Choose The Right Waterproof Basement Carpet Pad

Basement rooms are often imagined as moist and uninviting.

While a basement brings with it an entirely different set of considerations when selecting flooring, if you make the right choice with a waterproof basement carpet pad, the basement can be just as comfortable as any other room in your home. 

It is often hard to decide upon the right waterproof carpet pad to fit your needs and your space in the basement, but making the right selection will help keep the investment that is your carpet safe so that it stays beautiful and lasts for many years.

Three Reasons You Need A Carpet Pad In Your Basement

  1. Warmth: A basement carpet pad will help hold off the feeling of cold and dampness that concrete basement floors can transfer. The feeling of cold has always been one of the biggest drawbacks of concrete floors, especially in the basement. Having a nice carpet pad between your carpeting and the concrete subfloor in the basement can really eliminate that feeling and help the room feel as warm as any other in your home.
  2. Comfort: Laying a quality carpet pad underneath the carpet in your basement will really increase the level of comfort of your flooring. If there are people with joint pains, older people, or children who use the basement, you will definitely want to consider the carpet pad as they can find it very uncomfortable to walk on concrete subfloors. This problem can be considerably reduced by using carpet pad.
  3. Protection: As with any carpet pad you choose, your selection impacts the longevity and comfort of your carpet. This is especially important in a basement where moisture issues are common. Believe it or not, there are incorrect choices that can be made when selecting the carpet pad. It may seem like thicker is better when it comes to the carpet pad, but there is more to the decision than that. Read on for advice on How To Choose the Right Basement Carpet Pad!

How to Choose the Right Carpet Pad

Many people select a carpet pad based on price or material alone, without considering the impact the carpet pad will have on the functionality and durability of the room.

Too often, people pour of their budget into a quality carpet and expect that carpet to hold up to its full warranty, but neglect to purchase a carpet pad that is sufficient protection for that carpet.

They then find themselves disappointed when the carpet is worn and needs replacing long before the life of the carpet should have expired.

When selecting the carpet pad for a carpet flooring going in your basement, there are a number of questions you should ask yourself.

What is the Purpose of a Waterproof Basement Carpet Pad?

Carpet padding serves several different purposes. One of them is moisture protection.

This is especially helpful in spaces like a basement, because the concrete flooring underneath is more susceptible to excessive moisture problems.

This porous nature of concrete can allow excessive moisture to seep up from the ground underneath the home and can allow mold and mildew to grow underneath and within your carpeting and padding as well.

This is not only potentially ruinous to the carpet, but can also be a health concern.

By choosing the right basement carpet pad, you can help forestall these problems to allow you to live comfortably and healthy in your basement.

What Do I Expect From My Basement Carpet Pad?

The main purpose of a basement carpet pad is that it serves to protect your carpet.

Carpet without a pad underneath it will not last as long, because it continually rubs and comes into contact with the subfloor.

 Padding will help the carpet to last longer because it takes some of the weight and reduces the friction between the carpet and subfloor that will wear and damage carpet. 

Even though people assume that carpet padding’s only job is to help the carpet to feel softer for walking, it really is imperative to get the most life out of your carpet for the longest amount of time.

 People spend a lot of time and money finding the right carpet, it is only logical that they also do their homework to keep it safe for a long time.

How Thick Should My Carpet Pad Be?

The density of the carpet pad will depend upon your carpet choice, so be sure that you ask a professional about which carpet pad will work best with your carpet and your room to help the carpet last as long as possible.

A thicker basement carpet pad may be a good idea, especially if your concrete floor is a little uneven, but you will want to follow the manufacturer’s recommendation for the carpet you have chosen and choose a pad at the denser end of this recommendation.

Do not exceed the thickness recommendation, however, as too dense of a carpet pad can affect the installation of the carpet itself and can negatively impact the longevity of your carpeting.

Do I Need My Carpet Pad to Be Waterproof?

The big decision for many is whether to buy something that’s moisture-proof or instead to take precautionary measures before putting your basement carpet pad down.

 The correct choice, in my opinion, is both. However, if your budget has room for one only, I strongly suggest putting an emphasis on preventing excessive moisture in the room rather than relying on the carpet pad to keep moisture issues at bay.

Many companies suggest a moisture proof carpet pad regardless of where the carpet is being installed, but in a lot of cases this is unnecessary and is definitely not worth the additional cost per square foot.

