Free Carpet Information and Buying Guide
Alan Fletcher - Carpet Expert and Consumer Advocate, I do not sell or install carpet.
Best Types of Carpet Padding
Make sure you choose carpet padding wisely! Here are the most common padding types, styles, thickness and density ratings for residential homes, office and commercial applications.
Carpet manufacturers often require you use a certain type of pad and specify the maximum thickness and minimum density ratings. Here's what consumers need to know about choosing the right carpet padding.
Is Rebond The Best Carpet Pad?
(Best Bang for your Buck!)
This type of pad is the most common and the best choice for most residential applications. It is made from recycled materials, mainly from recycled urethane foam, which is why it is multicolored. It is available everywhere, and in almost every thickness and density.
Rebond is reasonably priced and it does a good job supporting your carpet for about 7 to 15 years on average.
Rebond Padding is designed for residential applications and is the most economical padding choice for your home. 4 to 10-pound densities are available but most homeowners would be wise to choose a density rating of 6 to 8-pounds.
I prefer a 8-pound density rating for most residential-grade carpet styles and especially on stairs and heavy foot traffic areas. An 8-pound density gives excellent support and durability for homes with active kids and pets too.
Not all Rebond Padding is made of high-grade or top-quality recycled materials. Every padding manufacturer offers several grades of Rebond Padding to their distributors.
Carpet retailers have a choice of varying grades of Padding to offer to their customers. The main difference will be the type of recycled materials used to manufacture the padding and the density rating. The higher the quality of recycled materials used, the better the Rebond pad will perform over time.
Most carpet stores have a few different thickness and density variations on hand and can order other padding specifications to meet your needs when necessary. Learn more about Padding Specifications
Reputable Carpet Dealers always offer top quality Rebond Padding to their customers. The price you pay for a good quality padding may be slightly higher than at the shady discount carpet store down the street.
Unless you only need your new carpet to last a few years, you should never skimp when it comes to choosing a good-quality padding to place underneath your good-quality carpet.
This Chart is
for Standard Rebond Carpet
Pad Only, Not for
Moisture Barrier, Memory Foam or any other Type of Padding.
Not for Moisture Barrier, Memory Foam or any other Type of Padding.
(Cash and Carry Prices Shown) These are current pad prices found online at two home improvement warehouse stores. Cash and carry means you have to visit the store to make your selection, pay for it, transport it, store it and make it readily available at the job site for the installers you hire. This is not what you will pay for padding if you purchase new carpet, padding and installation as a complete package deal from a reputable locally-owned carpet retailer.
Carpet and Padding Equality?
If you buy a carpet designed to last 15 years, then you must buy a padding that is designed to last at least 15 years too. You don't want your padding to wear out before your carpet does.
The question is, how can you tell what grade of padding you are buying? The key is in the density rating. Higher density translates into a longer lasting product and provides increased support for your carpet.
Typical Cost for a 6 to 8-pound density Rebond pad is about $3.95 - $5.95 per square yard or about 45 to 66 cents per square foot and comes in 30 yard rolls (6' x 45').
Depending on your level of foot traffic, a 6 pound Rebond pad could last 6 to 10 years, an 8 pound Rebond pad can last 10 to 15 years. You could opt for a 10 pound Rebond pad if you want to make sure it will last as long as possible (over 15 years?).
Inexpensive Foam Padding
If a retail store tries to give you free pad with your carpet purchase, this is usually what they plan to give you. It is not meant for residential applications.
This type of padding will not tolerate much foot traffic. It will soon become completely flat as a pancake in main walkways after a year or two. It is not sturdy, it has no wear layer on top to hold it together and it rips and tears very easily.
Cheap Foam Pad like this is often used in apartment settings where the carpet life span is expected to be less than 3 years. Foam Pad of this quality usually sells for a buck or two per square yard and comes in 40 yard rolls, 6 feet wide by 60 feet long.
Prime Urethane Foam Pad
It's a better grade of foam pad (frothed foam) that could be a good choice for your home. It is made of very dense urethane (polyurethane). This is a sturdy product with a surface layer added for stability and durability.
Prime Urethane Foam is designed primarily for commercial applications, but is becoming more common in residential applications. The cost is higher than a standard Rebond pad and is not a common choice among homeowners.
Wool, Cloth and Synthetic Pads
These are very dense, breathe well, and are not spongy at all. They are made from recycled or shredded fabrics or natural wool.
They are designed to support and allow looped Berbers and commercial carpets to wear well in heavy traffic situations, and to prevent these types of carpets from stretching out and developing wrinkles.
A synthetic fiber pad is also a great choice for basements with concrete floors as it breathes well, resists mold and mildew and has anti-microbial properties.
Rubber Carpet Pad?
However, I seldom recommend using a Flat Rubber Slab or Rubber Waffle Pad in residential applications primarily because of its high cost.
Rebond pad is a much more economical choice and it does a great job at supporting your carpet as long the correct thickness and density is selected.
Rubber slab padding is often used in commercial applications over concrete. Rubber padding density is usually rated in ounces instead or pounds.
Cost is highest for rubber padding and it comes in 20 yard rolls because it is so heavy and awkward to handle.
Specialized Carpet Pads for Pet Urine Problems
(Moisture barrier pads, odor eating pads, pet odor pads, baking soda pads)
Some carpet salespeople may try to convince you to upgrade your carpet order with a specialty pad that has claims of being able to eliminate odors or have a moisture barrier surface that will help with spills and pet accidents.
I don't generally recommend these type of pads and suggest you avoid the extra expense. I believe it will just cost you more money and not solve or diminish your pet accident problems.
If you have a pet urine / accident problem there is no padding on the market today that I know of, that will solve your problem. Spending more money on a specialty pad will likely not reduce the severity of your pet accident problem. Sorry!
Can Pad Solve Your Moisture Problem?
If you have a moisture problem with your concrete slab or in your basement, installing a moisture barrier padding will not protect you from the dangers of mold and mildew.
Don't be fooled into thinking that spending more money on a specialty pad will solve your moisture problems, it just doesn't work that way.
You need to address your moisture problems first and then select a good quality pad that is designed to properly support your carpet and meet your needs and goals.
Do I Need a Special Carpet Pad?
About Specialized Carpet Pads
These enhanced types of carpet padding are typically much more costly than a standard Rebond type of carpet padding.
They may offer certain unique benefits for some applications, but in most cases I do not believe any of these Specialty Pads are a wise or necessary choice for most homeowners.
I don't think there is a measurable way for a homeowner to effectively determine if a specialty pad has any worthwhile, positive or beneficial effect over the lifespan of a residential carpet.