Savvy homeowners want to know about how to choose the best Carpet Padding Types and Prices for 2023 and beyond. Here’s the low-down about choosing the correct type of pad, and selecting the proper thickness and density rating to match your new Carpet selection.
Carpet Padding Basics Explained
Select your new Carpet first, then select the padding that will best match the grade of carpet you have chosen.
You don’t want your padding to wear out faster than your carpet. There are many different types of padding available today to accommodate all the various carpet grades, types and styles you might select.
In the next few pages, I will explain the various types of pad that you will encounter when shopping for new carpeting for your home, but first you need to know a few things about what makes one padding better than another. It’s all about Padding specifications.
Three factors determine padding quality, durability and suitability.
1. Type of Material
2. Density / Weight
A certain type, thickness and density of padding is specified by the carpet manufacturer.
When choosing the right carpet pad, it must be capable of properly supporting your new carpet in order to maintain the new carpet warranty. You can call the carpet manufacturer to find out what padding specifications are required for the type and style of carpet you select.
It is your responsibility to make sure the right carpet padding is selected. Don’t automatically assume the carpet salesperson knows what pad is required to keep your new carpet warranty in force.
Best Types of Carpet Padding
What is the Best Type of Carpet Padding For My Home? 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.
Rebond Carpet Pad
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 which grade of Rebond 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.
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, however you should never skimp when it comes to choosing a good-quality padding to place underneath your good-quality carpet.
Your Carpet and Padding Must be Equal in Durability
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. The question is, how will you know what grade of carpet or padding you are buying?
Typical Cost for a 6 to 8-pound density Rebond pad is about $3.50 – $5.50 per square yard or about 39 to 45 cents per square foot and comes in 30 yard rolls.
Inexpensive Foam Padding
This type of simple foam pad is inexpensive and super lightweight. Any 6-year old can lift a full roll. 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
Prime Urethane foam is not made from recycled materials, this type of pad is called prime or virgin urethane. It’s a better grade of foam pad (frothed foam) that could be a good choice for the 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 types of natural wool or synthetic pads are used primarily for Berber Styles and commercial grade carpets. They are very dense, breathe well, and are not spongy at all. These are made from recycled or shredded fabrics or natural wool.
Pads of this type 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
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 this type of padding and it comes in 20 yard rolls because it is so heavy and awkward to handle.
Carpet Padding Prices 2022
Rebond Type (Residential)
This Price Guide is for Standard Rebond Type Carpet Pad Only, and not for Moisture Barrier, Memory Foam or any other Type of Carpet Padding.
(Cash and Carry Prices Shown) These are current pad prices available 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 Padding Thickness Explained
For most residential plush style carpets, a 7/16″ padding thickness is most common. Berber styles require a thinner padding. Usually 1/4″ to 3/8″.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that a thicker pad is a better pad.
If you chose a padding that is too thick it can cause wrinkles to develop in your new carpet more quickly. If so, then you will void your new carpet warranty.
For 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 the manufacturers new carpet warranty or call the mill to verify what padding thickness you should select.
A Thicker Pad Feels Softer Underfoot
I don’t recommend installing a thicker padding unless you understand the possible consequences. Using a thicker pad will increase the chance of developing wrinkles over time and will instantly void your new carpet warranty.
Some folks choose a thicker pad for their bedrooms to make the carpet feel softer underfoot. Many choose a 9/16″, 5/8″, 3/4″ or even a 1″ thick pad.
However, thicker pad is getting harder to find these days. Instead, you can opt to have your carpet installer glue together two layers of pad to obtain the same result.
Using a thicker padding can be an enjoyable addition to your bedroom.
While you may get away with using a thicker pad in bedrooms with very low foot traffic, using a thicker pad in other areas like stairs, hallways, living rooms and family rooms would not be a good idea. In areas with higher foot traffic, using a thicker padding would cause your new carpet to quickly develop ripples, waves and wrinkles.
It will cost you more to use a thicker pad.
- Extra Padding Cost
- Additional Installation Charges
Low-Profile Padding with Higher Density Rating Increases Carpet Durability.
Looped Berber carpet styles and commercial grade carpets tend to be more prone to wrinkling and therefore require a special low-profile, high density padding. Usually a maximum of 1/4″ to 3/8″ thickness, and a density rating of 10 to 12 pounds.
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.
Padding Density Explained
Padding quality is also determined by its Density Rating. Some pads have a low density rating of 3 to 4 pounds and is typically used in apartments and rental properties because it is less expensive and landlords know it will need to be replaced more frequently.
Padding for residential applications usually have a density rating of 6 to 8 pounds, but 10-pound density is also available and gaining in popularity.
Some folks prefer the 6-pound density padding because it is slightly softer underfoot. However, an 8-pound padding provides better support for your carpet.
A higher density rating generally make a carpet more resistant to wear and tear and abrasion. This is especially true in high traffic areas like stairs and hallways. I recommend using 8-pound density for most residential applications.
Some pads are measured in ounces.
Pads made of foam are rated in pounds. The most common foam padding density for residential homes is 6-pound density. An 8-pound pad is heavier and therefore more dense. More and more carpet makers are requiring 8-pound pads as a warranty requirement because it provides better support.
Wool, Felt, Synthetic Fiber and Rubber Pads are measured in ounces. For example, a pad of 128-ounce weight is the equivalent of an 8-pound pad. A 192-ounce pad is equal to 12-pound density.
What Homeowners Need To Know About Choosing the Right Carpet Pad
- 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 type of 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 Padding Specifications are 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.
Beware of Unnecessary Padding Upgrades
It’s real easy to pay too much for pad, especially if you follow bad advice from an inexperienced carpet salesperson. There are many types of padding available but choosing the right pad can be challenging. Don’t blindly agree to any padding upgrade until you have a chance to do your padding homework!
You Probably Don’t Need a Specialty Pad
Don’t be swayed by a carpet salesperson who says you need to spend more for a pad that has a moisture barrier. Chances are good that you do not need a moisture barrier pad. In fact, moisture barrier pads can help cause mold and mildew to form underneath your padding. If your basement has moisture problems, a moisture barrier pad is the wrong pad for you.
You also don’t need the pad that has baking soda infused to help eliminate pet odors. The cost is high and the benefit is low. How long do you think the baking soda infused inside a 1/2″ thick pad will remain effective? Not long enough to make it a worthwhile padding upgrade I bet.
What about Padding That Will Extend Your New Carpet Warranty?
Carpet makers like Shaw and Mohawk now offer a special branded padding that if you buy it, they will increase the length of your New Carpet Warranty by up to 10 years.
I think the increase in carpet warranty length is just a slick marketing ploy to get you to spend more on a padding that you can surely do without.
It practically takes an act of congress to substantiate a valid new carpet warranty claim and even if you do, they only cover affected areas and pro rate your replacement credit based on the age of your carpet.
Specialty pads will certainly cost you more today but from my perspective they provide little to no measurable benefits to you in the long run. Don’t waste of your hard earned money on special pads that offer little benefit.