In a basement, however, a moisture proof carpet pad is a good suggestion, but you will still want to do additional steps to reduce the moisture that will come up through the concrete subfloor. 

You cannot simply slap down a moisture-proof carpet pad and assume that will take care of all manner of moisture related problems in your basement.

 In fact, moisture-proof carpet pads can exacerbate preexisting mold and mildew issues if they are not addressed.

Most flooring installers first recommend you install some sort of vapor or moisture barrier on your subfloor before carpet padding, unless this was installed when the house was built.

If you are not sure, then it may be best to lay down an additional vapor barrier first regardless. 

This barrier can help keep some of the moisture from coming into contact with your carpet pad and carpeting, so that you will not have some of the problems that are associated with moist floors in a basement. If you are constructing a new home or renovating your old one, it is always better to have a vapor barrier installed.

 This is a brilliant investment that can save you a lot of time and money in the future.

If moisture is a problem in your home consider installing a subfloor system that will moisture-proof your basement.

Check out the various articles on this site to better understand your moisture barrier options and to learn about moisture testing.

What Material Should My Carpet Pad Be?

The carpet pad you choose for your basement should have an antimicrobial in it to help prevent any mold or mildew growth, just in case it gets a little moist.

Carpet pads typically fall into several categories as far as what they are made from: recycled rebond materials, urethane foam, or synthetic fiber materials.

A quality pad made from any of these should be sufficient for underneath the carpet in your basement, as long as the pad is sufficiently dense and the thickness is within the limits as set by the carpet supplier.

I typically lean away from the polyurethane/urethane foam pads, as these don’t hold up as well over time.

 Rebond pads are a good, economical choice, but you will want to be careful to get one that is sufficiently dense and not padded with too much filler.

Typically, in a basement, especially one underground, a high quality synthetic pad is going to be the best choice as it is mold and mildew resistant and typically has the highest density rating of the carpet pads.

Since basements are prone to moisture problems, one of the best things you can do to prolong the life of your carpet is be sure you do everything possible to keep the floors dry.

 A little additional moisture vapor barrier installation can help prevent mold, mildew, and the destruction of your carpet, which can be quite an investment. You can research online for the various methods by which this additional moisture prevention can be achieved.

As basements are prone to moisture issues due to the porous nature of a concrete sub-floor, investing in a high quality and moisture resistant carpet pad is one more way to help keep basement rooms comfortable and long-lasting.

By planning ahead and choosing the right basement carpet pad, you can make the most of your basement to make it into a livable area that you and your family can enjoy and spend time in.

Since basements are prone to moisture problems, one of the best things you can do to prolong the life of your carpet is be sure you do everything possible to keep the floors dry.

A little additional moisture vapor barrier installation can help prevent mold, mildew, and the destruction of your carpet, which can be quite an investment. 

You can research online for the various methods by which this additional moisture prevention can be achieved.

As basements are prone to moisture issues due to the porous nature of a concrete sub-floor, investing in a high quality and moisture resistant carpet pad is one more way to help keep basement rooms comfortable and long-lasting. 

By planning ahead and choosing the right basement carpet pad, you can make the most of your basement to make it into a livable area that you and your family can enjoy and spend time in.

19 thoughts on “Choose The Right Waterproof Basement Carpet Pad

  1. In this story you mention that “If moisture is a problem in your home consider installing a subfloor system that will moisture-proof your basement more than the Raven Industries vapor barrier will do”. I would like to know how you made that determination. Please keep in mind that Raven Industries produces very high performance vapor & gas barriers. However, they are best utilized when placed below the concrete slab during the initial construction phase.

  2. Hi, Tom. Thanks for your note.
    I am a huge admirer of Raven Industries, as you may notice by comments made throughout this site, and by my article on your company. But sometimes not even a high-quality products like RI’s vapor barrier film is enough protection against some water/moisture problems.
    And if people weren’t lucky enough to know about your products before construction they won’t be able to retrofit their slab to have the barrier film below it. And if there are water problems, not just humidity and moisture problems, then a subfloor that raises your floor off the slab could be a better solution than your wonderful films.

  3. the moisture barrier padding that was installed on my concrete floor was put down with the foam backing next to the concrete; the moisture barrier next to the carpeting. Is that the correct method????

