Best Carpet Padding: A Simple Carpet Pad Buying Guide (2022)

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Best Carpet Padding: 2022 Carpet Pad Buying Guide (Types, Specs & More)

Choosing the best carpet padding for your home is important.

It’s that simple (I’ll explain more on why early this article).

That’s why I think this is one of the most important articles I’ve written on buying carpet. It’s everything I know, I’ve researched, and I’ve experienced with padding. 

Read this guide to make sure you don’t pay for features you don’t need. But more importantly, read it to make sure you don’t miss any features that could make your carpet a financial mistake.

You’ll learn how to choose carpet padding:

  • why padding is important (and why you can’t always trust the salesman)
  • why many people choose the wrong pad thickness
  • choosing the best pad density for your needs
  • types of carpet padding and pros and cons for each
  • best padding for special cases like cat urine and more
  • carpet pad costs
  • my final recommendation of the best carpet padding

Let’s start with why padding is important.

Why padding is SO important (the bridge analogy)

Best Carpet Padding, Pulled Back Carpet and Padding

Let’s compare carpet and padding to a bridge.

Both bridges and carpet have to hold up to traffic whether its cars or feet. So how do they do it? Let’s start with the bridge…

The asphalt is the “face” of the bridge. You drive directly on top of it. The asphalt has to be durable, or it will have holes and need to be repaved frequently.

But it doesn’t matter how great the asphalt is if there’s no support beneath it.

That’s where the bridge structure comes in. You can have the highest grade asphalt in the world, but it will crumble the first time a car drives over it if it doesn’t have the right foundation.

In the carpet world, the asphalt = carpet and the foundation/structure = padding.

In other words, the carpet needs the padding to hold up. Carpet consists of fiber woven into a backing. Without great pad beneath, the backing will break. If the backing breaks, the aging process of the carpet accelerates. The carpet gets wavy, and the fibers look worn.

Captain’s warning! You now know why padding is important, but did you know it’s so important that a “free padding” deal could void your warranty? Some carpet warranties outline specific requirements for the padding. If you have an uneducated or dishonest salesman, they may ignore these guidelines and give you the cheapest pad possible. Moral of the story? Check the warranty yourself. If the free pad doesn’t meet the requirements, bring it up to your retailer. You may get a free upgrade.

Pad thickness, aka pad height

We live in a “bigger is better” world.

But with padding, thicker pad isn’t always the best carpet padding. In fact, it might even be worse for your home. Thick padding may not be as durable, and anything over 8/16″ will cause installation problems.

The good news is most retailers know the padding thickness you need. It’s usually pretty simple because most carpets call for 7/16″ pad.

However, this isn’t always the case. Short-pile and Berber carpets often call for a thinner pad. The reason? Thicker pad can have too much “give” and damage these carpets.

The good news is there isn’t much incentive for a salesman to mislead you here. There’s not extra profit in giving the customer a thicker or thinner pad.

But just because the salesman isn’t trying to mislead you, doesn’t mean you won’t get ripped off. What if he’s new and hasn’t learned how important padding is yet? Or what if the store just doesn’t care or do a good job of training their salesman? His inexperience might end up being your loss in a big way. This is why it’s always important to do your homework, and it’s even more important if your carpet retailer doesn’t have a  great reputation.

Captain’s warning! Watch out for “fly by night” retailers and dishonest door to door salesman. They may try to unload whatever padding they have. In this case, there is an incentive for them to mislead you—they only have one type of padding and want to get rid of it. By the time you notice the damage, they’re nowhere to be found. Doing your homework is even more important when you aren’t dealing with a reputable retailer.

Pad density, aka pad weight

Pad density is the #2 factor in pad durability (#1 is the type of pad… more on that later).

Density is typically measured in pounds (per cubic foot) but sometimes you’ll see it listed as ounces (per square yard). Expect the pad density to be 3-10lbs for most common padding. The range for ounces isn’t as straightforward because you usually only see it listed with fiber or rubbers pads, and these have completely different durability properties. Don’t confuse yourself trying to convert ounces to pounds or vice versa. Pounds and ounces, in this case, are completely different measurements and can’t be compared directly (it’s not just a 1lb = 16 oz conversion).

Unless you don’t care at all about how long your carpet lasts (in which case you probably wouldn’t be reading this), you want to go with at least a 6.5lb pad.

If you’re planning on 10+ year carpet, I recommend going all out with 8+lb pad. It’s not much more money to get 8lb pad vs 6lbs, and it will hold up much better under your carpet.

Side note: the densities I just recommended are for standard rebond pad. Here is a full list of densities by pad type:

  • Foam pad: Density is typically 2-5lbs.
  • Frothed foam pad: Density should be 12+ lbs for durability.
  • Rebond pad: Density is 5-10lbs. Go for a minimum of 6lb if durability is important
  • Synthetic fiber pad: Usually rated in ounces but may be rated in pounds. Go for at least 30 oz and preferably 40 oz+ (or 7.5+lbs) if durability matters.
  • Waffle rubber pad: Go for a minimum of 64 ounces. 90 oz is preferred.
  • Slab rubber pad: Usually comes in 18-22lbs. I prefer 21lbs+ for durability or close to 100 ounces.

Source: carpetcushion.org

Some of these, especially fiber pad, may grade the durability “high,” “medium,” “low.” In this case, you would just have to trust that it is accurate. You could still ask for the density, but it may not be listed.

Captain’s secret tip! I’ll let you in on the biggest mistake carpet shoppers make when it comes to padding… they squeeze it. And they choose the softest. This leads to thick, low-density foam padding. Exactly what you don’t want. If you insist on squeezing the padding, just know the firmer the better.

Types of carpet padding

What type of carpet padding should you choose?

In most cases, rebond (see why below). But in other cases, you may overpay if you buy rebond. Or worse, buying rebond could void your warranty.

So what about foam padding, fiber padding, or rubber carpet padding? These might work. It depends on your situation, so below I give you the pros and cons of each carpet pads to figure out which will work best in your home.

Pros and cons of prime foam pad

Other names: prime urethane, foam pad

Are you getting free padding with your carpet? This is probably what you’re getting, and you should probably take a hard pass on it. Foam pad doesn’t hold up. And when you go back to our bridge analogy, that means your carpet doesn’t hold up. There are only a couple of situations where foam pad is acceptable for your house: rooms you don’t use and areas where you don’t need the carpet to last more than 4 years.

Captain’s warning! What’s the price of free? Any time the carpet store is giving something “free,” you better figure out why. Sometimes they just charge more for everything else. More dangerous, sometimes the “free” product or service is low quality. This can come back to haunt you. The best example is foam pad above, but it’s an important reminder: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Pros and cons of frothed foam pad

Other names: frothed urethane

Don’t confuse frothed foam with a standard foam pad. Not only are they different, but they’re actually at opposite ends of the padding spectrum. The difference is prime foam/standard foam has gas mixed in with the foam when it’s manufactured. Frothed foam does not.

This makes frothed foam extremely durable. It’s one of the few pads that may last through two carpet installations. In other words, you won’t need to replace the pad when you buy new carpet. So if frothed pad is so durable, what’s the trade-off? You guessed it… the price tag. As far as I’ve seen, frothed foam is rarely worth the cost. But since it is so durable, if you find a great deal, you should consider it.

Pros and cons of rebond pad

Other names: bonded urethane, bonded polyurethane

Rebond is the sweet spot for most homeowners. It’s one of the cheapest pads, but durable enough to hold up for many years (this assumes it is the correct density for your foot traffic).

So why would you not want rebond?

The most important reason is if your carpet warranty calls for something else. This is often true with loop carpets, so be especially careful there. You also might want to consider something more durable if you have excessively high foot traffic, which is usually limited to commercial buildings. And if you can snag a frothed foam or slab rubber pad for a similar price to rebond (unlikely), you might as well take one of those because they will be more durable.

Pros and cons of memory foam pad

Memory foam is made of frothed foam with viscoelastic gel infused. If you read my opinion on frothed foam, you know my opinion on it: it’s a great pad material. The viscoelastic part is where memory foam gets difficult to judge.

Here’s why:

Have you ever stepped on a memory foam mat? Laid on memory foam bed? Then you know how comfortable it is. Memory foam padding is no different. But this goes back to the bridge analogy (I’m getting more use out of this analogy than I thought). Memory foam squishes. Over time if the structure under the carpet is squishing, the carpet will get damaged.

That said, there are varying types of memory foam. Some more firm, and some like a squishy pillow. That makes it difficult for me to give a straightforward opinion on memory foam carpet pad. However, I will say this:

I don’t think memory foam will perform better than a high-quality rebond pad. But it will likely be more comfortable, so if you’re going all-in on comfort, it’s still a pad to consider.

(hopefully, as more and more people try memory foam, I’ll be able to give a more definite opinion on performance–at least with certain brands)

Brand explosion in memory foam pad: Carpet padding has always been an afterthought. With memory foam, you’re starting to see carpet manufacturers part with brand names like Tempurpedic and Nike. The verdict on many of these is still out. My opinion and prediction is that the brand names are more for marketing purposes, but they will perform similar to other high-quality foam pads. Time will tell. In the future, I may try to do in-depth brand specific reviews.

Feel free to let me know if you have any questions in the meantime.

Pros and cons of fiber pad

Other names: synthetic felt, felt pad, jute

I consider fiber pad one of the specialty carpet pads. It’s a flat dense pad that’s not very spongy. This makes it a great support for Berber, and other carpets that call for fiber pads in their warranty. Fiber pads come in synthetic and natural varieties. Most are synthetic now, and you should go with synthetic in most cases.

Natural fibers such as felt and jute tend to mold easily. For both the synthetic and natural fiber pads, I’d let your warranty make the decision if it’s right for you or not. If your carpet warranty calls for it, then you obviously need to go with it. If it doesn’t call for it, I don’t see an advantage in fiber pad.

Pros and cons of waffle rubber pad

A good quality waffle rubber pad is similar in durability to rebond but costs more. This padding literally looks like a waffle (yum… waffles), and the pockets (that I like to fill up with syrup in my waffle) make this not as durable as slab rubber.

Since there are carpet pads that perform similarly at a lower cost, I don’t recommend you buy waffle rubber with your carpet. With that said, if you find an amazing deal (going out of business sale, installer trying to dump excess, etc), have some lying around, or know someone that wants to get rid of it, it does make perfectly capable carpet padding.

Pros and cons of flat rubber pad

Other names: slab rubber padding

This is the premium carpet padding (although frothed foam can make a case for itself). You can pull up carpet 10 years after its installed and the rubber pad will look the same in high traffic areas as it did new. In your home, I’d expect this padding to last through two sets of carpet or more. Flat rubber is expensive, so consider it a luxury for most homeowners.

And what’s the point of a luxury you can’t show off?

You might find this highly durable padding worth it if you want to live in your house 20 years or more (you won’t need to replace the pad with new carpet), you have very high traffic areas, or you just want to guarantee your giving your carpet the best shot at lasting as long as possible.

Other carpet padding frequently asked questions

Sometimes the canned answers don’t work. I’ve taken the most common emails I get regarding specific questions on carpet padding and answered them here.

What is the best padding for basement moisture?

Your choices are basically standard padding or moisture barrier padding. But will moisture barrier fix your problem? This deserves a whole page, and we’ve got exactly that. Read more about moisture barrier padding for basements.

