most homes 7/16" is the
thickest padding you would want to select to keep the carpet warranty in
Learn more about Carpet
Styles | Learn more about Carpet
is Padding Density
Padding is also rated by its density.
The higher the padding density rating the more firm the
feel is underfoot. Firmer pads provide better the support for your carpet. Better
support means a lower chance for wrinkles to form over time.
have a low density rating of 3 to 5 pounds and are typically used in
apartments because it is less expensive and will be replaced more frequently.
Looped Berber styles and commercial grade carpets require a special padding
and you can call the manufacturer to get the correct padding requirements
needed to keep from voiding your carpet warranty.
Padding used in residential applications
usually has a density rating of 6 to 8 pounds, but 10-pound density pads are
also available. Some pads are rated in ounces instead of pounds. For
example, 128 ounces is the equivalent of an 8-pound pad. Rubber and synthetic pads
are usually rated in ounces.
Some folks prefer the 6-pound density padding
because it is softer underfoot. However, an 8-pound padding provides better
support for your carpet and will generally make it wear better especially in
higher traffic areas like stairs and hallways.
higher the density, the more costly the pad will be.
expect the carpet salesperson to choose the correct pad for you, it is your
responsibility to make sure the correct pad is selected and installed.
If the wrong type, thickness or density
pad is used, your carpet may develop wrinkles which is costly to fix and can
significantly decrease the life span of your carpet.
Rebond Pad (Best
Bang for your Buck!)
This type of pad is most common in the
residential setting. It is made from recycled materials, mainly from recycled
urethane foam and is multi-colored. It is available
everywhere, and in almost every thickness and density. Rebond is the most
economical choice for your home, rental or office. The photo shows a
7/16", 6-pound Rebond pad with a nylon mesh on the top which provides
added strength and durability.
Rebond padding is of high grade or
top quality. Every padding manufacturer offers several grades of Rebond padding to their distributors. Retailers have a choice of which grade of Rebond padding to offer to their customers. The main difference will be the
type of recycled materials used to manufacture the padding.
The higher the
quality of recycled materials used, the better the Rebond pad will be. Reputable carpet dealers always offer top
quality Rebond padding to their customers. The price you pay for a good
quality padding may be slightly higher than at the shady discount carpet store
down the street, however you should never skimp when it comes to buying a good
quality padding to go under your good quality carpet.
Homeowners Need To Know...
Grade of Padding you select must MATCH the Grade of Carpet you
If you buy a carpet designed to last 15 years, then you must
buy a padding that is designed to last at least 15 years.
a 6 to 8-pound density Rebond pad is about $3.50 - $5.50 per square
yard or about 39 to 45 cents per square foot.
Personally, I prefer the
8-pound, 7/16" Rebond padding for most residential
This type of pad is often very inexpensive
and lightweight. If a retail store tries to give you free pad with your carpet
purchase, this is usually what they plan to give you. This type of padding
will not tolerate much traffic. It will soon become completely flat as a
pancake after a year or so and is not a good choice for a residential setting. This
is often used in apartment settings where the carpet life-span is less than 3
Prime Urethane Foam
Not made of recycled materials, this type of
pad is called
prime or virgin urethane. It's a better grade of foam pad (frothed
foam) that could be a good choice for the home. It is made of very
dense urethane (polyurethane). It is designed primarily for commercial
applications, but is becoming more common in residential applications. The cost
is more than a standard Rebond and not a common choice among homeowners.
Fiber Pad, Synthetic Fiber Pads
These types of natural wool or synthetic pads are
used primarily for Berbers and commercial carpets. They are very dense,
breathe well, and are not spongy at all. They are made from recycled or shredded
fabrics or natural wool. They are designed to support and allow looped Berbers
and commercial carpets to wear well in heavy traffic situations, and to
prevent these types of carpets from stretching out and developing wrinkles. A
synthetic fiber pad is also a great choice for basements with concrete floors as it
breathes well, resists mold and mildew and has anti-microbial
Rubber Pad (waffle) or
Rubber Slab (flat)
I seldom recommend
using a rubber waffle pad in residential
applications. Rebond padding is a much more economical choice and it does a great job at
supporting your carpet as long the correct thickness and density is selected. Rubber
padding is often used in commercial applications over
concrete. Rubber padding density is usually rated
in ounces, not pounds.
Barrier, Odor Eating, Pet Stains, Air Filtration, Baking Soda Infused...
salespeople may try to convince you to upgrade your order with a special pad
that has big claims of being able to eliminate stains and odors or have a moisture barrier
surface that will help reduce the severity of pet accidents. I don't generally recommend these type of pads
and suggest you avoid the extra expense. I believe it will just cost you more money and not solve
or diminish your pet accident problems.
If you have a pet accident problem
there is no padding on the market today that I know of, that will solve your
problems. Spending more money on a specialty pad will likely not reduce the
severity of your pet accident problem. In many situations, I think a
specialty pad might even make your pet accident problems worse.
more about Moisture
Assume a Specialty Pad Will Solve Your Pet Urine Problems!
you have a pet accident problem, upgrading to a more expensive pad will not
help you. It won't make it easier to clean or reduce the severity of your
problem. If you have a moisture problem in your
basement, no moisture barrier padding is going to protect you from the dangers
of mold and mildew.
Don't be fooled
into thinking that spending more money on a specialty pad
will solve your pet accident or moisture problems, it
just doesn't work that way. You need to address your problems first and then I
recommend you select a good quality pad that is designed to properly support
your carpet and meet your needs and goals.
What is a Specialty
I spend $2 to $10 more (per square yard)
for a Special Padding?
These enhanced types of carpet padding are
typically much more costly than a standard Rebond padding. They may offer
certain benefits for some applications, but in most cases I do not
believe any of these Specialty Pads are a wise or necessary choice for most homeowners.
don't believe there is a measurable way for a homeowner to effectively
determine if a specialty pad is providing any worthwhile, positive or beneficial
effect over the lifespan of the carpet.
Buy a Moisture-Barrier Pad?
is a Moisture-Barrier Pad? What Does a Moisture-Barrier Pad Do?
is a Moisture-Barrier Pad?
Best carpet pad, Carpet pad cost, best carpet cushion, best carpet padding,
best carpet pad, carpet pads, carpet underlay, cost for carpet padding,
carpet pad selection, best carpet pad for basements, best carpet pad for
stairs, best carpet pad for pets,
getting harder to find a reputable carpet dealer these days! That's why
I've created my own special hand-picked list of over 400 locally-owned Carpet
Dealers who offer Free estimates, Fair prices, Knowledgeable staff, Honest
measuring and Qualified installers! See
who I recommend Near You!