In previous posts, I have tried to provide information on the pros and cons of the different options available for carpeting. This post should help educate you in choosing the right kind of padding to go underneath. Padding or matting is laid under the carpet or rug for several reasons. The first is to provide cushion for the carpet itself. Padding actually acts like the shock absorbers in your car. The padding will help your carpet keep its shape as people walk on it, which ensures a longer life for your carpet or rug. Padding will also help insulate your home, provide cushion for walking and playing, and help keep the noise down for the people below you. Needless to say, carpet padding plays a huge role in the installation of new carpet in your home or office.
There are a number of different options depending on the material you want to put into your home. Obviously the price ranges, but as with everything else in life, you get what you pay for. Here is a list of pad types and the pros and cons of each:
Re-bond or Bonded Pad: This is the most popular type of carpet padding sold today and the least expensive. It is made from reclaimed scrap of high-density urethane foam used in furniture and automotive manufacturing, which is bonded together to form carpet cushion. Re-bond comes in various thickness and densities. The density is rated as a function of weight in pounds per cubic foot. For example, a 5-lb. re-bond cushion would weigh 5lb per cubic foot. The Carpet Cushion Council recommends a cushion of at least 5lbs and 3/8-inch thickness for light traffic areas, and 6.5 lbs. and 3/8 inch for heavy traffic areas. These are minimum guidelines and keep in mind the CCC is the trade voice for the carpet cushion (carpet padding) industry. Many carpet manufacturers recommend a minimum of 8 pounds per cubic foot.
One concern that you should be aware of with re-bond carpet cushion is a chemical compound known as butylated hydroxy toluene (Bht). Bht is a common additive in foods, breads and cereals and is an antioxidant and has no known health effects. It is added to some urethane products to reduce the risk of fire during manufacturing. Unfortunately, this chemical compound has then tendency to produce yellowing in many carpet constructions. If you have purchased a rebond carpet cushion and yellowing has occurred, rinse with white vinegar or other mild acid before applying a detergent solution. Detergent solutions have the tendency to permanently set the yellowing. It is best to ask for written assurances from the retailer that the carpet padding that you choose does not contain Bht. We tend not to recommend this type of padding because of the chemical compound, but it obviously has its benefits and is the most widely accepted material for recycling.
Felt Pad: Otherwise known as recycled jute pad, this type contains recycled materials that are mold and mildew resistant, non-allergenic and do not contain any odor. A recycled jute rug pad is completely safe for all types of floors. Recycled jute rug pads are made by weight. The higher the weight, the better the pad and the 40 ounce is one of the best. This weight of pad will be dense enough to protect rug and floor yet comfortable enough to walk and sit on. Use a recycled jute rug pad under rugs that do not slide since this type of pad does not prevent slipping. This is the type of pad that we recommend for both area rugs and wall-to-wall carpeting. We swear by the way it protects the carpet, floor, and the comfort it provides underfoot. Our stance is that you should spend the extra $1/yard for a better pad to ensure you are protecting your larger investment (the carpet/rug) to the best of your ability.
Non-slip Pad: If you are looking for a pad to put under a runner or any rug that is not anchored down by furniture, a non-slip or non-skid pad is the way to go. A recycled jute and natural rubber rug pad is perhaps one of the best non-skid rug pads available. The top layer is actually made of the same recycled material as the felt pad, but it has a rubber backing that prevents the pad from moving around on your floor. There are variations on the jute and rubber among pads. There is synthetic and recycled jute and natural rubber and rubber like material for the bottom. For the best quality non slip rug pad, a recycled jute and solid rubber is the choice. Here the rubber is an actual layer sewn on to the jute as opposed to being sprayed on like many pads. The real rubber is safe for all floor types.
Open Weave Non-Slip Rug Pads: This is the other type of non-slip pad available. The main reason for this type of rug pad purchase is to prevent rugs from slipping on a budget. Although most will prevent slipping, one must be careful as to choose one that will not mark your floor. Make sure the pad is not sprayed with an adhesive to give it a sticky, or tacky, feel. This adhesive could eventually rub off onto your floor. This thinner pad is good under area rugs that slip where a thicker pad may be an issue, such as where doors open up over the rug.
Flat Rubber: For the ultimate in luxury and long wear consider using 19 -22lb density flat rubber carpet cushion. This is the best carpet padding available, but it is extremely pricey and difficult to find. The average consumer would not consider this carpet cushion because of its cost. However, it will make a 10-year-old synthetic carpet look as if it were installed yesterday. While it is recommended that you replace carpet cushion with each carpet installation, flat rubber may be the only carpet padding that could outlast the carpet and survive a second carpet installation.
Within these general categories there are countless subcategories so it is best to ask your local carpet store what they offer. These are simply guidelines to follow in order to stretch your flooring investment the furthest. At The Carpet Workroom, we guarantee you the best quality padding at the lowest price.