What is the best carpet padding for pets? (pet urine resistant)

There’s a lot of bold marketing statements out there for carpet padding for pets. Eliminates pet odor. Makes cat pee easy to clean. Won’t let your dog damage your floor. But at the end of the day, do any of these claims hold up?

There are a few options for padding if you have a pet urine problem. The biggest is using moisture barrier padding for pet urine. But this doesn’t always work and can sometimes make things worse. I have a page on waterproof carpet pads that will help you make an educated opinion on if moisture barrier pads make sense for your home.

Can I reuse carpet padding?

Probably not a good idea. But there are a few cases where it makes sense and saves you money. One is if you have slab rubber or frothed foam pad. Frothed foam is newer and unlikely you’ll be able to tell the difference in it and normal foam, so let’s skip this one. If you have slab rubber (not to be confused with waffle rubber… see above if you don’t know the difference), it most likely can be reused. You also have a chance of reusing a good quality rebond pad if it’s in a low-traffic area. Make sure it looks in good shape, and more importantly make sure your installer thinks it looks in good shape.

What is the cost of carpet padding?

Like carpet, it varies. I use $0.50 sq/ft as an estimate. But to find out more on how much you should pay for your specific padding features, check out our carpet and padding pricing page.

Captain’s money-saving tip! Most retailers will charge you for the same amount of padding is carpet. But since padding doesn’t have to be matched (it can be cut into pieces to get it to fit), you generally need about 15% less square feet! This means you should be able to ask for 15% off the final padding bill. The retailer may hesitate at this because it is the industry standard to charge you for more, but bring it up will at the very least 1. show them you know what you’re talking about and 2. set the stage for negotiations on other parts of your purchase.

What is the best padding for Berber carpet?

Berber and other looped carpets may require a specific type of pad other than rebond or foam. This is because it sometimes needs a firmer thinner pad to support it. The answer is usually a fiber pad or slab rubber. The important thing is you need to check your warranty. The last thing you want to do is void your warranty because you didn’t buy the right pad!

What is the best padding for floors with radiant heat?

One advantage of carpet and padding is they insulate your home. This is a problem if you have radiant heat. (Don’t know what radiant heat is? Then you don’t have it.) The best pads are typically a thin waffle rubber pad or a synthetic fiber pad. Both of these are thinner and will allow more heat to pass. As always, consult your radiant heat system company to be sure what you get is appropriate for your system.

A note on padding for area rugs

Update: I created a page dedicated to padding for area rugs, you can check out by clicking here.

If you’re installing carpet, you can skip this section. But if you’re wanting padding just for a rug in your home, read on.

Rugs require different padding than carpet. Too thick and soft of padding like you might find with rebond, could lead to sharper objects like high-heels, piercing straight through a thinner rug.

Generally, with rugs, you want a felt pad, a rubber pad, or a mix of felt and rubber.  Just like in carpet, if you love your rug, support it by not cheaping out on the pad. Firmer pad is usually required to give rugs support. An even surface is critical for rugs–this means no waffle padding, and if you’re laying the rug on an uneven surface like carpet, you need even firmer padding.

If your rug will be on a hard surface, you have to worry about the rug slipping. Rubber usually avoids this. If you have a big rug–particularly one that is partially under furniture like a table–you don’t have to worry about it slipping. In these cases, plain felt pad will likely work.

Amazon can actually be a pretty good resource for area rug padding. They let you filter by size, and you can see what other owners think of them, and what rugs they’ve had success with click here to check them out.

(note: I receive a small commission if you buy through Amazon, but this doesn’t affect the price you pay)

Also, if it’s an expensive rug, check out the manufacturer’s recommendations. Same with the flooring beneath–certain pads can damage the flooring you lay it on, so make sure the manufacturer doesn’t forbid certain rugs.

One last note: many cheaper pads are made of PVC. If you care about the flooring beneath, you may consider a different type of pad. PVC can stain the flooring beneath the rug.

Captain’s next steps:

Who knew there was so much to consider when choosing the best carpet pad for your home?

The good news is it’s a decision that will pay off for years. Choosing the right type of carpet pad and specs will make your carpet look good for years longer than a sub-par pad.

So which pad should you choose?

For many people, the best carpet pad is a 7/16″, 8-pound rebond pad. It’s a great mix of performance with a value price tag, but there are definitely exceptions. Maybe you can save money buying pad that is lower quality, or maybe you’d enjoy the comfort of a high-quality memory foam pad.

And always remember to check your warranty, some carpets (especially carpet like Berber) may require a specific type of pad such a thinner, dense fiber pad.

Now that you confidently know how to choose the best type of carpet pad, here’s what I’d consider doing next:

  1. If you want step-by-step tips on buying carpet, check out our unbiased carpet buying guide. It’s been used by 100’s of thousands of shoppers to get an edge on buying their new flooring.
  2. If you are ready to buy carpet but want advice on finding a pre-qualified installer, just click here to enter your zip code and information on your project.

Any questions on carpet padding? Let me know in the comments below.

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372 thoughts on “Best Carpet Padding: A Simple Carpet Pad Buying Guide (2022)”

  1. Thanks for the great information. I am in the process of carpeting my stairs. I stopped by Lowes – our local store now carries only Stainmaster carpet. The recommended pad is 8 lb Rebond Memory Foam. I thought rebond and memory foam were two totally different pads. They don’t offer a standard 8 pound rebond (or so I was told). Do you have any thoughts about whether I should take a chance on the rebond memory foam?

  2. We are purchasing some Shaw Nylon Carpet (Home Depot) with a face weight of 32.7 and are deciding between 5/16th 8lb Rebond or the Temperpedic (Future Foam) 7/16th 8lb (Made with premium fine grind prime urethane and Tempur material). We don’t want the NIKE considering the bad reviews and there are also mixed reviews with the Temperpedic (Many of the 5 stars were given the product for free).

    Unfortunately, we don’t have the option of 7/16th 8lb Rebond. I even called Shaw carpeting and the rep really wasn’t much help, she just said not to go over 7/16th or 8lbs.

  3. Great article! Thx for poposting.

    Guest room
    Carpet
    Face weight 42 oz.sq yard
    Pile Height 0.781″
    Texture tufted

    available padding
    Rebond 6 lb 7/16 “
    Or
    Rebond 8 lb 5/16″
    Same price
    Also, due to current conditions, I’m self installibg, have prior experience, and the proper tools, but it’ been years since I did this.. Military family, our carpets with waffle padding, traveled the world, and were “loose layed” under furniture.
    So I don’t get this stretching thing. Seems like doing sides a, b, c, d sequentially will stretch the carpet diagonally out of shape?
    The one I took out of the room is definitely skewed.Doesnt this weaken the jute back? Wouldn’t it be better to do corners, then middles, etc, going around and around the room?
    Can you recomend a tutorial on stretching?
    Thanks for reading

  4. Hi, how do you rate Nike Grind carpet padding? I am looking at Lifeproof carpet and Nike StepAhead carpet padding. Low VOC is important to me, they claim it is low. Thanks

    1. I don’t have the NIKE, but I read reviews that said it has hard pieces that hurt feet. And it snaps and pops annoyingly all the time. I think they were on Hime Deoit or Lowes.

  5. Hello,

    I have a 2 flat where I live on the first floor. Upstairs is all hardwood floors, but I want to put carpet in the bedrooms on the second floor to absorb some of the noise. Would your standard recommendation be best or should I consider something else?

  6. Great article Carpet Captain! We are getting Dixie Home “Attributes” carpet installed for our upstairs (4 bedrooms, hallway and stairs). We have an active toddler and one on the way. Would you recommend a 7/16 8lb rebond pad or a frothed foam stainmaster pad? I believe it’s the stainmaster foam carpet padding with moisture barrier. It is blue in color with the white plastic like stainmaster barrier. They are the same price.

    Thanks!

  7. Wondering how the carpet with attached padding holds up? Is it as soft as regular carpet with padding?

    1. Carpet Captain

      Hi,

      Attached underlayment doesn’t hold up as well. It has worse compression resistance and doesn’t absorb sound as well. I recommend getting standalone padding.

  8. I’m looking to replace carpeting throughout my house. I’ve about decided to use Lowe’s Invista Stainmaster Signature carpeting – density 3456, nylon 6,6, 25 yr ltd warranty, face weight 66, pile height 0.6875, with twist level 5.75. My question is about padding. The Stainmaster warranty pamphlet states you can extend the 25 yr warranty to 28 if you “install qualifying carpet cushion with a breathable moisture barrier.” Does this sound normal? I don’t see anything about this in your website so was curious your thoughts on it and your recommendation.

    1. Hi,

      Carpet manufacturers do stuff like that with their warranties all the time. My honest opinion is, this is more of a sales tactic than consumer protection. Warranties in general have a lot of fine print, and most customers end up voiding them. Some warranties end up outlasting the carpet itself, anyway.

      I would not put a lot of stock into carpet warranties. I do, in fact, have an article that goes over carpet warranties if you want to have a look.

      Good luck!

  9. We’re replacing the carpet upstairs in our 3 bedroom home including the hallway & staircase leading up. Salesman is recommending a 11mm/8lb density memory foam ($1.25/sq ft) but per your article I’m concerned about the density holding up. They have another 10mm/7lb Rebond product which is $1/sq ft. We have 3 young children & expect to be on the floor quite a bit so comfort is important but also we want it to last. Which would you recommend. We’re looking at a fairly high quality nylon carpet if that matters.

    1. Hi

      If you have children, you have more wear and tear on your carpet, so durability is very important. I would recommend going with the Rebond product. Not only is it more durable, it is also 25 cents cheaper per square foot according to what you said. Those cents add up!

      How soft is the memory foam? If it’s a firm variant, it might still be an option to consider if comfort is very important to you.

      Good luck!

  10. My daughter is moving into an apartment and will be buying an 8 x 10 area rug for her living room. The rug she selected is on the thin side and so we’d like to purchase a carpet pad that would help extend the life of the rug, as well as act as a better sound barrier for her downstairs neighbors. What type of pad would you recommend. Thank you!

    1. Carpet Captain

      Hi

      For an 8×10 area rug, the size pad you get should be 7’10″x9’10”. I recommend tracking down a good felt + rubber pad. This hybrid padding variant provides the slip resistance of rubber, along with the comfort and protection of felt.

      This is what I’ve recommended to most homeowners, but if you want more information, have a look at my complete Rug Pad Guide.

      Good luck!

  11. Dorothy Gommel

    Do you recommend using an area rug over carpet, and if so, what type is best? (i.e. thickness, weight). We will be getting new carpet but like the idea of using a decorative rug in the middle of the room.

    1. Hi,

      A rug adds extra carpet to an already-carpeted surface, creating more instability. However, a rug can help reduce wear and tear on a certain area of carpet. So it’s important to take into account what kind of carpet you have before selecting the rug.

      A thick area rug will work best on looped or short-pile carpet, while a low-profile woven or Berber rug will be preferable for softer/long-pile carpet.

      Hope this helps!

  12. I am in the market for getting new carpet and was told by Lowes they have memory foam padding with a 30 year warranty. Not sure if I want memory foam since I had a bath mat of memory foam and did not like they way it wore down. Is the padding for carpet the same? what padding would you recommend to have my carpet last.

