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How Important is Carpet Padding?

French Meadows Accent CarpetIt’s not hard to see why carpet has remained one of the most popular flooring options over the years, especially for Indianapolis area homeowners. It combines value, unmatched comfort and style in one relatively easy to install package. No matter what style you choose, be it plush carpet, berber carpet or any other style, nothing comes close to carpet’s cozy look and comfort. But the top layer isn’t all that’s responsible for that heavenly carpet feel between your toes – what about the carpet padding? Just exactly how important is carpet padding? Let’s take a look at the benefits of a quality carpet pad, and which one would work best for you.


Why use a carpet pad?

  • Softness – This one is obvious. A layer of good carpet cushion can give your home that softness that makes it feel like your feet sink right into the floor.
  • Insulation – Carpet padding can make it easier to maintain that perfect temperature in your home by adding an extra layer of insulation.
  • Increased carpet longevity – Carpet padding puts in a great deal of work in protecting your carpet in the long run. A dense carpet cushion supports and protects the backing of your carpet by absorbing most of the impact from foot traffic and furniture.
  • Protective film barrier – Many carpet cushion products now come with a protective film or barrier that stops liquids or fluids from penetrating into the backing, pad and subfloor. This is especially helpful in situations where spills or pet accidents may be a concern.


Now that we understand the benefits of padding, how do you go about choosing the right carpet pad? Having been an Indianapolis flooring mainstay for years, the pros at Tish have a few tips.


Don’t get fooled by carpet padding thickness

Often, new carpet shoppers mistake thickness as a feature that guarantees them a good, quality cushion. The fact is, just as is the case with carpet, thickness or height – is really lower priority in the quality hierarchy than is density. In most cases both pad and carpet are judged by flooring professionals by their density first, then all of their other attributes follow.

The majority of carpets, from plush to Berber carpet and beyond, will perform best with a carpet pad with a height/thickness of 7/16”. Some select carpets will require slightly lower profile pads, but these are the exception. Ask your flooring professional to be sure what thickness you’ll need. But, as we said, carpet pad density makes a bigger impact on the life of your carpet than pad height.

For residential applications, most carpet warranties by the major manufacturers are supported by a minimum 6.0 lb. density; this number simply refers to pounds of density per square yard in bonded cushion. Bonded cushion – a mix of urethane foam recycled plastics – is the most widely marketed type of cushion in the residential flooring industry (there are others, prime urethane, jute cushion, rubber, etc., but these are only a fraction of the market). Premium cushion is widely considered to be 8.0 lb. density. So, in keeping with our point that density trumps, a 7/16” bonded 8.0 lb. cushion will generally outlast a 9/16” bonded 4.0 lb cushion even though the latter is an entire 1/8” of an inch thicker. Comprende’?


Get all the facts and get started

The specific needs of your home flooring project can best be found by talking to a flooring professional. The best way to get exactly what you need is to schedule an in-home consultation with the professionals at Tish Flooring. When your project manager gets a feel for your specific needs and your home, you’ll be better able to make the right decisions for your project. Give us a call at 317-879-TISH (8474) to schedule your consultation around your schedule – daytime, evening, weekday or weekend. If you still need some more pointers before you get started, download our free Indianapolis Carpet Buying Guide and get the basics down pat.