  4. Hi,
    I am in the market to re-carpet my basement floor. The basement floor is damp, but not wet. There was carpeting down there recently which I removed becasue of a sump pump failure. I now want to make sure ia choose the correct pad and carpet to help prevent moisture from forming on the carpet and pad. I have been told the carpet pad with a moisture barier will do the trick. However, I am getting differing opinions now. I now am told the moisture barioer only protects the floor from spills on top the carpet, not moisture from the ground up. can you advise me?
    Thank You!
    Joe

  5. Hi Joe, If moisture is going to be a continuing problem in your basement then I would suggest one of these two options.

    1. Installing a sub floor that raises your floor off the concrete.

    2. Install your carpet without a pad and without gluing or tack strips. If moisture seeps through the floor again, you can easily pull up the carpet and get it dry. This is not an ideal method but it is an option.

  6. Please advise me, since I am about to lay the carpet pad on the basement concrete floor. The basement is not leaky, so the only problem is that it is below grade. Should the moisture barrier side go against the floor or against the carpet? Thanks.

  7. We are planning to carpet our basement which is currently tiled. What is the best way to lay pad and the carpet on tile? We’ve had tried in the past to lay padding, but found that it “slipped” beneath the carpet, making it useless.
    Do we need to remove the tile??

  8. Susan,
    If you want to preserve the tile you would have to use a glue on the edging and tack it down as well. If you don’t want to preserve the tile you can use
    Bostick’s Durabond to prevent slipping.
    You can always consult a local professional as well to see if perhaps carpet tiles might be an option for you.

  9. I have carpet in my basement and had a sump pump failure several years ago. The carpet padding in half of the basement was removed and the carpet professionally cleaned and blown dry. I have kept that half of the carpet folded back ever since, in case of another leak, and there is still no padding on that half. Last month I flipped the carpet back into position and forgot about it. The other day I noticed a moldy odor as I passed by the basement door & went down to check it out. The carpet felt cool, perhaps damp, under my bare feet. There is a wooden coffee table with mold all over the legs and some things on top of the table have mold. I turned on my carpet fan and am blowing it dry and am having a professional come to do mold remediation. Could this have happened because there was no padding with vapor barrier and the natural moisture in the cement soaked into the carpet? I don’t know why I would suddenly have this mold problem after all these years. I would like to install new padding myself and then have the carpet restretched. Is there a special type of padding I should get?
    Thank you,
    Reggie

  10. Hi Regge,
    Padding *can* act as a moisture/vapor barrier, but most don’t. The bottom line is it happened because there continues to be a moisture problem and those need to be resolved before reflooring.

  11. Looking at carpeting our basement. the flooring place is recommending installing a bonded 8 lb. pad that has a vapor barrier on both sides- Is that a good idea?
    sherry

  12. Sherry,
    Yes. The vapor barriers definitely help with basement carpet. I would still be sure that the floor underneath is sealed and there aren’t any moisture issues before installing the carpet.

  13. Hi,
    We are carpeting our basement and have purchased the moisture-barrier fiber pad. It’s not a cushy as we would like. Can we put another layer of pad down over the fiber pad? If so, could it be a foam pad or would it have to be antoher layer of fiber pad?
    Thank you,
    Rick

  14. Hi,
    We are carpeting our basement and have purchased the moisture-barrier fiber pad. It’s not a cushy as we would like. Can we put another layer of pad down over the fiber pad? If so, could it be a foam pad or would it have to be antoher layer of fiber pad?
    Thank you,
    Rick

  15. Rick,
    Yes, you can add padding on top of another. With it being used in a basement you would want to choose one that will resist mold and mildew.
    “The carpet pad you choose for your basement should have an antimicrobial in it to help prevent any mold or mildew growth, just in case it gets a little moist. A thicker basement carpet pad may be a good idea, especially if your concrete floor is a little uneven. The density of the carpet pad will depend upon your carpet choice, so be sure that you ask a professional about which carpet pad will work best with your carpet and your room to help the carpet last as long as possible.”

  16. Hello….
    Is “Drylock” paint a good sealer for the
    basement floor as well as the walls, before
    installing pad and carpet in a basement?….
    -Bill

  17. Bill,
    I do not have experience with Drylock paint.
    I would go by the manufacturer’s recommendations, and be sure that there aren’t harsh odors from using it that can affect you and your family.
    Another article you may be interested in reading is Basement Floors.

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