    1. Carpet Captain

      Hi,

      Memory foam padding is definitely not the best idea if you’re looking for longevity. The squishiness causes the carpet to contract more, making it wear out faster. A sturdy rebond padding is a good budget friendly option for durability.

      Thanks for reading!

  13. There is a product at Home Depot called DMX 1-Step Carpet Pad that raises the pad off the concrete basement floor via dimples and allows for airflow between the concrete and pad. It has a thin closed cell foam padding on top of the dimples for some softness. They say you don’t need a pad on top of this. What are your thoughts for a basement?

    1. Carpet Captain

      Hi, you don’t need an extra pad, and you shouldn’t add one. An extra pad would add too much material between the 1-step and the carpet, causing the carpet to wrinkle and wear out faster. Since the one-step is designed to be waterproof, an extra pad would prevent the former from doing its job.

    1. Carpet Captain

      Hi, I recommend 10lb padding because it’s denser than foam padding, which tends to be 2 to 5lb. The denser the better! I say this for durability and longevity purposes. If you want your carpet to last, don’t be fooled by softer padding.

  14. I’m buying carpet from HD (Home Depot) and the sales guy reccomended prime foam for my basement since I stated to him my basement is concrete. Im looking for durability and life of my carpet not short term. What I dislike is foam tends to compress and will degrade over time. Home Depot offer the Tempur Pedic padding as well. Any recommendations on the RIGHT choice for padding.

    1. Please save yourself the aggravation do not purchase Prime Comfort pad from Home Depot . It’s not even two years old and is already broken down. I cannot believe they are still selling it.

    2. Carpet Captain

      Going off what Eva said in response, it seems that Prime Comfort isn’t the best. Comfort and durability can be a major tradeoff. Plus, there’s the fact that softer padding causes your carpet to have more give, making it wear out faster. We think a sturdy rebond padding will do the trick.

  15. in the last few weeks, we have heard slight crunching sounds when walking on some areas of our carpeted upstairs. it reminds me of crumpling up a plastic bag! however, all the carpeting and padding was replaced 4 years ago by a professional installer from a flooring company. is there something wrong with the padding?

    1. Hi, was the carpet wet cleaned recently? Detergent solution that is left over can be soaked in and cause the carpet padding to start breaking down.

  16. I am looking for some comparison between Health Choice green carpet pad, Mohawk Smart Cushion & Shaw Premium & Preferred cushion and can’t really find good reviews of them. We have dogs & have will have different problems as they age. Which of these would you recommend? Oh & the carpet & pad will be going upstairs on our 2nd floor. Thanks!

  17. I have two questions: Our home is single story and built on a slab with no wooden subfloor. We are considering a 100% BCF triexta carpet. What are your recommendations for a rug pad? Our current builder grade carpet has primarily shown wear/matting in heavily trafficked areas, like room entries, beginning about 5 years. Is there any difference between carpet “durability” and anti-crush, or anti matting?

  18. I would like to install 22lb rubber pad over a standard 8lb carpet pad at home depot because of noise reduction between a upper and lower unit rental. But I want to know if it will hold up for multiple carpet installations? I will be using standard cheap carpet that I may need to change the carpet yearly but would like to really nail/glue the pad down well and not change the pad at all only the carpet. I’m not worried about warranties. Can this be done? How?

    1. It could definitely be done. The rubber pad (and even the 8lb) would definitely outlive a short carpet. As you said, the warranty would be the main issue. I don’t think you’d need to nail or glue it down, but an installer’s opinion would be better on that part.

  19. My baseboard installer set the baseboards and door casings too tall. I have a wool felt pad, currently under my carpet in good condition. Can I add a memory foam pad on top and then the new carpet? Wanting to build up the height. The carpet I chose is a low berber.

    1. That might be too much cushion. Too much give can damage the carpet backing over time. Many Berber’s call for a thin, firm pad.

  20. I am installing a hardwood floor upstairs which adds 3/4 of an inch to the top stair. Can I make up that difference with a 7/16 pad and a thick carpet? When you compress (step on) a 7/16 pad and a thick carpet how thick is it?

    1. Not understanding the question. If you are matching the hardwood then transition then carpet then nose of the step as I believe, you need to run your hardwood to a stairnose transition. The carpet is cut and stapled (finished) under the stairnose. This will give you the most professionally finished look.

  21. I am looking at the pads that Lowes sells and they don’t list the lbs. They are advertised by thickness. What should I be looking for here and is this something I want to consider.

    1. Stainmaster select (purpleish) rebond. 8lbs with excellent wear. Do not get the 6 lb green/blue with just a black matting on top unless it is a rental and you are going to change it out in a year or 2. Avoid the “ELITE” foam unless you live alone or will have no guests in your home. It looks nice, is soft but will break down rather quickly. Best for rental or guest rooms.

  22. I purchased Collinger II 1003-286-501 from Home Depot. I have a split entry, so this is a high traffic area. The salesperson recommended the Nike Step Ahead Pad, 0000-963-412, because it would be better than the more expensive Future Foam Tempur pad. Since the Nike is less squishy. Without my consent, the carpet installers installed the Tempur pad because they wanted to give me an upgrade. Should I just stick with the “upgrade,” or ask for a redo?

    1. Tough decision… on one hand, nice of them to upgrade. on the other hand, they should have asked first. I’d imagine the two pads will perform similarly. I think the tempur pad may have a moisture barrier? If so, I’d read up on the moisture barrier page to see if that’s what you want.

  23. You said you can save money by not changing your pad when it’s in good shape. While this sounds logical you fail to mention that regardless of the condition the pad is in you will loose your carpet warranty if you don’t install new pad.

    1. I very rarely recommend re-using pad–only in specific cases (a good slab rubber may be an exception). Point you make is valid, but I advise people not to base decisions on warranties. The percentage of successful carpet warranty claims is extremely low (meaning both people don’t go through the hassle and/or when they do the manufacturer finds a way out of it).

  24. I am looking to carpet a room that was an addition onto the house and build directly on a concrete slab. What pad type would you recommend? (Was unable to attach picture of what is here now)

    1. I’d consider a synthetic fiber pad. It’s more tolerant of moisture than some pads. You might check out my article on the best carpets for basements. Either way, I’d have the slab moisture tested just to make sure there’s not a major issue–moisture can be a problem for all types of flooring.

  25. What do you know about mass loaded vinyl (MSV) or msv and foam as sound barrier underlayment? We are looking for sound absorption for second floor carpet install and no local companies have been able to provide any help.

    1. No, rebond is what I consider the most basic (but many times perfectly good pad). It doesn’t have a moisture barrier.

  26. Is there a benefit to going over 8lbs on a rebond pad? Is there any better longevity and or comfort? If so, would you say it’s worth the monetary increase?

    1. 10lb will be a little more durable but it depends how much traffic you have and how much extra it costs (also I’d only go with 10lb with nylon carpet)

  27. monica freeman

    Hello!! This website has been so helpful. I have a question?? I am looking at 43.9 oz face weight, 2,982 density and 6.70 twist level 100% anso bcf nylon carpet. Which pad would you recommend?? The charity memory foam pad or 8 lb 7/16 rebond pad?? This is for my 3 bedrooms one hallway and closets. Durability is what’s most important!! We are a family of 4, My husband, myself and two boys aged 15 and 10.

    1. Carpet Captain

      Rebond is straightforward. Memory foam varies–and I’m not familiar with this specific brand. I think the safe pick is the rebond (and probably cheaper). I’m hesitant to recommend memory foam unless it’s a product I’m very familiar with.

  28. Hi, What would be your choice for a first floor (full basement underneath) concrete slab with embedded radiant heat, with a Berber carpet? Thanks.

    1. Carpet Captain

      Any pad will insulate the heat somewhat. Rubber works well with radiant heat, but you might go with a synthetic fiber pad–it’s thin and generally does well with Berber. I’d check the specs on your radiant heat system.

  29. Dear Carpet Captain,
    I am just about to buy a Stanton plush carpet (Atelier Marquee Jazzy) for my bedroom. It is 100% nylon. I use a medical stool to get around because of the bilateral knee problem. That means four wheels go will across the carpet repeatedly. What kind of padding should I consider? I read your article and it looks like firm frothed foam or rubber or possibly 7/16th 8 pound rebond padding. What kind of padding would you recommend?
    Thanks for your expertise and availability.

  30. I am installing new carpet & pad in my bedroom that is above the mechanical room. Noise is not bad, but is there a best carpet & pad to deter noise from below? If more noise can be eliminated with a certain carpet and pad type I would like to consider those options. Thank you

  31. Is Shaw courage pad really “ guaranteed for life of home”?
    Will it hold up and not flatten out over time.
    It feels amazing and have been told because it is high density it WILL last very well
    It will be in our bedrooms.
    We are 2 retired folks and have guests occasionally

  32. What combination of carpet and padding (or other flooring) do you recommend to provide “fall” protection for an elderly person?

    1. Carpet Captain

      For the carpet, you have a debate: higher pile height would be a little softer to fall on, but it’s might be more of a tripping factor. I’d probably go somewhere in between (not too low, not too high). Higher face weight would be better because there’s more carpet to pad the fall. Same with the padding–I think higher weight is helpful, but avoid rubber pad. Consider a dense, high-quality foam pad in this case.

  33. Thank you for compiling all of this information! I am installing carpet in a basement over a concrete foundation. The installer has recommended a high density solid rubber underlay. In your article it mentions that rubber is typically a luxury…what would you recommend in a basement? The carpet is going in a guest room with very little traffic.

  34. I would like to put padding down on outdoor porch (covered) 8×10 rug. The floor is wood planking. Some boards are slightly in level which the carpet picks up. Would foam or felt padding help the rug from taking on those unlevel spots?

    1. Carpet Captain

      Probably foam because it’s thicker and has a little more give. It may be worth having your installer inspect first, though.

  35. Hi, great information. This is probably a dumb question, but I am getting my carpet replaced with hardwood floors and am removing the carpet and pad myself to save some money. Can I reuse the 8lb rebond carpet pad from my rarely used guest bedroom as a pad to go under an area rug in my living room? Will this rebond pad damage my new hardwood? I’m not worried about slipping as there will be plenty of furniture on top of the rug. Thanks.

    1. There are many people who have laid carpet over old hardwood, and when they pull it up, the hardwood is fine. I don’t think it would be an issue. Rebond will squish down a little more and not give as much support as a felt rug pad. I think it’s definitely an option, but I’d consider going with a felt only pad which doesn’t have to be too expensive. I have a guide on best rug padding for hardwood floors

  36. Terrific site. New rugs in my experience have an bad smell for a long time, weeks, what type of fiber would be best to choose if you are sensitive to orders?

    1. I’d look less at the fiber and more at the adhesives used in the backing, the coatings, and the padding. I have a long article on new carpet smell and VOCs. It’ll give labels to look for and other ways to reduce exposure.

  37. Great website – thank you for the education. We are waaaaay overdue for new carpeting on our staircase, upstairs hall and all bedrooms. Our house is 40 years old and the sub floor upstairs has many “creaks”. Do you recommend we hire someone to fix/replace/nail sub floor prior to a new carpet install, or do most carpet installers perform this? Thanks.

    1. Carpet Captain

      Glad you enjoyed it. I think you could go either way, but there are definitely carpet installers who wouldn’t do that. If you have an experienced flooring installer, they likely won’t have a problem with it.

