Carpet Padding Review

The right carpet padding is essential to prolonging the life of your new carpeting. Yet 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 as well. Having a quality, resilient carpet cushion keeps this from occuring 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, loosing 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 it's weight per cubic foot, but this doesn't necessarily mean a cushion that weighs more won't bottom out first.

Common Types of Carpet Padding

  • Bonded Urethane Cushion - also called rebond, is by far the most popular 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.
  • Urethane Foam Cushion - this is prime urethane much like what is used in certain types of furniture and bedding cushions. Although some urthanes 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 pricey depending how much rubber is actually used instead of fillers. They are also not as readily available as bonded cushions.
  • Fiber & Hair Cushions - these usually offer poorer performance due to lack of resiliency. Some times recommended when putting carpet over a radiant heated subfloor.