How to Choose Carpet Padding

Do not pick the cheapest cushion or the first one the sales person recommends. Take some time to do a little research -- it will make a world of a difference on how your new floor feels as well as sounds.

Instructions

  • Step 1: Consider how much insulation you need. Insulation is measured in R values -- the higher the R value the better the pad will insulate. Pads range from 0.2 R value to 2.1 R -- prime urethane pad usually has a high R-value.
  • TIP: Consider adding an additional wood fiberboard under the pad to increase the insulation and reduce noise.
  • Step 2: Follow the carpet manufacturer's installation instructions. They will more than likely recommend a pad to be used with the carpet. Using the wrong pad may void the carpet warranty -- not something you want to happen after investing all that money in a new look for your home.
  • FACT: The DuPont company introduced Stainmaster in 1986, a revolutionary carpet stain protection chemical.
  • TIP: A thick, lightweight pad will cause the carpet to flex, leading to premature carpet deterioration.
  • Step 3: Determine the amount and type of foot traffic. Buy a thin, dense cushion no thicker than 1/4 to 3/8 inches thick for heavy traffic areas. Consider using a 1/2-inch rubber or felt fiber pad for a softer cushion in lower traffic areas.
  • Step 4: Research all padding types: rubber, felt fiber, prime urethane, and rebond. They each have their own advantages and disadvantages.
  • TIP: Rebond is the most common kind of carpet pad due to price. Prime urethane is easy to install but like rubber padding, it compresses easily. Felt fiber padding only works if it is thick.
  • Step 5: Consider the subfloor where the padding will be installed. Rubber holds moisture well but is sensitive to heat, while prime urethane stands up well to moisture and heat.
  • Step 6: Go shopping and walk on many types of padding, getting a feel for each.

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