  38. Jennifer Wieghat

    I have a very rough cement floor in an old cabin. The cement was not smoothed out before it dried. I have 2ft x 2ft carpet squares to put down. Putting floor leveler is not really an option. This is a house that is visited only once a month for a weekend. I would like to put some type of padding down to help with the rough floor. What do you recommend? The house does not maintain climate control when we are not there. Thank you for any suggestions.

    1. Carpet Captain

      I’d just go with a standard rebond. It’s cheap and will do the job. If you have a moisture issue in the cabin, you might consider a synthetic felt that is less prone to mildew.

  39. My wife has been making latch rugs.now she wants to place them on the floor to make a wall to wall ,what would you suggest for a pad ?

  40. I just purchased a wool carpet to be installed in my bedroom and closet. It has a jute polyester backing. It was a substantial investment and I was wondering whats the best pad to use.

    1. Check if your floor calls for a specific pad because it might. Otherwise, I think this guide applies–you can go with any but may match well with a denser fiber pad.

    1. Carpet Captain

      It depends on the situation (is there moisture, climate temperature, etc), but I would consider a synthetic fiber pad. Less chance of mildew, but it may not have quite the insulation of rebond or others.

  41. I live on a top floor with a 1 year old, that likes to play on the area rug. what type padding should I get so the neighbors underneath complain?

    1. That’s a little steep, but the 8lb is 33% denser and it will likely make a difference in how long your carpet lasts. If you paid for a durable carpet outside of the pad, I’d go 8lbs. If you’re not sure if you need/want your carpet to last over 7 years and went with a more affordable carpet, I’d go with the 6lb.

      1. Thank you! The carpet is dream weaver outspokenI’ll see what I can negotiate. This page is fantastic. Your humor is great as well! Reflections 2 safeview PET carpet smart strand?

  42. I need a padding to keep a room over the garage as warm as possible. I read Urethane has the highest R rating, but there seem to be many different variety of Urethane-type products, so it’s all a bit confusing. Any suggestions or advice?

    1. I think any of the urethane pads will work for temperature insulation: rebond, foam, etc. Rebond is the most common, relatively inexpensive, and should work well.

  43. Perhaps there are new standards for VOCs in place these days (if the push towards deregulation haven’t gutted them by now), but 20 years ago, when we replaced carpet in the house wee bought, we were shocked at how stinky rebond pads were, every where we went. We saw rebond padding samples in stores that were so yellowed that it was obvious they were very old. And they still stunk like a chemical factory. We finally found a silvery product made of virgin vinyl that I thought wasn’t risky health wise. (I’m a toxicologist.)

    1. You might be interested on my page on the new carpet smell and VOCs, and I’d be interested in your opinion as a toxicologist. There are really no standards (that I’m aware of) when it comes to VOCs and flooring. Fortunately, “the market” demand for less indoor air pollution has made manufacturers switch to the changing tastes of floor shoppers. That’s why you’ll see some of the certifications of low VOCs in floors like carpet.

  44. I bought fairly high grade carpet a few years ago but I suspect I did not get a good pad because of the inconsistency and quickness of what appears to be wear in the traffic areas. Is it possible to replace carpet pad and not the carpet?

    1. Yeah, you can replace the pad only. You’re right that could be the cause, but before you go through the expense of new pad and installation, I’d make sure it’s not issues with the carpet. Is it nylon? If not (or even if it is), it could be matting from lack of durability.

  45. Can you please tell me is prime urethane the same as prime polyethylene? It’s the HQ Living PXL and has 3lbs high density foam and Home Depot is marketing it as the best underpad for carpet with acoustic and moisture barrier properties.

  46. We have received several quotes for carpet. The last guy recommends going with a 1/2” 6 pound rebound rather than an 8 pound. He says the 8 will be “too hard”. Carpet is Dreamweaver 60 oz going on concrete slab.

    This company has great reviews, but I question if we will regret going with a 6 pound pad.

    1. It’s possible if you have dense thin padding, but I wouldn’t. Carpet padding has too much give that makes the installation unstable.

  47. Hi Jim, thanks for the thorough explanation! I had a question regarding rug pads… I notice that you explain felt and/or rubber for rug pads, but is there any harm (to the underlying LVT floor in my case) to purchase a recycled foam pad (usually used for carpet) and cut it to size to use under my area rug? The rug is 8×10, so it’ll have a couch and chair legs on it, so I’m not worrying about sliding, but I still want to protect the underlying floor, add comfort, and keep cost low. Thanks for your thoughts!

    1. Not sure the “Jim” part 🙂 but have you checked out the rug pad page? Luxury vinyl is tricky. I’d read the manufacturer’s guide because different luxury vinyl interacts poorly with certain materials, meaning they can stain etc. I don’t see rebond being an issue but still a good idea to check.

  48. Esther Lindgren

    I am looking at Stainmaster carpet at Lowes and wonder how the stainmaster pad they use conpared with a rebond.

    1. I believe Lowe’s has many different variations of Stainmaster pad, so I would need more details on the specific type

  49. Hello Captain Carpet, sir! I am getting a beautiful, top of the line wool Berber carpet. It is a remnant, so I do not think I get a warranty, though I am dealing with a local company, and their customer service is great. That’s the only reason I am not worried so much about no warranty, because they will want a satisfied customer. Anyway. I read the section on padding, and I surmised I need to get synthetic felt, 3/8″, 8# density. However, the salesperson quoted me on rebond, that has the same depth and density. Is this acceptable for this glorious carpet? Should I try to find slab rubber, even though they might not carry it? I want this carpet to last a long, long time, and I am willing to do what it takes to make sure it does.

    1. Glad you found such an awesome carpet! I would take the synthetic felt over the rebond, but an 8lb rebond definitely isn’t a bad pad.

      1. Thank you for replying – I appreciate your advice. I have since discovered the pad they are offering is what the salesperson described as “memory foam,” KARASTAN RESERVE1.0 KARASTEP 1.0 RESERVE WHITE 3/8″ 8LB. I am not sure if they offer synthetic felt as an option. I want this carpet to outlive me, so I want to get it right. Thank you again. Your site has been SO helpful!

  50. Hi Jim, So glad I found your site!

    What pad thickness and density would you recommend for carpet installation on stairs? We are installing Fabrica Captiva (it’s dense with a stiff backing) as a runner, Hollywood style. I want it to lay as flat as possible so I’m thinking a 1/4″ would be better than 7/16″.

    Although not pad related 🙂 I’m getting conflicting advise on pile direction. Should the pile direction run down the stairs or up? Note: We are only carpeting the landing and the stairs and have no other carpet in our home.

    Thanks for your advise!

    1. You can most likely use the pad you use for the whole house, but generally, I like dense and maybe a little thinner pad (fiber pad can be great but rebond works). Pile direction on stairs is an ongoing debate. Different installers do it different ways. I tend to like pile going down the stairs, but I actually think it running up is more common. Your installer is most likely more comfortable installing one way, which means the carpet will get a better stretch, so I’d go with that, but you could also ask their opinion–maybe they do both ways.

    1. Yeah, I think thick memory foam is the most comfortable to lay on. Just make sure it’s not too thick for your carpet/installation (the installer should be able to tell you or you can find it in the carpet warranty or spec sheet).

    1. I’d check the manufacturer’s recommendations because some wools require a specific pad to maintain the warranty (and usually wool’s expensive)!. If no concerns there, I’d consider a fiber pad for good support, particularly if it’s Berber.

    1. You have a few options.. partially depending on the carpet, but 8lb is pretty durable as far as rebond goes. Some people like thinner on stairs like a dense fiber pad.

  51. Do you have any recommendations on what pad would work best for a basement concrete floor? We had a water proof pad under our carpet, but discovered that it had heavy condensation under it within two years. Guessing it was not letting the concrete breathe. Tearing it out before mold is an issue. Thankfully the carpet is still good.

    Thanks in advance for any advise!

    1. Yeah, that’s one of the drawbacks of moisture barriers–I talk about that some on my moisture barrier page. You could consider a synthetic (less likely to mold) fiber pad. Or go with a cheaper rebond–it breathes and is cheap enough it an be replaced relatively cheaply.

  52. Is there an industry standard tolerance when it comes to ordering a specific thickness of a carpet pad (Cushion Council says +/- 5%)? I don’t want to pay for a 1/2″ and then when they come and install it and it is measured it be 7/16″ – it may be nominal, but then why pay more. Please advise.

    1. I haven’t heard of one, but cushion council is probably right. At the end of the day, I don’t think you’ll have to worry about it. They’ll get very close to your estimate. 5% off would still be well over 7/16″, and if my pad wasn’t, I’d ask to have it replaced (before they installed it).

  53. I consistently read that for most carpets other than Berber or thinner style carpets, 7/16” thickness is the likely best thickness for padding. Any thicker, and too much give in carpet. That being said, is 3/8” ok? I’m currently considering a 3/8” memory foam pad with a 10lb density rating for a frieze style nylon carpet with a 54 face weight. Will this be as good or possibly better than the 7/16 since it’s a bit thinner and more dense (less give and longer stability)?
    Thanks, Tim

    1. Yep, that shouldn’t be a problem. Always important to check if your carpet has any requirements for its warranty, but 3/8″ should serve well. Like you said may have the slight benefit of less give with a drawback of a little less cushion and insulation.

    1. Carpet Captain

      Here’s a page on plush carpet you can check out. It is usually pretty dense and uniformly cut on top. It won’t require anything special for the pad (although, it’s worth checking the manufacturer specs on any new carpet), so everything in this article applies.

  54. Nancy Gregory

    What is the best padding for sound proofing? I have an upstairs downstairs rental and I need to make it less noisy. Thank you!

    1. Carpet Captain

      I don’t think you can go wrong with the thickest (close to 1/2″ if possible), most dense (8+lb) rebond you can find. Some of it depends on if you want to reduce airborne noise or foot traffic noise. I think foot traffic noise would be your biggest issue so more cushioned pads work best: rebond and foam; avoid: rubber, fiber.

      1. Hmmm…this is the opposite of what you say on your soundproofing page, where you recommended rubber and fiber over rebond.

        1. Here’s the cut and paste:
          Rug pads
          Just like carpet pad, they also make rug pads. They are used for 3 reasons: help protect the rug, keep the rug from slipping, and for insulation (sound and temperature).

          We’ll be focusing on the last part. You’ll probably want to go with a thick rubber and felt pad, but you can read more on pad materials in our rug padding guide.

  55. Marilyn Pollock

    Hello, I purchased commercial carpet with a rubber? backing and am wondering what kind of padding to use. Been looking at 6# rebond with a moisture barrier. I saw another question where you stated that sometimes the commercial carpet is glued to the floor. This carpet is to be in a home office with wood flooring that was built in 1899 so it is not perfectly flat like a newer home and maybe the pad would help that fact?

    Maybe, since the floor is not perfectly flat, instead of padding, it might be feasible to nail down ¼” utility board? What about padding on top of the board, necessary or not?Your thought? Thank you!

    1. Carpet Captain

      Often times you don’t want to use rebond with commercial carpet, but I’d start by looking at the manufacturer specifications for your carpet (all commercial carpets are different). Like you said, many commercial carpets don’t require pad, and the pad could actually damage the padding (too much give). If that’s the case but you still wanted to smooth out your subfloor imperfects, go with a thin dense pad. A thin fiber pad or rubber would probably be the best bet (<3/8" or thinner).

