Q: How do I know what types of padding is needed under carpet?
I know carpeting needs underlayment, but what type of underlayment are required for carpeting?
Padding is more relative to matching to the type of carpet material than its preferred assumed value and, or comfort. Rebond padding is the most used underlay going, not only because of price, but also its diversity in thickness and density. A low-profile carpet must be matched up with a low-profile padding as thin as ¼” to match the height of the tackstrip, with straight surface-plane to the wall. A dense pad will cause the carpet to last longer, however high heels have been known to destroy the most professional specified installation. An over thick, soft pad can pop the carpet off the edges, and delaminate backing in main traffic areas quickly. Typical ½” tall plush carpet does well with a 7/16” 4-5# density underlay, and this type is most stocked by retailers. An 8# density (normally a special order) in a ½” rebond can not only survive another carpet-change or two, but also give most comfort to foot. Carpet glued down has the most benefit with wheelchair use, commercial applications, and areas that are prone to water intrusion. Other type underlay include rubber-waffle pad that are especially good in humid environments, providing more air-flow when walked on. Nylon fiber pad is great for normal commercial use. Clear foam paddings typically do not last as long. Caution should be taken when considering a “Pet-Pad” rebond with double-plastic scrim or film on both sides, causing condensation from below creating problems when used where normal moisture migration is present.
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