|A carpet pad can make or break your carpet purchase. It helps make the carpeting more comfortable under foot and last longer, and it helps insulate from both sound and temperature variations. The right carpet pad can make your flooring choice look better too.|
Contractors and homeowners put quite a bit of thought into their choice of carpeting for a home or office, but the carpet pad is often overlooked — swept under the rug, if you will. One reason people don’t think much about it is because they assume all carpet pads are created equal, which is not the case. It’s important you research each part of your carpet flooring purchase to make sure that you are getting exactly what you want and need for your home and family.
What exactly is the purpose of a carpet pad? A carpet pad is installed under carpeting for several different purposes.
- Carpet pads help to make the floor more comfortable to walk on. Carpet padding helps to cushion your floors to make it less painful to walk on and stand on, as well as sit and play on if you have children. Imagine how hard the floor would feel if the carpet was installed directly on top of concrete. This will help you to see how essential it is to have a carpet pad under your new carpeting.
- Carpet pads can also help carpeting last longer. Carpeting without a carpet pad underneath it will wear out much faster, so adding a carpet pad will help your carpet to last longer. This will save you money in the long run.
- Sound proofing is another purpose for a carpet pad. No, it will not block out your teenager’s rock music, but it will keep you from hearing every single step taken. This will make a difference in any home, but most especially in a home with more than one level.
- A carpet pad can also help to keep your carpeting cleaner. A carpet pad gives a space for dirt and debris to move through the carpeting into the carpet pad. This is a good thing, but can be a problem if you are an allergy sufferer.
Some people think that there is no need to replace a carpet pad if there is an existing one, but it is important to install a new carpet pad with your carpeting because the existing carpet pad is most likely worn out. It may look like it is fine, but if it has been down any length of time, it is most certainly worn out and dirty. It may even begin crumbling when you try to take it up, which will further show you how worn out the carpet pad is. If you are removing your carpet and installing more, then you definitely need to install a new carpet pad as well.
Carpet pads come in several different densities and three main different materials, including foam, rubber, and fiber.
- A foam carpet pad comes in three different varieties and is normally used in more commercial applications. It’s often made from foam scraps. The scraps can come from remnants of padding manufacturing, car seats, and various recycled foam products.
- Rubber carpet pads come in a waffled and flat version. The flat rubber carpet pad is normally used for commercial applications or under Berber carpet. The waffled rubber carpet pad is a very luxurious carpet pad that will offer you a great deal of cushioning and comfort.
One benefit of rubber pads is that rubber is anti-microbial. Given the amount of dirt, dander and other pollutants that work their way through your carpeting to the padding, this can help reduce some problems for allergy sufferers. And it doesn’t off-gas VOCs (volatile organic compounds). Furthermore, rubber is a sustainable, natural product, making it an environmentally friendly option.
- Fiber carpet pads can be made from natural or synthetic fibers and can be made in almost any density. The amount of traffic that you have will determine what density of carpet pad that you will need. Rooms that are used a great deal, including hallways, living rooms, family rooms, etc, need a thicker carpet pad than a bedroom.
- Natural fiber is a more sustainable product than synthetic fibers, unless the fibers are recycled from other products. Off-gassing can be a concern with synthetic fibers, so pay attention to its content.
One issue to be aware of about carpet pads is that if they are too cushiony and soft, people in wheelchairs or who have trouble walking may be hindered in their efforts to move around your carpeted rooms. That may not be a problem when you install your new carpet and pad, but it may become an issue down the road. Just stay aware so you can make appropriate decisions should the time come.
Choosing the right carpet pad is very important. Price should not be your only concern, because a cheaper carpet pad may wear out long before you are ready to purchase new carpeting. Make sure that you are getting a quality carpet pad that will stand the test of your family’s traffic and feet.