  56. Trudy Shapiro

    I never knew there was so much information to sort out about carpet padding. It took me months to just decide on the carpeting! I’m having Fabrica Power Point carpeting installed on my stairway and 3 upstairs bedrooms. In addition, I’m having an area rug made from the same carpeting for my living room. The carpet is a cut and loop medium thickness. On the back of the sample, it suggests using Stainmaster carpet cushion with a breathable moisture barrier. I have read pros and cons about using moisture barrier. I don’t have any dogs or cats. Also, I believe my salesman said it is 1/2″ thick with 6lb density. My head is swimming. What would you suggest? Should different padding be used on the stairs? For the area rug I was planning on having it bound with a felt backing. It will be going over my new wood flooring.
    Thanks

    1. Carpet Captain

      For the rug, you can check out my guide on rug padding. I don’t see a reason to have a moisture barrier on stairs. That may be the last place I could see benefit of it. I’d go with a dense fiber pad or even rebond. I’d also go higher than 6lb unless you rarely walk on the stairs.

    1. Carpet Captain

      One of the more durable options from above. Sometimes a thinner dense pad works well like fiber pad, but in general, you can use the same pad as other flooring. Durability is more important, so for rebond you may look at 8+ density. Also thinner pad may be a little better, and I’d avoid anything 1/2″.

  57. Hi, Do you have a point of view on the Legette and Platt Elite Duraplush pad available at Lowe’s? I think it may be part of their advanced comfort system line; however, I’m having trouble understanding how it compares to 8 lb rebond. The specs do not provide “weight” but claims to be the most durable and comfortable option…even above an 8 lb rebound option. This is Lowe’s most expensive pad option. Thank you for any insight you can provide.

    1. Carpet Captain

      Hi Jason – I think Legette and Platt has good padding, but their options can be confusing. I’ve reached out to them in the past to help bring clarity to some of the CarpetCaptain readers but we lost touch. I’ll try again because I think this is a good question–foam pads vary a lot in quality, and getting into the details of how there’s is made would be helpful.

  58. I live on the lower level in a two family home. I want to cut down on noise from the upstairs apartment and get a carpet that will look good for a while. Can you recommend a type of carpet and/or padding?

    1. Carpet Captain

      I have an article on sound barriers here. But a couple of specifics for carpet and padding: go with the highest face weight carpet possible (this is more important than density in this case), maybe even consider total weight (noise is the one time it makes a different), and with padding you can get by with standard rebond which does a pretty good job and is inexpensive but I’d go with the thickest and densest.

  59. I am installing a tight loop 50/50 wool/polyester carpet in a room with a concrete above-grade floor over a 15″ crawl space in a northern climate. Which 8-lb pad would have the highest R factor for this situation?

    1. Carpet Captain

      I’d go with a standard 8lbs rebond if you want cost effectiveness with a high R-value. It’s got one of the highest if not the highest of any pad (foams vary and are comparable). Avoid synthetic fiber pads and most likely avoid rubber (although some lower density rubbers can have high R-values).

      1. A carpet store I called today recommended Enviro Cushion by Carpentry Co. which claims to have 8 lb. with R -value of 4.5. Are you familiar with this padding and if so, would it be applicable to my situation (I am especially interested in the high R-value).

        1. Carpet Captain

          I’m not familiar with it specifically. 4.5 is a great r-value though; I think rebond is around a 4.0/in. Do you know what it’s made of?

  60. Would appreciate a very quick response since I am having rug installed shortly. I have a rubber, neoprene , and latex Allergy. I can’t breathe any of it in or touch it so what kind of padding can I put down under a new Berber rug in our living room. it will be installed over existing asbestos tiles on a concrete slab. Thank you for your insight

    1. Carpet Captain

      I’d check with the manufacturers to be sure, especially since it sounds like you have allergies to many synthetic materials. Rebond foam may work (I don’t believe it has neoprene or latex?), but is basically recycled high-density furniture foam, so if you have trouble with furniture, you may with it as well. There are other memory foams as well, but they all have different ingredient in their manufacturing.

  61. mI am moving into a high rise condo and they insist on a carpet and pad with a Field Impact Insulation Class of FIIC of 65, and suggest a 1 1/2″ pad. I can’t even find a 1 1/2″ pad. Any ideas??? Joan

  62. Do you have any analysis on the safety of the different options? For example, I’ve been reading about the cancer-causing flame-retardants that are often in carpet padding that is made from recycled materials. Thoughts?

    1. Carpet Captain

      I have some information on this on my carpet safety page. I’ve looked at different VOCs (indoor pollutants like flame retardants) with flooring products, and usually what I find is some data that says it may be harmful, but it’s thought to be at very high levels that you’re probably not exposed to with flooring. To put it in perspective, most anything that you smell in your home has some link to cancer: candles, paint, new furniture, etc. I think the best you can do is take some precautions like letting it air out for a period of time before installing it in your home (but I’m also not a doctor so this is all up for debate, and happy to hear others opinions)

      1. Brent Ehrlich

        Flame retardants are not an emissions issue. They are put into the foam and do not bond to it so they are released as dust over time from recycled foam products.

  63. Carpet Captain

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  64. This was a great article and now I am hugely more educated about carpet padding. One thing that was left out is sound proofing. There are countless websites that sell sound proofing carpet padding. Some of it is quite expensive and I am not clear that the sound proof padding is any different than regular carpet padding. Further except for speciality sound proofing websites, there world of carpeting seems clueless about sound proofing in your padding. Any comments or recommendations? In advance, thanks. Mark

    1. Carpet Captain

      I’m skeptical on sound proof padding. The reason is padding is a naturally good sound insulator (for both impact and air noise). You could make it better by doing things like adding more air pockets or making it thicker, but then it can’t do it’s primary purpose as well: extend the life of your carpet. I question whether soundproof padding could do well with both, but admit that it’s something I need to research and cover more–I get questions about this fairly often.

  65. I just had carpeting installed with memory foam .Feels great but what do you do about the toxic smell it gives off?

    1. Carpet Captain

      It hopefully won’t last. You can read this article on off-gassing and carpet for a little more. If the pad is rated as VOC-friendly (see the article), it’s probably okay. If it’s not, I’d try to limit your exposure to the fumes which should diminish over time.

    1. Carpet Captain

      Yeah, maybe I should include that specific to pad. I do have pages on sound barrier flooring, but I think people are interested in the padding aspect. In general, all pad will do a pretty good job and probably not much of a noticeable difference from pad to pad.

  66. Jeanne Northroup

    I am trying to decide if I need to upgrade my carpet pad in the new home I am building, I have selected a Berber carpet in the bedrooms only, (light trafic, no kids) the standard is a 3/8″ 5# compared to the upgraded 1/2″ 7#. Any suggestions?

    1. Carpet Captain

      5lbs won’t be very durable. I’d generally recommend upgrading, but there are certain cases where I wouldn’t. It comes down to how much the rooms are used vs cost to upgrade. For instance, a guest bedroom that rarely used, 5lbs should be fine. Your bedroom that you go in mostly to sleep, 5lbs is probably still fine but I’d consider the upgrade depending on the cost.

  67. Ada Jean Hoffman

    Have begun the process of looking for carpet for most of our house. A family member uses both an electric wheelchair and a manual one.
    What kind of padding would you recomend for both ease of moving the manual wheelchair and also avoid carpet wrinkling? Any suggestions on type of carpet would also be aprecciated. We have already ruled out thick plush as being too hard to push wheelchair on. Thank you!

  68. George Rasmussen

    We are going to do a large Navajo hand woven rug (96″ x 54″) inlay into 1/4″ thick LVT flooring over concrete. The Navajo rug has a thickness of approximately 1/8″. Based on what you’ve written I’m thinking we will want to use either a felt or slab rubber pad beneath the Navajo rug. What would you recommend? Does felt or rubber slab come in 1/8″ thickness?

    1. Carpet Captain

      Check out this page on rug padding. Sounds like an awesome rug and you’re on the right track. Feel free to comment on the page I linked to if it doesn’t answer your questions, but I think felt would be good with that large of a rug especially if it is held in place by furniture.

  69. We are building a new home and need to go pick out the design options (carpet included). Would you recommend a different carpet for the stairs vs. the living areas? I plan on getting the 8lb pad, but don’t know if the splurge to upgrade to a nicer carpet on the stairs is a good idea or not. We have 3 small kids and two cats. Thanks for any insight you can give us!

    1. Carpet Captain

      Stairs will take 2x the beating of a main living area (in my unscientific study), so I think having better carpet there can help hold off the wear. The challenge with stairs is not just more forceful steps, but people step in the exact same spot. That said, people are less likely to notice your stair carpet as they are a living room carpet. It really comes down to how much more you’re paying if it’s worth the extra life you’ll get (which will depend on how much better the carpet specs are)

      1. Thanks! Yes, our previous carpet was probably the worst carpet the builder could find, just to say they put carpet down. It took less than 2 years for it to look terrible. The stairs were visible right when you walked in and it was quite the eyesore. The designer suggested a “textured” carpet on the stair in our new home. It was given a Grade 2 of 5 (5 being the most expensive), but she said it wears well given the texture. I guess we’ll see how it goes! Worst case, maybe we can just replace the stair carpet if it starts looking terrible quicker than I’d like.
        I truly appreciate your help and expertise. You should consider making an app with the calculators and recommendations! So handy!!

  70. Jeremy Schroud

    We have been looking at carpet and padding from home Depot. The problem I am having is deciding between the Nike brand pad or the temperpudic brand and we have a 2 story house with a couple big dogs that like to run up the stairs at the same time and turn the corners hard on the 2 landings. They recommend there high traffic pad for the stairs and landing…

    Lookingfor input

    1. Carpet Captain

      For Temperpudic, you can read my thoughts on memory foam pads. I don’t have specific information on their padding but overall memory foam can vary. Nike foam pad is specific to Home Depot. I don’t have personal experience with it and haven’t heard from enough people who have had it for a long time to make a definite opinion. I’d just be guessing, but I tend to think it makes a pretty durable pad. Sorry I can’t give a more definite recommendation but being newer pads in a sector (foam) that varies quite a bit, only time will tell how these perform.

    1. Carpet Captain

      Since you know the specific carpet, I’d start by checking if the manufacturer/warranty requires a specific type of pad. Otherwise, I’d consider a thinner, denser pad to help the wool on stairs.

  71. I went carpet (berber) shopping today to a store on your recommended list and I inquired on the rubber padding. The salesperson (who has been in the business for 10+ years) said rubber today is not the same as it was 20 years ago and he doesn’t recommend going with that. Your article here makes it sound like rubber is till worth buying. I’m confused.

    1. Carpet Captain

      There are different qualities of rubber, but he may be talking about waffle rubber? That can degrade quickly especially if not great quality. I haven’t seen slab rubber perform poorly.

    1. Carpet Captain

      My thought would be the double stick might have issues with the changes in the environment. Probably depends on where you’re at and how sheltered. I haven’t had experience with this though–an installer could give a better opinion here than me.

  72. Hi Captain, I have the unique opportunity to pay for carpet padding for the condo unit above me to reduce the footstep/voices/etc noise I hear. They are planning to use 8lb bonded that claims noise reduction, is it worth it to go with memory foam or flat rubber to reduce the footstep/voices/etc noises that I hear downstairs?

