Many a times you have probably been amazed at the cushioning effect of a carpet you walked on. If you thought, it was the luxurious carpet which gave you that heavenly feeling, you are in most probability, wrong. It is, in fact, the cushion under the carpet, which makes the carpet soft – called the carpet cushion or carpet padding.
When installing a carpet, it is important to have the right carpet padding under the actual carpet. Carpet padding has many advantages.
It can enhance the life of a carpet and also give it the coveted rich, luxurious and soft feel.
Carpet padding can improve the thermal insulation properties of the floor as it retains heat and makes the interiors warm.
Carpet padding can also reduce noise as it absorbs sound.When vacuum cleaning carpets, the carpet padding allows more air to be sucked up, thereby removing more dirt from the carpet, which gives you a cleaner home.
In the long run, maintenance costs are considerably reduced, when you have the right carpet pad under your carpet.
Like carpets, carpet pads are also available in a range of materials, density and thickness. In most cases, it is the professional carpet dealer who can educate you about the correct carpet padding for your carpet. Some of the most popular carpet padding available in the market are:
Waffle rubber padding: Waffle padding although soft, has clay type binders used for binding rubber that can crack and wear out fast with use.
Foam padding: Foam Padding is made from urethane foam and is available in different densities and thickness. Although the air under provides the cushioning, with foam carpet padding, the carpet moves up and down too much, which shortens its life. It is not suitable for heavy traffic.
Frothed foam padding: Frothed foam carpet pads are extremely durable and popular. This carpet pad can be used under all carpets. In fact, it prolongs the life of your carpet and is considered better than rebond, fiber, waffle rubber and prime foam.
Rebond padding: Rebond carpet padding is also made from scraps of high-density foams bonded together. Although sturdy, the chemicals used in making rebond carpet pad can sometimes have adverse effect on certain carpets. Sometimes the off gas released form the rebond carpet pad can cause yellowing on the carpet surface.
Fiber padding: Fiber carpet pads are made from jute, horsehair, camel hair, synthetic fiber or textile fiber. If selecting fiber carpet pads, take care to buy one of the right density. In this category, spun nylon is considered best.
Slab rubber padding: slab rubber carpet padding is ideal for high traffic areas. It also helps resist furniture indentation and crushing of carpets.
Based on the density and thickness, carpet pads can range in price from $0.3 to $10 per sq ft. Among the economical carpet pads are fiber carpet pads, but frothed carpet pads are real value for money. It costs about the same as a good quality slab rubber padding and lasts longer. Avoid buying carpet padding that is too soft or too thick. Carpet cushion that is too soft cannot take heavy foot traffic. The carpet cushion council recommends a pad of at least 5lbs and 3/8 inch thickness for light traffic such as your living room and a pad of 6.5 lbs and 3/8 inch for heavy traffic such as corridors. Practically, it is better never to exceed ½ inch. A ½ carpet cushion provides adequate cushion and still allows the carpet to hold on to the tack strip along the walls. Also, placing a quality cushion under your new carpet is often a condition of your warranty.
Some retailers sell carpet padding along with the carpets. But it is always a good idea to check the material, density and thickness. A wrong choice of carpet pad can considerably shorten the life of your carpet. So make an informed decision of buying the right carpet pad when installing your carpet.