Carpet Padding 101

It's more than comfort under foot.
While a soft step ranks as a decided benefit, the main purpose of carpet padding resides in its ability to absorb impact. By lessening the daily pounding, it increases your carpet's durability.

According to carpetbuyershandbook.com, repeated impact can cause the following:
  • Synthetic latex to break down

  • Backings to stretch

  • The primary backing to separate from the secondary backing (known as delamination)

  • Unnecessary stress on the face fiber

The website adds that the best performing carpet cushion actually provides less comfort under foot, but extends the life of the carpet installation by absorbing the abuse.

Several padding options exist, including waffle rubber, Urethane foam, bonded Urethane, flat rubber and fiber cushion. Find a local carpet installer for advice and use the following to help determine your choice:

  • Check the carpet recommendations for padding thickness. It should declare which type is more appropriate for the sub-floor.


  • Clarify whether concrete sub-floors are slab-on-grade design. If so, you may require thicker moisture-resistant backed carpet padding.


  • Determine if radiant floor heating exists. If so, select carpet padding with a lower "R" value so that it is less resistant to heat rising through the floor covering.


  • Choose carpet padding with higher density for rooms where there will be a greater traffic volume and lower density for less trafficked areas.
Flooring Sets the Tone

All flooring decisions should flow from how the room will be used. Select a hard-wearing floor for heavily-trafficked areas and softer ones for bedrooms where feet welcome the cozy.

Pick a carpet that accents your choice and, as noted above, the corresponding cushioning. You've created a whole new atmosphere. A floor layer & refinisher can walk you through the process.

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