    1. I’ve looked into padding for acoustic insulation before, and it seemed like there wasn’t a huge difference between the pad types (but it was kind of confusing… maybe I should get some who specializes in physics/acoustic insulation to guest post here). The slab rubber might do better with voices and “air noise,” but I think it’d do worse on footfall. Memory foam might do slightly better at both depending on the foam.

  73. We have a living room on a slab and the kids like to wrestle and such….it gets pretty cold on the floor, would padding help insulate at all? What would you recommend? 🙂
    Would the carpet style matter as well? Its a high traffic room we want to go all out on for comfort!

    1. Yeah, I think padding would definitely help with the cold (and soften some of the body slams). I think going with just a traditional rebond would be fine… for durability maybe 8lbs. Carpet style would matter some. Higher face weight carpets would be a little softer, but I don’t think it’d matter much outside of a very low pile commercial carpet is going to be a little rougher.

    1. Padding can be cut exactly to your room, so you don’t need to account for waste as much as carpet. Basically, you can just take every square section of your room and multiply the length by width. Then, add all of these square sections or rooms. For the conversion to square yards from feet (assuming you measured in feet), divide your square footage numbers (the length x width) by 9. Here’s more on measuring carpet.

  74. Jennifer Grayson

    Captain, I am looking to replace my carpet which is dense. When you rake your fingers down to the backing from the carpet side you cannot scrape your nails on this backing because the carpet is do dense. I was wondering about carpet densities. How good is 8pound? What is considered for a 15 to 20 year warranty? I am looking for a low cut carpet. I am wondering the difference between 8lb and 12pound vs 16pound if that exists. Jennifer

  75. Please suggest for me both padding and carpet for a double wide mobile home in MI. Would they be different than carpeting for a traditional built home? I am looking to freshen up the carpet and bathroom floor as it is almost 20 yrs old. There are two adults in their late 50’s living in this home. We will have no pets, so no to little worry there. I would like to be smart and frugal with the flooring so I can then have enough money left over to up date other areas of this new adventure. Where do you suggest us to shop for material as well?

    1. In your case, I’d consider going with a 6lb pad and a PET polyester carpet that’s fairly cheap (on the lower end of these specifications) The reason is you don’t have much foot traffic, carpet isn’t too difficult to replace in a mobile home, and this will be a really cheap setup. In other words, it may be durable enough for your needs, and if it isn’t, you can afford to replace it with fresh carpet because you saved so much money.

  76. Looking at installing 50% SmartStrand BCF Triexta / 50% BCF P.E.T. carpeting throughout house. Is 8lb rebond pad fine? Upgrade choices are a Gel pad or 1/2″ foam waterproof, moldproof pad. Thanks.

    1. I think the 8lbs rebond is fine in this case unless moisture is a big issue. For what it’s worth, PET polyester isn’t the most durable fiber. If you don’t have heavy traffic, it can still be a good fiber and has excellent stain resistance.

    1. Depends on what you’re comparing it to, and there are many varieties of Stainmaster pad. If you’re comparing exact same pads (exact materials and densities), I don’t think it would be worth it. But some Stainmaster varieties, especially in foam pad, are made differently and could be better but can’t say not knowing the other pad.

  77. My husband wants a carpet that’s pretty cheap and has padding already (looks like flimsy foam….he says we don’t need more padding..I think we do. What is your recommendation?

    1. Love getting in the middle of spousal arguments 🙂 Not to be a cop-out answer, but it depends. If you want it to last, the pad is certainly important. Cheap foam can ruin an otherwise good carpet. For the exact specs, this article should be pretty helpful. If you have animals that pee a lot or plan on moving or remodeling soon, you should probably save your money and go with the cheapest.

    1. I’d say no but maybe I don’t know what “slightly bitter mold” smells like 🙂 Pad will have a smell. Maybe you could find pad elsewhere and see if it smells similar? There’s always a chance yours was damp in storage somewhere–hopefully that’s not the case.

  78. I haven’t seen any mention about the best type of padding to use for an uninsulated concrete basement floor in New England to help insulate from the cold (moisture is not a problem)?

    1. Standard rebond padding actually may be your best bet. Avoid slab rubber. Padding (and all building materials) is rated in an r-value, and rebond is the highest I’ve seen but most are pretty close. The thicker the better for insulation purposes. Wool fiber may also be good, but I couldn’t find the r-value on it, and it’s difficult to find in stores.

    1. Fabrica pad or carpet? And what type of padding is it? Sometimes thicker will help. Is your subfloor really cold?

  79. Do you recommend installing a pad under a commercial grade carpet for a common area multifamily hallway? This is a high traffic area and in other locations we have just done glue down. I’m getting advised to do a pad because the install is saying that moisture brought in will cause the glue to lift and the carpet to come up. Is this correct?

    1. I haven’t heard of that. Many commercial buildings where people are tracking stuff in do direct glue down. I’d bring that up to him and see what he says; maybe he has a good reason.

    1. Stairs are where carpet takes the biggest beating in most home because 1. people walk on them frequently 2. they walk in the exact same spot every time. I’d go with 8lb if you’re doing rebond. Thickness won’t matter much except you don’t want to make it a tripping hazard. This usually isn’t an issue but some people go with thinner for this reason (I’d avoid 1/2″).

  80. I noticed that 2 people have asked about future foam, prime elegance and prime comfort padding and I am considering it as well. I noticed you didn’t disuade them even though reading your article and the specs of this padding suggest you would have done so. Can you help me better understand?

    1. Foam is the most confusing pad because it has “hidden” ingredients. I need to make a few things more clear in this article, but to help you out in the meantime, most of the specs are relating to the most common pad: rebond padding. I tried to add some clarity on foam pad in the article and in answering people’s questions, but unlike rebond, all foam pads vary in their material. Most are foam infused with another product, and this other infused product can make a big difference in performance. Because of this, I generally don’t recommend anything but pure foam. I usually don’t recommend certain brands or products on my site because I think you can be a better shopper by knowing the “specs” to look for rather than a brand name, which can be misleading. However, I may need to start recommending specific foam products to cut through some of the confusion. Hope to get to this soon.

  81. I have tile and hardwood floors and would like to change them to carpet. The salesperson explained it was a lot of trouble and expense to take out the tile and hardwood floor. She suggested putting carpet over my existing floors. She recommended a product called Airo by Mohawk which has carpet and a pad combined and can go over existing floors without damaging them. They installed it yesterday. It looks nice and the carpet feels soft to the touch but when I stand on it it feels like I am standing on a hard floor. I guess the pad is not very good. I want to change it. Is it okay to put a pad and carpet over existing hardwood floors? If the pad is good would it feel comfortable or will it still feel hard because it is going over existing tile and hardwood? Do you have any suggestions? Thank you.

    1. It shouldn’t change the feel much for the carpet to be installed over hardwood or tile. It’s common for carpet to be over some type of base floor. Good pad sometimes doesn’t feel as soft initially because it’s firmer, which is a good thing for the support of the carpet. Whereas with cheaper pad, it may feel soft because it indents. There’s a chance your hardwood or tile would be slightly damaged (eg fine scratches) from the floor above it, but usually not much of a problem.

  82. I purchased carpet and pad from Home Depot. After ripping out my old carpet and laying down the pad the installer realized he had the wrong carpet. He has replaced my furniture on top of the pad, and I’m going to have to wait at least a few days for the correct carpet to be installed. Is it ok to leave the pad, Prime Comfort 1/2”, exposed and walked on with no carpet over it?

    1. That’s a bummer. It shouldn’t cause a problem not having the carpet there. The carpet doesn’t act as much of a barrier to the pad, and the pads job is protect the carpet. That said, I’d personally try to minimize walking on it and take shoes off, especially avoid anything like high heels.

    1. I like most products from l&p. I’ve called them before to straighten out which foam pads have which materials infused, and I don’t 100% remember with this one. I think it has a viscoelastic, which I don’t like as well as pure foam but still a decent option. I’m going to check in again this week and see if I can get more clarity.

      1. Went to the store where I’m getting my carpet and they had an actual sample of my carpet.
        It’s a 62oz face weight nylon frieze. Took both the Stainmaster Splendor and regular 8lb padding and placed them underneath.
        The Splendor felt much more comfortable than the 8lb. However I am worried about the Splendor giving out quicker than the regular 8lb. I do not want that Splendor performing like the cheap 6lb that I have now couple years down the road. The price difference $1.08sqft vs .89sqft. However I will be getting 20% off of whichever one I decide do to a customer satisfaction issue.
        So do you think this Splendor is the good foam or is it the bad foam? So confused.

  83. Hi, I’m getting the Smartstrand Silk carpet (50 oz) installed soon. I chose this carpet partly because it appears to emit less chemicals than the other options. The under padding that’s set to be installed is SpillBlocker, as opposed to SmartCushion, which is Smartstrand’s under padding. I was told there’s no difference, however the installer might have his own motives for telling me this. Is the SpillBlocker under padding sufficient, or should I pay extra for SmartCushion? I’m mostly concerned with any chemicals that might be emitted, but curious about the overall quality as well. Thanks, appreciate the help.

    1. I’m not too familiar with SpillBlocker, but I’d imagine there’s a difference. SmartCushion is made with a viscoelastic, and there’s a ton of variability in these types of cushions (you can read other comments and my notes on this page about memory foam, but basically what the foam is mixed with makes a big difference). I’d also check out the page on moisture barriers if you haven’t.

  84. I have an apartment building and have a tenant complaining about noise from walking from the unit above. I happen to be replacing the carpet in the upstairs unit and want to try to dampen the footfall noise. I am guessing I should go with a 1/2 pad…I was looking at this from home depot
    https://www.homedepot.com/p/Future-Foam-Prime-Comfort-1-2-in-Thick-Premium-Carpet-Pad-with-SpillSafe-Double-Sided-Moisture-Barrier-100502800-04/205728090

    It is expensive but says it will help with noise, do you think it will it be any better than rebond?

    I have also heard suggestions that I should put cork 6mm under the pad too…any thoughts on that?

    1. I think the pad would be good. The thicker the better but 1/2″ is probably as thick as you can go for installation. Cork is also a great idea, but the problem you might run into is insulation. That would add about 0.25″, so you’d have a total of 0.75″ under the carpet. I’d run it by your installer. You can also check out our article on soundproof flooring but sounds like you have a good start.

  85. So, I’m in the process of buying a home and for the carpet padding the sales consultant suggested a 1 – 1/2″ Pro Bond 6 lb – Rainswept (color) – Austin Lake (style). I don’t know if this offers much info but any insight on this? I really don’t understand much about carpets and reading all about these, I really want to have that extra soft feel! 🙂

    1. I assume it’s a 6lb rebond? If softness is your #1 goal, you might consider a foam, but I’d read above on the pros and cons. Also, if there’s much foot traffic, I’d consider 8lbs if you go with rebond.

  86. what weight padding do I want on stairs? Should it be less than the bedrooms being carpeted , the same or more from a durability point of view

    1. Good question. Technically, stairs get much more impact in the same spot than bedrooms and even get more than some higher traffic areas like a main living area. Because of this, you might want a higher weight padding 8lb+ on stairs where you could get by with 6lbs in a bedroom.

