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Moisture Barrier Pads And Why You Need Them

Moisture barrier pads are essentially what they sound like — a barrier that goes underneath your carpet that keeps liquid from soaking through to the floor or subfloor underneath. They add an extra step for carpet installation, as well as an extra cost, so some homeowners decide not to use them. Here’s why that’s a mistake.

Keep Spills From Doing More Damage

Even if you have a concrete floor under your carpet, as in the case of a finished basement, you should still install a moisture barrier under the carpet. Liquid spills can do more damage to concrete than you might think, and can even erode concrete or cement board over time.

You also run the risk of recurring stains — stains that look clean at first, but then come back over time. These stains are the result of liquid trapped under the carpet, sometimes soaked into the backing, that’s very difficult to clean out. If you have a moisture barrier under your carpet, those won’t be a problem.

Protect Wood From Rot

Even treated wood will rot if it stays wet for long enough, and lingering liquids can also stain wood, warp it, and weaken it over time. On the upper stories of your home, the damage could be as mild as a squeaky floor or severe enough to need major structural repair, depending on how much liquid is spilled and how long it stays there. Don’t leave it to chance — make sure your carpets have a moisture barrier under them.

Keep Mold Out

If a liquid is left to sit for long enough, mold can start to grow under your floors. Mold is not only unsightly, but it weakens the wood and fiber it grows in, reducing the life of your home. If can also release spores that aggravate allergies and smell unpleasant, making the air in your home hard to breathe. Once mold starts, it’s very difficult to remove. Moisture barriers are essential in keeping your home mold-free.

A Word Of Warning

While there’s no reason not to get moisture backing, it’s worth remembering that it’s not perfect. Enough liquid will run around the outside of the carpet and still soak through to the floor below, so don’t think of moisture backing as a disaster-proof solution. Many major flooding and leak events actually come from the sides or bottom of the floor anyway, where moisture proofing can’t help.

Should You Get Moisture Backing?

In a word, yes. Not only will it extend the life of your carpet by preventing lingering liquids from doing further damage after you’ve cleaned them, but it will protect your house from rot, mold, and other damage. They may add a small cost to the installation of your carpet in the first place, but they’ll more than pay for themselves in the long run.