You likely have put some time and thought into shopping for a carpet. After all, there's a lot to consider--fibers, loops, pile, color. But, once that decision is made, many buyers think their work is over. They assume carpet cushion, or carpet padding, is all the same.
What they don't know is that the cushion is just as important as the carpet. Make a wrong turn here and you could end up paying for it. Here are three reasons why you should know what you're buying.
1. You could ruin your carpet by choosing the wrong cushion.
Out of sight should not be out of mind in the world of carpet padding. Put thick cushion in a high traffic area and you'll quickly find it's too soft to stand up to the wear and tear. Place a cushion that's too thin on a rough subfloor and prepare to see the imperfections come through. This is one time when taking the salesperson's word could end up being a costly mistake.
So, what can you do? Start by checking out the manufacturer's recommendations for your carpet. Next, consider where you are placing the carpet--guest bedroom or main hallway. Be extra cautious if you have radiant heating. For a little guidance, log on to Carpet Cushion Council's residential guidelines.
2. You could make your home more energy efficient.
With all the talk about weatherizing homes and energy efficiency, it's surprising more hasn't been made of the benefits that come from carpet and cushion.
A carpet cushion's insulating properties vary depending on the kind of material. For example, the insulating properties of bonded polyurethane are twice that of textured flat rubber. The Carpet Cushion Council has a handy chart of R-values (a measure of thermal resistance) for common types of padding. This is excellent information to have if you're trying to warm up a finished basement floor or maximize the heat from you radiant floors.
3. You could be helping the environment.
Some people don't like the thought of expending any more resources than absolutely necessary. If that sounds like you, then there's a lot to love about carpet cushion. Much of the cushion used in the United States is recycled. You can find recycled or reclaimed padding that is polyurethane (foam), rubber, and fiber. If you are concerned about the off-gassing of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), the Environmental Protection Agency recommends looking for cushion with the CRI Green Label. Check out the Carpet and Rug Industry's Web site for more information about the Green Label.
Remember, just because it will be hidden underneath that beautiful new Berber doesn't mean carpet cushion is something you can afford to overlook.
About the Author
Michael Hilton was the original creator of Carpet Buyers Handbook. Having owned and operated a carpet wholesale company, Hilton has a vast knowledge about all-things carpet related as well as other types of flooring.