  87. The padding under our new carpet has hard spots in it and it feels like you are walking on carpet with small LEGO toys under it. Carpet company vp says the padding is supposed to have hard spots in it. Is he telling us the truth? I have never had this issue before.

    1. Is it rebond? Rebond is made of chunks of cushion (often recycled couch cushions etc). It is possible to have denser areas, but I definitely wouldn’t expect it to feel hard. I’d be mad if I were stepping on legos all day 🙂

  88. Ok, I’ve been in many multi-million dollar houses and everytime I’m in a house like this that has carpet, and when I step on it it’s super super soft and you sink in and it feels incredible on your feet. Carpet feels thick and I know it’s not the carpet, it must be high end padding. SO, my question is, what do all these super expensive houses have carpet that melts under your feel, super nice feel when walking on it? I’m having a area redone in my house and the came to put the padding down last week, the carpet won’t be ready for another 2 weeks. This padding is super super hard, almost as hard as the wood floors before it! My old padding was 20 years old but I took a carpet sample and layed it overtop my old padding and did the same thing with the new padding, and it’s super super hard, not comfortable at all when walking on it. The padding they used was 8lb pad 1/2″ with pet block scotch guard on top. I called the company and asked for who makes the padding and they said scotchguard only makes that top cover that’s on it. Here is picture:

    https://i.postimg.cc/XJ0PbZRG/IMG-0749.jpg

    . Also, all the other old carpet we have in the house feels soft to walk on, with our old padding in other areas….

    (again, why does it seem that houses over 1+ million has super soft padding that feel thick and luxurious)

    1. Not sure I know enough millionaire to answer this question… maybe you should just pull up an end of the carpet when you’re in one and let us know 🙂 A few thoughts: 1. I bet the plush carpet with a high density is a big part of the softness 2. I’ve been on new carpet many times and it has a soft luxurious feel you just don’t get after a few years of walking on the carpet (and most millionaires probably don’t let their carpet go long with much foot traffic). 3. the padding is most likely either a high-density rebond, or a high-quality foam pad. Rebond won’t feel hard when installed and will usually feel firm but cushioned (like memory foam). Let me know if you come across any new insights.

      1. Thanks! Well, yes, I did find out more. My old padding is FOAM. The new padding is 8lb rebond and hard as a rock compared to the foam…. I went to a few more carpet places today and the FOAM like I have, new generation, looked similar and was the most expensive. Funny, the rebond is the least expensive and for high traffic areas. I’m just saying it’s not comfortable to me. All our carpet is soft when you walk on it, with our foam padding. It’s just a shame these places today don’t tell you this and just tell you to get 8lb rebond. It’s horrible to me. After a long day you take your shoes off and go into your family room, walking on wood floors as you go, then your new padding is almost as hard at your wood floors. So, I’m convinced I need to have the current 8lb rebond padding ripped out as again, it’s hard as a rock. These are all low traffic areas and should feel plush if you ask me… Money is no object, I just want to comfy when walking.

        1. Another update!

          Thanks for the tips everyone! My original post was referring to my parents house and that new padding 8lb rebond which was horrible. Will also try to show them the mohawk as well.

          Now, at my own house tonight, the only carpet I have is on my basement steps (no worries for spills as basement unfinished, but it’s super soft feeling like the other parts of my parents house which I found out had foam. I had to look under mine to see, and yep, FOAM PADDING. It’s cheap carpet on these basement steps,, but the foam makes it’s super soft on your feet and shoes. I’m learning a lot here, and foam is SOFT an rebond for us is the enemy!

          https://st.hzcdn.com/fimgs/fef20faa0bcfa61f_5138-w240-h180-b0-p0–.jpg

          What’s the chicken wire on the top do?

    1. stairways don’t change anything from the padding recommendations above, except stairs take more of a beating because footsteps are always in the same spot. you’ll want to go on the more durable side of the rankings (eg. 8lb rebond) unless the stairs are used very infrequently. some like to go with a thinner pad that you could get with a synthetic fiber pad.

  89. Hi Carpet Captain! I’m hoping you can answer a question before I hire someone to install carpeting in a room we’re going to place a couple of pieces of heavy exercise equipment in. One salesperson told me I should use a fiber pad and the other quoted rebond and didn’t seem to know which one was preferred for my application. Do you have any advice? Thanks!

    1. Fiber pad will be a little more dense, so less likely to crush under the areas of excercise equipment. Slab rubber could even be a step up. That said, exercise equipment is so heavy the carpet will likely get damaged under that area anyway (so just try to never move it 🙂 ). Certain carpets require fiber pad as well, so you should make sure the salesman recommending rebond isn’t overlooking that. Overall, fiber is going to get the edge in this situation.

  90. Valuable information . However , there is a lot of conflicting information out there .
    Today, I was told by a credible young carpet salesman that Shaw -Parade of Champions and Mohawk -trade show -nylon , berber , both looped and cut carpet were to be glued to the substrate and a pad was not intended for this type carpet . The credible information here, makes no mention of “not” using a carpet pad .
    Could you offer some clarity ?

    Thank you ,

    1. These are commercial carpets, and commercial carpets are commonly glued down to the sub-floor without padding. And actually, if you use padding, the backing of commercial carpets will break down. This site is primarily geared toward home flooring, but I’ll probably make some mention of this. Thanks for bringing it up.

  91. I just moved some furniture and saw that there were indentations in the carpet that I cannot get out. Is this a function of the padding that was installed. The house was purchased new 12 yrs ago. The carpet is in good condition as it is in a low traffic area. Is there a padding that will recover or not create the indentations? How about flat rubber?

    1. Good call… flat rubber won’t indent. Your carpet still might though. Often indentations are the carpet fibers being crushed. You can try lifting them letting ice melt in the area, blowing drying the area, and raking the area up with something not too abrasive. Moving the furniture or using furniture pads beneath the legs might be your best defense.

  92. Any updates on memory foam padding? Our builder gives an option of 3/8” foam vs 1/2” memory foam (no rebond option available.)

    1. Also, any guidance on what density to look for in memory foam pads? You mention in your guide that it’s important but not what to look for. Thanks!

    2. Still mostly the same: 100% foam is great, avoid standard foam pad (mixed with gas bubbles), and memory foam pad varies depending on the viso-elastic that’s used with it. I assume the 3/8″ foam is mixed with gas? In this case I’d go with the memory foam with the two options.

  93. Hi, there. Can you provide more info on a felt pad? Does wool require a felt pad? When would you recommend felt over a rebond? Thanks much!

    1. Felt is used more for rugs, but for carpet, it can provide a good dense pad. Sometimes (although rarely) it’s called for by certain carpets such as Berber. It’s biggest advantage is it doesn’t have much “give” so most should be pretty durable. You have to watch out for non-synthetic (made of wool, jute, etc) felts in some rooms because it can grow mold if it’s in a high-moisture area.

  94. Wonderful info. Am considering Home Depot’s Step Ahead 7/16″, 8lb. rebond carpet pad. It uses recycled Nike shoes and has a moisture barrier. Others have said that they feel hard materials under foot. Do you have any info on what materials are actually used in this padding?

    1. I’m not 100% sure but am going to do some more research on this because I’m seeing it more and more. It’s most likely sole and foam materials. The most common pad (rebond) is made of upholstery and mattress scrams, so this would be similar but, like you said, you’d imagine a little harder.

  95. Thanks for all the great info – it helped a lot! We had to pull up our bedroom carpet in order for a foundation company to jackhammer 2 holes for the piers, and when we did, the initial padding was disintegrating. Reading your article gave us better info on what to get. That said – I didn’t see you discuss recycled foam padding. Is it just the same as regular foam padding?

    1. Thanks! “Recycled pad” can be a few things, but it’s often a rebond pad made up of recycled pieces of foam. In these cases, I’d consider it equal to rebond. If you don’t think it’s rebond, let me know, and I can look into it. I know they’re coming out with more and more recycled products. Nike even has one they’re making out of shoe scraps.

    1. Usually having a pet won’t make a difference in what pad you need just a difference in the carpet. If your pet pees on the carpet, you could consider a breathable moisture barrier. I talk about those some on this page but also on this page about moisture barrier padding.

  96. My condo is directly above another unit and our neighbor complains about hearing our toddler run around the house. What padding is best for sound dampening between floors?

    1. Density is most important for impact noise (different than voice/air noise). Your best options will probably be a dense felt or fiber pad, or a dense 100% frothed foam pad. The can come in much higher densities than, say, rebond which maxes around 8lbs. You can also buy separate sound barriers made up dense materials to put under a pad like rebond. I don’t have personal experience with this. A final option is to soundproof the ceiling below your toddler.

  97. When you got to pads for rugs, after un-recommending rebond and recommending felt and rubber instead, you didn’t make any recommendations about either thickness or density; why is that?

    1. Carpet Captain

      I have a page specifically on rug padding that should answer your questions. Pads different in carpet in that sometimes you can use something as simple as a very thin rubber pad to keep it from slipping and sometimes larger rugs you want a thicker (within limits of your setup) and denser felt pad.

  98. Your information is extremely helpful.

    My mother purchased carpet 30 years ago for her home. She put carpet in every room including the kitchen and bathrooms. She went with a commercial plush carpet and a padding that was rubber everywhere but the basement. That was a wool or a felt of some kind that has mesh type reinforcement on it. But her carpet is as plush and comfortable now as it was when newly installed.

    I’m replacing the carpet in a very small home I have approx 1200sft. I do not have children nor any pets. I do however have plantar fasciitis. It is very painful to walk on hard surfaces. I want plush carpet because I like to walk barefoot and I spend a lot of time sitting on the floor. I want it to be as plush and comfortable as I can get. I am seriously considering carpeting the large master bathroom also. Do you have suggestions as to the carpet weight, material and type of padding I should look at? I shy away from the rebound but I just don’t know.

    1. Carpet Captain

      Softness is one of the selling points of carpet so don’t blame you especially with plantar fasciitis. This page on carpet softness goes over the carpet fibers. You’ll also want the high end of the face weight and/or density ranges. I think you’d be good with a rebond. You could consider a memory foam but I’d read my notes in the comments and on this page about it. Good luck!

      1. Thanks for all that. I read the page on softness and on the SmartStrand. I need to read more and continue to investigate that, but you said “could consider memory foam, but would be good with rebond”. Is there a reason not to go with the rubber padding? Would it actually be too much with the very soft carpet?

        1. Rubber (solid) pad is excellent for durability, but it’s more expensive and not as soft underfoot. Since you don’t have kids/pets, it might be overkill for durability, and it won’t be as soft as some of the other options.

  99. I just had carpet installed and they used 8 lb 1/2 inch pad- I am fairly certain the Fabrica warranty says up to 7/16th. Will this void my warranty? Also, our previous pad was not stapled – they stapled this pad and we can feel a divot where each staple is. The carpet is very plush and lovely but feels like walking on moving blankets. This is very expensive carpet ($12/sq ft/over $10K) and just want to be sure it is right. Also, should the carpet make a popping noise all along where it meets the kitchen tile. Thanks

    1. Carpet Captain

      I think the 1/2 vs 7/16th would be minor, but if the warranty states 7/16″ max, it likely would void the warranty (it really would depend on the company but some look for any reason to get out of a warranty). For the popping, it could be the initial stretch of the carpet where it’s tacked down. I’d watch the area to make sure it’s not pulling up where it’s tacked in near the kitchen and think it should eventually stop popping.

