Carpet Padding Types and Specifications

What Carpet Padding Is Best 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, offices and commercial applications.

Rebond Pad

(Best Bang for your Buck!)

Rebond Carpet Padding
Rebond Carpet Padding

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 virtually every thickness and density.

Rebond pad is reasonably priced and it does a good job supporting your carpet for about 7 to 15 years on average.

Rebond is designed for residential applications and is the most economical padding choice for your home, rental or office.

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.

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.

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.

The Grade of Padding you select must MATCH the Grade of Carpet you select. 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.

Typical Cost for a 6 to 8-pound density Rebond pad is about $3.50 – $6.99 per square yard or about 39 to 77 cents per square foot.

Foam Padding (Urethane)

This type of pad is often very inexpensive and lightweight. If a retail store tries to give you free pad with your carpet purchase, this is usually what they give you. It has a density rating of 2 to 3 pounds.

Foam padding will not tolerate much traffic. It will soon become completely flat as a pancake after a year or so and is not a good choice for a residential setting.

Foam pad is often used in apartment settings where the life span of the carpet is less than 3 years.

Prime Urethane Foam Pad

Prime Urethane Foam

Prime foam is not made from recycled materials, this type of pad is called prime or virgin urethane. It is made of very dense urethane (polyurethane).

It’s a better grade of foam pad (frothed foam) that could be a good choice for the home.

Prime foam is designed primarily for commercial applications, but is becoming more common in residential applications.

The cost for Prime foam is higher than a standard Rebond pad and is not a common choice among homeowners.

Wool or Cloth Pads and Synthetic Fiber Pads

These types of natural wool and synthetic pads are used primarily for Berbers and commercial carpets. They are very dense, breathe well, and are not spongy at all.

Cloth pads 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.

Padding Types

Pads of this type are designed to prevent carpets from stretching out and developing wrinkles.

A synthetic fiber pad is also a great choice for basements with concrete floors because it breathes well, resists mold and mildew and has anti-microbial properties.

Rubber Pad (waffle) or Rubber Slab (flat)

I seldom recommend using a rubber waffle pad in residential applications.

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.

Specialized Carpet Pads for Pet Urine Problems

(Moisture barrier pads, odor eating pads, pet odor pads, baking soda infused 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 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 significantly diminish your pet accident problems.

If you have pet urine problems, there is no padding that will solve your problem. Spending more money on a specialty pad will not reduce the severity of your pet accident problem. Sorry!

Don’t Assume a Specialty Pad Will Solve Your Moisture Problems!

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 should fix 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.

You don’t want to use a moisture barrier pad in a basement. The last thing you want is to trap moisture underneath your padding. If your basement has a musty smell, you might want to investigate and find out why.

There are companies that specialize in solving moisture problems in basements. Some homeowners choose to seal their concrete themselves with a product called Thompson’s Water Seal.

Mold and Mildew Problems in Basements

If you suspect your basement has a moisture problem, the entire area should be tested. You should find the moisture source and have it corrected prior to installing any flooring materials.

Carpet and padding installed over concrete slabs or in basements must be able to breathe sufficiently to allow any moisture to evaporate up and through the pad and carpet.

You don’t want to trap any moisture under the carpet or padding, therefore padding with a moisture barrier should not be used over concrete if there is any chance of moisture from any source.

Common Sources of Moisture in Basements

Mold and mildew is a serious issue and can be the cause of major health problems for people of any age.

Water will always find a way! Even if you think the area is completely dry or effectively sealed, water can somehow find a way to escape its containment boundaries and can become the cause of serious damage to your home over time.

Just a small continuous drip from a leaky pipe can eventually turn into a serious problem and might not be discovered until months or years later. Mold and mildew will form wherever there is a continuous or intermittent source of moisture.

  • Heavy rain is the most common cause of occasional basement flooding. Improperly installed or damaged gutters and downspouts are a common source of intermittent moisture problems.
  • Leaky water supply hoses and drainage pipes from upper level bathrooms and laundry rooms can become a frequent source of water collecting or pooling in lower levels and basement areas.
  • Children splashing in the bathtub can cause a significant amount of water to flow down through cracks along the wall and cause damage to lower levels of your home.
  • Kitchen faucets and sprayers, under sink drains and any connection or seals to and from dishwashers or washing machines are a common source of moisture that can create a perfect storm for mold and mildew to grow in places where it can be almost impossible to detect.
What Do I Consider a Specialty Padding?
  • Moisture Barrier Padding
  • Odor Eating Padding
  • Memory Foam Padding
  • Air filtering Padding
  • Pad infused with baking soda
  • Padding with a density of more than 10-pounds
  • Padding thicker than 1/2″

About Specialized Carpet Pads

These enhanced carpet pads are more costly than a standard Rebond padding.

They may offer certain unique benefits for some applications, but in most cases I don’t think any of these Specialty Pads are a wise or necessary choice for most homeowners.

I don’t know of any method for homeowners to effectively determine if a specialty pad is providing any worthwhile, positive or beneficial effect or result over the lifespan of a carpet.

Breathable Moisture Barrier Pads Are Okay

I find that Breathable moisture barrier pads are one type of specialty padding I actually approve of.

Breathable moisture barrier pads keep most common household spills from soaking into the padding. It allows any damaging water vapor from underneath the padding to evaporate up and away.

The last thing you want is for any water vapor to get trapped underneath your pad. That is how mold and mildew starts to grow.

Prepare for sticker shock when you see how much Breathable moisture barrier pads cost.

Learn more about Selecting The Right Carpet Pad


AbcCarpetpro.com Carpet Professor

My Recommended Carpet Stores

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