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Selecting the Right Carpet Pad

2021 by Alan Fletcher - Carpet Expert and Consumer Advocate


You must choose the correct Carpet Padding if you want your new Carpet to last as long as possible. The last thing you want to do is choose the wrong Carpet Padding. You could cut the intended lifespan of your new carpet in half, not to mention voiding your new carpet warranty. 


Here's what you need to know about choosing the correct type of pad, the proper thickness and the density rating to match your new Carpet selection! 



Carpet Padding Basics Explained

Choose your new Carpet first, then select the correct padding to go under it. There are many different types of carpet padding available today in order to accommodate all the various carpet types and styles. In the next few pages I will discuss the various types of pad that you will encounter when shopping for new carpeting your home. Learn about Types of Carpet Padding


But first you need to know a few things about what makes one padding better than another. Carpet Padding quality is always determined by three factors. The materials used to manufacture it, the density rating and the thickness



Carpet Padding Thickness Explained

A certain type, thickness and density of padding is specified by the carpet manufacturer to properly support the carpet and maintain your new carpet warranty. For most residential plush style carpets, a 7/16" padding thickness is most common. Berber styles require a thinner padding. Don't make the mistake of thinking that a thicker pad is a better pad.


Roll of Rebond Carpet Padding - CarpetProfessor.com If you chose a padding that is too thick it can cause wrinkles to develop in your new carpet rather quickly. If so, then you will void your new carpet warranty. In most homes, 7/16" is the thickest padding you should select to keep your new carpet warranty in force. That said, 1/2" thick padding is still a common choice and widely available from most carpet retailers. Read your new carpet warranty. 


Here is my List of Carpet Manufacturer Websites and Phone Numbers.


Some folks choose a 9/16" thick pad for their bedrooms to make the carpet feel super soft underfoot, however this type of padding is getting harder to find these days. Instead, they may opt to have the installer glue together two layers of thinner pad to obtain the same result. 


I don't recommend installing a super thick padding unless you understand the possible consequences. It will certainly increase the chance of developing wrinkles in your new carpet over time and will instantly void your new carpet warranty. However, a super thick padding can be a most enjoyable addition to your bedroom for many reasons. Why not? As Austin Powers might say...Groovy Baby!


Looped Berber carpet styles and most commercial grade carpets tend to be more prone to wrinkling and therefore require a special low-profile and high density  padding, usually 1/4" or 3/8" thickness, and 8-pound density or higher. If in doubt, you can always call the carpet manufacturer to get the correct padding requirements needed to keep from voiding your new carpet warranty. 



Carpet Padding Density Explained

Padding is also rated by its density. Some pads have a low density rating of 3 to 5 pounds and is typically used in apartments because it is less expensive and will be replaced frequently. Carpet padding recommended for residential applications usually have a density rating of 6, 7 or 8 pounds, but 10-pound density pads are also available. Some padding types are rated in ounces instead of pounds.


For example, 128-ounces is the equivalent of an 8-pound pad. Wool, Felt, Fiber and Rubber padding densities are generally rated in ounces. Some folks prefer the 6-pound density padding because it is slightly softer underfoot than an 8-pound pad. However, an 8-pound padding provides better support for your carpet and will generally make it wear better, especially in high traffic areas like stairs and hallways. I prefer the 8-pound density for most homes.


The higher the padding density rating the more firm it will be underfoot. The higher the density rating, the firmer the padding and the higher the price.  Firmer pads provide better the support for your carpet. Better support means a lower chance for wrinkles to form over time.





What Homeowners Need To Know:

  • The higher the density rating, the more costly the padding will be. 

  • Do not rely on the carpet salesperson to choose the correct pad for you, it is your responsibility to make sure the correct pad is selected and installed.

  • If the wrong type, thickness or density is selected, your carpet may develop wrinkles over time and your new carpet warranty may be voided. 

  • If unsure, call the carpet manufacturer to see what type of padding is required for the carpet you have selected.

  • Take my free Carpet Foot-Traffic Test to help determine the grade of carpet you need to install in your home.



More about Carpet Padding:

Types of Carpet Padding

Specialized Carpet Pads

Selecting the Right Carpet Pad



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Carpet padding basics, Carpet padding thickness, Cost for carpet padding,  Types of carpet padding, Carpet padding density.



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