Shopping for new carpeting can be a whirlwind of colors, textures and pile heights. You have hundreds of options to evaluate and styles to see. As you shop, don’t forget to focus on more than just exterior appearances. After all, what’s underneath your carpeting is important too.
Between the sub-floor and the actual carpet that you walk on, you’ll find carpet padding, also known as cushioning. Here’s what you need to know about this carpeting essential and how to choose the right padding for your space.
Why Carpet Padding?
Comfort and warmth are some of the top qualities that homeowners look for when shopping for carpets. While carpeting materials and construction affect comfort and warmth, some of carpet’s best attributes have everything to do with padding. The padding that lies between your carpets and the sub-floor adds that cushy spring beneath your step, helps to insulate your floor and can even go a long way towards helping your carpeting resist stains and odors.
Beyond providing for your comfort, padding also provides added structural stability for your carpeting. It eliminates friction between the sub-floor and carpet that can cause carpeting to come away from its backing. Padding also helps carpeting hold the right shape so that it doesn’t crease, buckle or separate at the seams. Of course, failing to install padding or using the wrong padding can void your carpet’s warranty.
How to Evaluate Carpet Padding
Choosing the right padding for your carpet is all about evaluating how your choices stack up in a few key areas. Consider these three big factors as you shop:
- Density: Homeowners should choose padding with a 6- to 8-pound density rating. The higher the density rating, the firmer and more long-lasting the padding will be.
- Thickness: You’ll need to choose padding that is the thickness specified by your carpeting manufacturer. If you don’t, the carpets might not install correctly and you’ll void the warranty.
- Materials: Padding is available in a variety of materials including foam urethane, polyurethane and synthetics. Urethane tends to be the least sturdy but is also the most cost-effective. Of course, padding made from recycled materials is available as well.
In addition to weighing the three big factors that impact padding comfort and service, you’ll also need to think about your special demands. If you have pets, you can choose special pads designed to prevent odors.
The right padding can extend the life of your carpeting while adding greater comfort and warmth.