Why You Must Install Your Carpet with Carpet Pad

The thin line between you enjoying your carpet for a long time and it wearing out quickly could be a carpet pad.

A carpet pad is simply a cushion on which a carpet is laid. It is also called a carpet cushion. Often people budget for a carpet without considering a very important component of a carpet kit , that is a proper carpet pad. Just get this clear -if you install a carpet without a good pad , it will wear out and mat fast. Matting is the untwisting of the yarn and subsequent interweaving (tangling) of the yarn tips as a result of traffic.

Most often people settle for the standard carpet pad included in the price of the carpet. The problem with these standard carpet pads is that they are often of a low quality and won’t provide your carpet the necessary protection and give the users the maximum comfort.

There are a number of carpet pads to choose from the market. They vary in the material, treatment and finishes.
There are the fiber carpet pads, rubber carpet pads and foam carpet pads.

Fiber carpet pads come in three flavors: Natural fibers, synthetic/felt synthetic and recycled textile fiber.

Natural fibers include felt, horse hair and jute. These are highly susceptible to rottening if over-wet and develops odor fast. They shed, collect dust , mildew in damp areas such as concrete floors, and stretch out of shape. They can be uncomfortable to people with allergies.

Some felt carpet pads are now improved by coating with rubber and latex(rubberized and latexed carpet pads) so as to combat these disadvantages.

Synthetic fiber/synthetic felt pads are made with materials such as nylon , polyester, polypropylene and acrylic. They are needle-punched into relatively dense carpet pads which have firm feel.

The rubber carpet pads are of two varieties: the foam rubber and sponge rubber.

The foam rubber carpet pads are often glued to the back of kitchen carpets. They have covering on both sides. They are insect proof, mildew and moth proof, and non-allergenic.

Sponge rubber (flat and waffle) carpet pads are made from natural and/ or synthetic rubber and other chemicals. They are made into continuous sheets. They are sensitive to heat, have good resilience, damaged by dry cleaning solvents, and lose resilience with age. They are also moth, beetle, mildew proof and non-allergenic. The waffle pads hold moisture.

Foam carpet pads come in three types : Prime urethane, bonded(rebond) urethane and mechanical frothed urethane.

Prime urethane carpet pads come in three varieties :conventional prime, grafted prime and densified prime. Densified prime urethane is manufactured by changing the cell structure of prime urethane.
They are not affected by heat , non-inflammable , and not as resilient as rubber. They are not affected by dampness or insects , non-allergenic , and good for concrete slabs and basements.

Bonded (rebond) urethane: It is gotten by bonding together by pressure and gluing agents little pieces of prime urethane . It is normally associated with the problem of containing a preservative (BHT) used in many plastics and even bread .This preservative causes the yellowing of carpet fibers. Many cushion manufacturers have removed BHT from their products.

Mechanical frothed urethane: This is made with carpet backing machinery. The urethane foam is applied to non woven materials, forming a carpet pad with density and firmer feel.

Note : Carpet pads should not be too thick or too thin. If too thin then the carpet wears fast. If too thick the carpet becomes difficult to stretch and starts to ripple(buckle) over time.

You can easily test to feel the thickness. Just put layers of carpet pad under the carpet and feel its thickness. Thick carpet pads should be used in rooms with low traffic while thinner carpet pads should be used for high traffic rooms.

The quality of a carpet pad is determined by its density (weight of one cubic foot of carpet pad). Carpet pads are made virtually in different weights , to stand light , medium , and heavy traffic.

Inexpensive bonded urethane padding is sufficient for low-traffic areas while prime urethane is good for high traffic areas.
Laying a new layer of carpet pad over an old carpet pad causes the layer to be too thick and causes ripple.

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