Carpet Padding Review
Even though the right carpet padding is essential to prolonging the life of your new carpeting, it is often overlooked and misunderstood. Most often we think carpet padding is for providing comfort underfoot, but it is really meant to absorb the pounding of foot traffic instead of the carpeting. For example: when we see traffic patterns in our carpeting it is generally caused by the carpet cushion underneath breaking down and collapsing, which causes the carpet pile to eventually crush. Having a quality, resilient carpet cushion keeps this from occurring and extends the life of the carpet.
Think of a carpet cushion as a shock absorber. When you step on top of carpet the force generated is absorbed by the cushion instead of the carpeting, which adds dramatically to the life of the carpet. The better grade cushions include odor protection and antimicrobial treatment to help resist bacteria, mold and mildew growing in the padding. Some carpet manufacturers also specify if a certain type and density of quality carpet cushion is not used, the carpet warranty may be voided. This is because a cheap carpet cushion will eventually break down and become compressed, losing its ability to help extend the life of the carpet.
Carpet Padding Density & Weight
Carpet cushion is often described by density, but there are various methods used to determine the density. This can make it very confusing when trying to select the right cushion for your carpeting. What is important is how much force does it take to displace the cushion and make it bottom out. This is usually referred to as indentation load deflection (ILD). Carpet cushion is also rated by its weight per cubic foot, but this doesn't necessarily mean a heavier cushion won't bottom out first.
Common Types of Carpet Padding
Bonded Urethane Cushion - also called rebond, is by far the most popular and widely accepted carpet cushion sold today. It is made from the re-claimed high-density foam scraps from the manufacturing of furniture and automotive seats. Rebond cushion is measured in pounds per cubic foot and comes in various thicknesses and densities.
Urethane Foam Cushion - this is prime urethane much like what is used in certain types of furniture and bedding cushions. Although some urethanes may hold up, many will collapse and bottom out much quicker than rebond cushions. When you see an ad for free carpet cushion with a purchase of carpeting, it is generally a cheap prime cushion that will not perform well.
Rubber Cushion - comes in both flat and waffle. Both types can be very heavy and very expensive, depending how much rubber is actually utilized versus other fillers. They are also not as readily available as bonded cushions.
Fiber & Hair Cushions – there are three basic types of Fiber pad. These are Natural Fiber ( jute and animal hair) Synthetic or Resonated Recycled Fiber. These are all usually utilized where there is constant, severe or high traffic areas such as in restaurants, offices, hotel lobbies, malls, schools and many other commercial and institutional applications. Fiber pads are also recommended when placing carpet over a radiant heated subfloor in a residential application. The grade of this pad is determined by its weight in ounces per square yard.