How To Buy A Carpet Pad
Carpet pads are one of the least understood aspects of buying carpet. They are also one of the most important. Carpet pads rest underneath the carpet. They not only act as a cushion making walking upon your carpet a more pleasant experience, they absorb much of the force of your foot falls.
Carpet pads greatly extend the life of your carpet by absorbing much of the blunt force the carpet receives from foot traffic. By softening your foot falls the carpet pad reduces noise transmission, lessens foot fatigue, and greatly extends the life of the carpet. This is not an area you should skimp on!
Installing the wrong carpet pad can lead to wrinkling of the carpet, induces buckling, and causes increased wear and tear on the carpet. Installing the wrong carpet pad will shorten your carpet's life considerably.
We generally recommend putting an 8 pound 3/8" pad underneath most berbers and an 8 pound 1/2" pad underneath most cut piles. This can vary based on the particular carpet you choose. Be sure to check the carpet manufacturer's recommendations before choosing a pad. Installing the wrong carpet pad can void your warranty! Ask your salesman when considering which pad to choose. Definitely upgrade to an 8 pound pad if given the choice. For the majority of carpets out there we don't recommend going over a 1/2" pad as it can cause more "flex" in the carpet which in turn can cause the backing to deteriorate prematurely. Stick with the padding that the carpet manufacturer recommends and you'll be fine.
One question I'm often asked is whether or not you should upgrade to a pad with a double moisture barrier. This is a question that's hard to answer. On one hand, having a carpet pad with a moisture barrier is fantastic if you have pets with bladder problems. It keeps the liquid up in the carpet where you can clean it rather than allowing it be absorbed into the pad itself where it's much more difficult to remove.
On the other hand, should you develop a crack in your sub floor it's
possible that moisture could get underneath the pad. If you've got
a moisture barrier on the pad, the moisture will be stuck underneath the
pad which could eventually lead to mold growing underneath your carpet.
Keep in mind that there are two school of thought on this, so the
verdict is out for now. Try to keep this in mind when the carpet
salesman is trying to talk you into an upgraded pad with a moisture