Why Choosing The Right Carpet Padding Matters
So you picked out your new carpet — but what about your carpet pad? Though it’s not something you’ll ever see, it’s an important part of the carpet shopping process. Choosing the wrong carpet pad can make a big difference to the comfort, longevity, and durability of your carpet. Here’s what to look for.
Check The Carpet Itself
Most carpets come with a manufacturer warranty, but what many people don’t know is that the warranty is contingent on using the right padding. If you glue carpet directly to the concrete floor of your basement in an effort to finish it on a budget, the reduced padding will make it wear out faster — and the manufacturer often won’t help.
Most manufacturers will specify two characteristics about your carpet padding: thickness and density. Thickness will be expressed in inches, while density is expressed in pounds per cubic feet. A typical residential carpet pad will have a thickness between one-quarter inch and seven-sixteenths inches, with a density of six pounds per cubic feet. Such a pad will ensure that the carpet is properly protected and can live up to your expectations.
Carpet Style Matters
The numbers above are for a typical residential cut-pile, cut-loop, or high-level loop carpet. For Berber carpet, thinner loops, or cut-pile carpet made with large, wide, loops, a thicker, softer cushion will just feel unstable and lead to shifting and wobbly furniture. For such carpets, a cushion no thicker than ⅜ inches should be used.
Does this seem confusing? Don’t worry! Most carpet manufacturers will tell you exactly what kind of padding to use in order to get the most out of your carpet. Besides, here at Sloane’s, we’re carpet experts! We can tell you exactly which carpet padding your carpet needs to keep it fresh and comfortable for as long as possible. At our showroom we let you feel how the different padding options will feel underfoot so you can choose whichever feels best.
Do You Need Waterproof Padding?
A moisture barrier pad goes between the carpet padding and the subfloor that keeps liquid from soaking through to the subfloor underneath. The moisture barrier pad is a separate layer from the carpet padding that gives a carpeted floor its cushion — usually a thin, foam-like layer that’s rolled out and sealed before the carpet goes on. It’s an extra step in installation and an extra cost, so lots of homeowners skip it entirely. We think that’s a mistake.
The fact is, you’re eventually going to spill a liquid into your carpet. Even if it’s something like water, which isn’t sticky and doesn’t stain, it can soak through the carpet and the padding to the subfloor underneath. If it doesn’t dry properly, water can grow mold, erode cement board, or even cause rot in wood that compromises the structure of your floor. Water damage is much easier and cheaper to avoid than it is to fix.
Other Benefits Of Carpet Padding
The right carpet padding isn’t just about a comfortable floor to walk on — in fact, the right padding might not be as soft as an inferior type, but the softest pads often wear out faster, leaving uneven spots.
A pad also allows air to flow through the back of the carpet more easily. This means that when you vacuum, air can get behind the fibers of the carpet, effectively flushing out dirt and hairs and cleaning your carpet much more effectively.
Padding provides thermal insulation, too. A good carpet pad keeps heat from flowing between floors. Have you ever been in an old house where the upstairs floors get very warm, while the heater struggles to keep up on the ground floor? A high-quality carpet pad can help prevent that problem.
Finally, carpet padding helps dampen sound. In upstairs rooms this helps prevent kids from being woken up by noises going on downstairs, or vice versa. In finished basements, carpet padding reduces the cold, echoing sounds that concrete floors tend to produce, making the space feel much more livable.
In short, the right carpet padding can make a huge difference in the lifespan of your carpet, the safety of your home, and the comfort of everyone living in it. Talk to a Sloane’s expert and make sure you buy the right padding to go with your new carpet!