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The Padding Under Your Carpet

If you have read through our blog posts in our advice section of our website, you may be shocked at just how much there really is behind carpet cleaning, maintenance, installation and purchasing. It can seem a bit overwhelming, but that is why we use our expert carpet cleaning knowledge to help advise you along! In order to be as effective as we are at applying our services, we know that we must be as knowledgeable as possible on all topics involving carpet. This knowledge that we have accumulated extends past the carpet we see, into the subsurface padding we typically pay no mind to. This foundational padding plays a crucial role in the overall comfort, look and life of your in home carpet. We know that the subsurface carpet padding is typically overlooked and not taken too seriously, so with this post we are going to provide some information as to why this important piece of the carpeting puzzle deserves more attention.

While the beautiful carpet surface is what you actually see when walking through your home, there is a very important pad beneath the surface which creates the foundation for the carpet. This foundational carpet padding is an incredibly important part of how nice your carpet will feel and how durable it will be. When purchasing carpet for your home, you will be purchasing padding to go along with the carpet as well. It may sound like a simple purchase, but there are options when making this purchase. Purchasing the wrong type of padding for your needs, or choosing the cheapest option available can leave you with less than desirable results not too long after your initial new carpet installation. This does not necessarily mean you have to choose the most expensive padding or the most expensive carpet, but you do want to be thorough in your decision making process and choose what is right for you and your home.

When choosing new carpet and padding to be installed in your home, you may feel like cost will force you to choose between a higher end carpet or a higher end pad. Seemingly, choosing higher end carpet and sacrificing on the padding may seem like the correct way to go, but not necessarily. The padding you choose to be the foundation for your flooring has such an impact on the feel of comfort, as well as the overall look of your floor throughout its lifespan. Choosing the cheapest pad option so you can pick a more expensive carpet can put you in a not too pleasant situation not long after your new carpet and padding is installed. A cheaper padding will not provide as much comfort under your feet and it will not take too long to begin to notice. Flat spots can start to form throughout the carpeted portions of your home as well. Cheaper padding does not hold up well to weight or impact, so over time, it will begin to flatten and lose its “fluff”. Not only will the carpet not feel as comfortable to walk on, you will eventually begin to notice visible flat spots.

Another issue that can arise from cheaper padding is actual wear to your surface carpeting. While the loss of comfort is easily felt and flat spots can be caught by the eye, the slow degradation of your carpet may not be as noticeable until a bit later in its life. The actual carpet resting on the foundation of padding wearing down and becoming damaged due to a less effective padding may not seem like an obvious issue at first. But, it most certainly can be devastating to your carpet. One of the primary purposes of the padding is to absorb impact. Constant impact on your carpeting is typically caused by regular foot traffic. Heavy furniture, vacuums or something as simple as a toy being dropped on the carpet could begin to cause instant damage to the carpet if there is not adequate padding underneath to absorb these impacts. Regular impacts on the carpet can cause a variety of issues. Common issues are the backing being stretched, excessive stress on the surface fibers, the synthetic latex breaking down or an actual separation of the primary and secondary backing (this is called delamination). To avoid these issues, you will want to be sure that you are choosing the proper combination of carpet and padding to be installed in your home.

There are a variety of ways to determine which padding is right for your needs. There are also a variety of ways in which a carpet can be rated. The variety of rating systems do generally base themselves around Density Measurements. Different types of padding will hold more weight before collapsing, some will be heavier or lighter throughout their surface areas than others, some will be thick while others are thin. You don’t want to choose padding that is too thin, nor do you want to choose padding that is too thick. If the padding you choose is too thick, it can actually pull the carpet off of the tack strips along the edges that hold it down. If your carpet padding is too thin, it will provide no feeling of comfort and it will not absorb the impact needed to keep your carpet as healthy as needed. Thick or thin, light or heavy, the most important measuring factor for padding is the amount of pounds per foot across the area that can be absorbed prior to bottoming out. If you put some time into researching your specific needs, you should develop a good general idea of what your best fit would be. Choosing the proper padding for your needs can be surprisingly involved, so taking professional advice from a certified carpet padding expert would be highly recommended.

Now that we have discussed the importance of the padding to be placed under your newly purchased carpet, as well as carefully choosing the proper padding for your needs, we would like to give you a little run down on some of the subsurface carpet paddings you would be choosing from.

Fiber Cushion Padding

This type of carpet padding is mostly meant to be an environmentally friendly option, but typically does not match up to other forms of padding. Fiber Cushion Padding is made up of various fiber scraps. While being a feel good option, it does not provide much impact absorption or lasting comfort.

Urethane Foam Padding

Urethane Foam Padding can actually come in a full variety of thickness and density. The density of this type of padding can be as low as one half pound per square inch. Urethane Foam Padding can be very effective, as long as you purchase the proper density to fit your needs and the type of carpet you are purchasing.

Waffle Rubber Padding

The name of Waffle Rubber Padding fits perfectly, as this type of padding looks like an actual waffle. This padding is made of rubber and has indentations throughout the surface of the padding that give it the waffle like texture. This type of padding generally creates a soft, cushiony feeling. But, this padding can have a high percentage of filler, which would cause it to break down more quickly than others. Newer Waffle Rubber Padding is constructed to be a bit more stable and can be a good fit for you, but you would want to make sure you are purchasing a high quality product.

Flat Rubber Padding

Flat Rubber padding is considered to be the cream of the rug padding crop. It has great durability over time and provides a wonderfully comfortable feel. Flat Rubber Padding is quite dense and lasts a very long time. Its extreme durability helps to keep your carpets looking good for a longer period of time thanks to its high level of impact absorption. This padding can actually be reused when replacing your carpet. It is not used too often, due to its high cost and difficulty to obtain.

Bonded Urethane Padding

This is the most commonly used carpet padding. Bonded Urethane Padding is similar to Fiber Cushion Padding in the way that it is constructed using scrap fibers. But, this carpet padding uses scraps from very high density Urethane Foam. Since it uses Urethane Foam instead of random soft scraps, it produces a high level of effectiveness while also being quite affordable. When you are purchasing carpet, this would more than likely be the default choice your installers would make.

If this seems to be a lot of information, don’t feel alone! We mentioned earlier that there is a surprisingly large amount of information needed to really understand the intricacies of rug padding and hopefully this post helped to guide you through. When it is time to purchase rug padding, feel free to use this post as a reference. Or, give us a shout anytime at 407-930-4854. You could also visit our Oriental Rug Cleaning Plant site for more information! Remember to take your time and choose the right padding for your individual needs!