What is carpet padding and why is it necessary?
Your carpet pad is a sheet of spongy material that goes underneath your carpet. It's cut slightly smaller than the carpet itself so it will fit inside the tack strip that keeps the carpet in place. Installers either staple or glue the pad to the subfloor, joining sections of padding with a specialized tape. A rug or carpet pad can make or break the comfort and durability of your carpet because it plays a critical role in your carpet's performance and appearance.
The main purpose of a carpet pad is to protect and support your carpets durability and effectiveness. The pad keeps the underside of your carpet from wearing against the bare floor. It also absorbs the impact from footsteps and furniture, lessening the both the stress on your carpet as well as your joints. One study found that carpets without cushioning lose about 19 percent of their pile height from wear and tear as compared to a 5 to 10 percent loss for the same carpet with a separate pad [source: Carpet Cushion Council Benefits].
The rug or carpet pad serves many purposes, such as:
- It creates a softer "walk" or feel to the carpet. Although most people think this is the whole point of a carpet pad, it's not. Conversely, the best pad for a particular carpet may provide less foot comfort than an lower grade pad.
- A carpet pad can make cleaning your carpet easier. When you have padding, your vacuum cleaner can raise the carpet slightly and remove more dirt, which helps reduce allergens.
- It provides thermal insulation by stopping drafts that can seep through more porous carpeting keeping the room warmer.
- Carpet padding reduces sound which can be especially important for upstairs rooms, but it's effective overall for sound reuction as well.
Sometimes installing the wrong pad can void your carpet's warranty too, so always look at the carpet manufacturer's recommendations. And think twice about the free pad offered by some carpet retailers. There are many retailers that order mass quantites of padding thus, advocating only one kind. Decide on the pad you want and ask to order it if they don't have it in stock.
Before choosing your carpet pad, you should look at where you'll use it. Think about what kind of activities or traffic the room sees, and choose a pad that can take a beating if you think you'll be rough on it. If you stand a lot or have kids who will play there, consider a thicker pad for increased comfort. When choosing your carpet pad, it all comes down to your particular needs, so make sure you now your specific requirements before purchasing.