Today's carpets require special padding unlike the
carpets of even ten years ago. If you do not follow the manufacturer's
padding guidelines, you will void your carpet warranty. It is up the the
professional carpet dealer to inform you of the correct padding for each
particular need. Remember the most expensive pad you will ever get is
the FREE PAD offered by many floorcovering stores.
Types of Padding
- Waffle Rubber: This type of padding is still being used
today but often improperly. The waffle part of the padding gives it a
thickness that is mostly air, and as a result, any of this type of
padding rated less than 90 ounces is still too soft for today's
plastic backed carpets. Also, despite claims to the contrary, the
rubber used to make these paddings is held together with clay type
binders that break down with use.
- Foam Padding: This type of padding is made from urethane
foam and is available in different densities and thicknesses.
Generally this type of pad, regardless of the thickness, is not
recommended for heavy traffic of any kind. All that air under the
carpet just causes the carpet to move up and down so much that the
backing soon breaks down.
- Rebond: This type of padding is used most often by the
floorcovering industry. It is made from of scraps of the high density
foams used in furniture making that are bonded together. Rebond
padding comes in various thicknesses and densities . The density is
rated at so many pounds per cubic foot. For example, a 5 lb rebond pad
would weigh 5lb per cubic foot. The
CRI (Carpet and Rug Institute)
recommends a pad of at least 5lbs and 3/8 inch thickness for light
traffic (your living room), and a pad of 6.5 lbs and 3/8 inch for
heavy traffic (hallways). These are minimum guidelines, and I suggest
that a 7 to 7.5 lb pad for longer wear. Also, if you want a little
more luxury, you can use a thickness of 1/2 inch.
- Fiber: These pads are used when one wants to limit the
movement in a piece of carpet. This pad can be made form jute, or hair
mixed with jute, or synthetic fiber, or recycled textile fiber. Most
often these pads are used under area rugs, under commercial carpets,
and under some berber carpets. The key here is density. Stay with at
least 7.5 lbs per cubic ft. density on the synthetic fiber, and 12 lb
density on the jute pads. Thickness should be between 3/8 and 7/16
- Berber Pad: Only some berber carpets require special
padding. If your carpet dealer normally sells a light weight pad as
his regular padding, then you WILL need a special pad. The
general rule is the bigger the loop in the berber the firmer the
padding should be.
- Special Circumstances: There are certain carpets that
require unique pad usage. One of those is the woven carpet. These
carpets must be installed over a extra heavy super dense fiber pad or,
in some cases, a heavy flat frothed foam.
Also, If you have a carpet that is being used in a commercial
installation, check to see if this type of carpet is available with its
own self-attached backing. This backing is build by the mill to optimize
the performance of its carpet.
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