  100. I have light wool carpet loop pile, where I get a large light golden colour come through after cleaning. I understand this is called wicking and the backing is the brown coloured hemp. I am wanting another LIGHT COLOURED WOOL carpet and was wondering, if the carpet backing, was made from another fiber [not brown hemp], whether I wouldn’t have that same stain come up??
    There are other wool carpets with other backing, what do you think?
    Regards Ellen

    1. Carpet Captain

      That would be considered a defect of the carpet is the color of the backing was wicking up with cleaning (unless it has specific cleaning instructions that weren’t followed). Do you have any animals that could have peed in the area or any other type of stain? I’d ask the manufacturer/retailer if this is an issue with the brown hemp backing–if they say no (in writing), I’d think you’d be okay going with it. I haven’t heard of this issue but also don’t know many people with brown hemp backing. If it happens again (not in the same spot), you can assume it’s the carpet. I’d have documentation that it happened with this carpet, and you were told it wouldn’t happen again with new carpet.

  101. So informative! I have learned more about carpet padding in the last 20 minutes than I have known in my lifetime. Thanks

    1. Carpet Captain

      Thanks! Not a short guide but an important topic for flooring shoppers, and I’ll always surprised by how many details there are.

  102. We are getting new carpet from Home Depot. I think it is textured and is an above contractor grade carpet with a limited lifetime warranty. (cost of $2.09 per square foot) My husband wants to get he best padding they have in store, which they said was the Prime Comfort Pad. The problem is that after reading your article, it looks like prime foam is a bad idea? I looked into the density and it says 4 pounds so I was horrified because they are selling for .99 a square foot, but then noticed in the question and answer section online that the company is claiming that their padding is equivalent to an 8 pound density or more bonded padding. 4 pound that is equal to 8 pound in other padding? Wondering if this is really true or if they are making a bogus claim. They said it is a Virgin Urethane Foam. This means nothing to me. Can you help? Is this a good padding to get or should we go with something else?

    1. Carpet Captain

      I’m not 100% familiar with this pad, but my guess would be it is a prime foam (injected with gas bubbles) based on the weight. The 4lbs is actually pretty good for a prime foam. There are some prime foams that can be higher quality than the “free” prime foams you’ll see, but since there’s no direct way of measuring this, I tend to avoid them all together. The “virgin” part refers to it being non-recycled materials, which is usually a good thing.

  103. I have learned so much here. I feel like a better educated consumer and I thank you for that.

    I have decided to go with wool carpets in an office, bedroom and stairs/hall.

    Originally I had been thinking 8 lb padding; however, since the stair is open with balusters on one side, there is concern if the carpet edge is bound or surged, the padding will be noticeably visible. I started to think flat rubber would be … still visible, but perhaps less so. I have also read your recycled carpet page, and that also spoke to me.

    Is the concern on the visibility of the 8lb pad on the stair valid? Or is the carpet edge treatment on the stair I am selecting (likely binding over surged) really what would be causing the potential issue (versus a “tuck and tack” application? If rubber will be an improvement, I may just place it under all the carpet.

    1. Carpet Captain

      Thanks! I don’t think rubber would be an improvement. Rebond may achttps://www.carpetcaptain.com/wp-admin/edit-comments.php#comments-formtually be better. You could consider a fiber pad as well since it sounds like thin will be key.

  104. Looking at buying at Lowes.

    Do you recommend the Stainmaster PetProtect 12.7mm Foam Padding, or the Stainmaster PetProtect 11.11mm Rebond Padding? Is the foam padding here Memory Foam? Are you experiencing any of the issues you raised above with foam?

    The blue foam one is the upgrade at Lowes, but the rep said he couldn’t recommend it, due to concerns with earlier foam pads they had sold wearing out quickly. No long-term experience with this one, though.

    Any experience out there on these?

    1. Carpet Captain

      I contacted Stainmaster, and they pointed me to Leggett and Platt as the company that manufacturers the Stainmaster pad for Lowe’s. I called L&P, and Pet Protect is a general name for all of their Stainmaster pad. The person I talked to was extremely helpful and honest, so I’d tend to recommend any of their pads for its class. However, they make different foam pads. If the foam pad is their “Stainmaster Supreme” it’s mixed with viscoelastic gel; in other words, it’s a memory foam pad. If it’s their Stainmaster Premium, it’s pure foam, which I’d highly recommend. All of their pads are certified to have low levels of VOCs, which are the potentially harmful off-gassing products when you remodel a home/floor. This is more on the company and their Stainmaster pads: https://lpflooringproducts.com/stainmaster

    2. I have the same question. Not sure which one the 12.7mm Foam Padding is called. The supreme is red, and this one is blue. Which did you go with Eph?

  105. I’m looking to carpet a large bonus room over the garage that will be a play area for our pets and kids. because of that i was looking at getting the spillmaster pad to prevent spills and pet stains from becoming an odor problem and a problem underneath, but I’m struggling with what to go for as a softer (crawling around with a baby) carpet that keeps the stain resistance. do you have a style and/or pile recommendation for this sort of use?

  106. I have been in the business for 20+ years. We use 7/16″- 8# more than 90% of the time. It is the best bang for the buck for my customer / friends.

    1. Carpet Captain

      Thanks for the contribution, Kim. Always appreciate the genuine opinion of people in the business. Where’s your store located?

  107. We are having our stairs & hallway carpeted with a nylon cut & loop carpet. The salesman offered us either a 6 lb rebond or an upgrade to a 9lb memory foam.
    What should we pick

    1. Carpet Captain

      Same price? Foam pads vary in quality quite a bit depends on how much and the quality of materials infused with it. Without knowing more, I think the rebond would be the safer bet of the two.

  108. P.s. the other padding Carpet store suggested is 32 oz felt padding by Shaw. Opinions please. Asap please. Thanks.

  109. Found padding answer confusing. Am choosing a mid level quality Dixie hearts content or Casina nylon flat carpet. Salesman recommended legget&platt 8lb memory foam padding. Do I want memory foam for years of wear? Going on cement I am pretty sure. No moisture problem for previous nylon carpet,don’t know what previous pad was… thanks need asap help!

    1. Carpet Captain

      Some of it depends on your carpet–felt pad can be a good option, and some carpets call for it. For the memory foam, unless you love the feel of it, I’d just go normal rebond.

  110. I should also mention that we are already a family of 6 that will b using this carpet for daily use, also entertain often. Does how much traffic make a difference between choosing a 6lb or 8lb density?

    1. Carpet Captain

      Big family! I’d go with the 8lbs. Durability of 6lbs isn’t bad, but the extra 2lbs will make a difference a heavily trafficked room. To answer your previous question, your carpet doesn’t call for a specific pad, the rebond should be great.

  111. So,
    Called the carpet retailer and he told me their pad is actually a 7/16” 6lb density rebound. Do I insist on an 8lb, it sounds like I can get it but it’s not usually what they sell…
    my carpet is the low pile and Berber but the rebond doesn’t void the warranty. Thoughts?
    Thanks for your replies!!
    -nina

  112. Hi,
    So I’m looking at a carpet that is low profile. The retailer only sells two different pads, the first is their average 8lb rebound and the other is their waterproof pet pad. I didn’t ask about a thinner pad- should I just go with their rebound or ask for a thinner pad? How much difference would it make? Or shop elsewhere?

    Thanks, nina

    1. Carpet Captain

      The 8lbs rebond would be good for most carpets. Certain loop and other carpets require a thinner fiber pad. I’d just make sure that’s not the case for yours (the carpet/warranty often specify).

  113. My fiancé and I are both first time home owners, merging 2 homes into a blended family with 4 teens. 2 of the kids will be sharing the basement (smooth bare concrete floor). The basement has no record of flooding through the foundation. Since the basement won’t be a longterm living area and we don’t want and can’t afford the extra expense of actually installing the carpet, we’re opting to simply purchase carpet padding and carpet to roll out over the floor.. Primary reasons are to help with temperature control since basements are colder, and make the room more welcoming and feel less like a dungeon. The padding I’m considering a lot is Future Foam Integrity 5/16″ Thick 8 lb. Density Rebond Carpet Pad. We haven’t looked at carpet yet for pricing, but it seems like the padding I’m considering is more/less pretty versatile with most carpets? Since this is only needing to last 5 yrs or so, we’re not concerned for long term life span. The area in question is roughly 13×13, and the walk in closet is roughly 10×12. Is the padding I’m looking at sufficient for the purpose? And any suggestions on what type of carpet to go with?

    1. Carpet Captain

      Pad is usually versatile–some carpet call for specific pad, but in this case, it shouldn’t matter. I do wonder without your carpet tacked down if you’d do better with a thinner, firmer pad like fiber pad though. The problem with a thicker pad might be more movement “pulling” the carpet and causing it to wrinkle, but I don’t have personal experience in this situation. For the carpet, I’d go with a polyester or olefin. Fairly good against stains, not the best on durability, but should be inexpensive.

  114. Crazy. I think the word, “health,” was used only once in this long missive. Hardly any mention of chemicals, off-gasing, and health. Indoor air quality is majorly affected by floor materials.

  115. Thanks Captain! I just installed a Stainmaster carpet and the “free” pad included in the price was 8 pound bonded (but also recommended by Stainmaster). I had been tempted by their memory foam pad since, what the heck, more money means better quality. My contractor agreed with you that memory foam is not a better choice in most cases, and I saved a few bucks to boost.

  116. I’m repairing water/cat urine damage in a basement of my house i bought 2 years ago. The damage is from a broken pipe and cat…we don’t have water seeping into our basement from the outside. The basement was finished 20 years ago and don’t know about warranty or who installed it. IT has berber carpet and it kids room of sorts.

    I rolled back the Berber carpet, cleaned it, and threw away water/cat urine soaked pad.
    Went to home depot to buy more and they only sell huge rolls. I only need 10×20

    Someone must have repaired damage before me because when i rolled back the carpet, there were different color pads…all blue but different shades.
    Some is 3/8″ some is 1/2″ with some numbers printed like 2502 01.05/21/07 and some is illegible.

    I read your advice on Berber and that usually you want a little thinner, and to check the warranty for requirements…Since i don’t have a warranty i’m aware, what do you advise? I’d think 7/16 8# but you also said maybe fiber or slab for Berber. I also read about moisture barriers and while you said it can make water damage worse, for some reasons tears don’t apply for pets? which we do have 2 cats and there was a urine issue (that’s gone away).

    The biggest question…where do i buy? carpet stores won’t sell me just the padding…they are only interested in carpet too. Home depot sells rolls that would last me many lifetimes…nothing on amazon besides rug pads…

    Thanks!

    1. I think i’ve decided on the STAINMASTER breathable moisture barrier, and i found both a local carpeting store and lowes that sells them on 6′ rolls per foot…

      1. Carpet Captain

        Glad you found some pad. If I get a moisture barrier, I definitely want it to be breathable, so good call on that. Responded to your comment on the moisture barrier article (https://www.carpetcaptain.com/carpet-buying-guide/moisture-barrier-padding/), but yeah you’re right, both water and urine would apply. Difficult call on whether to go with a denser pad like fiber without knowing anything about the carpet. Since it’s had rebond all this time, I think you’d be okay continuing with it (especially since it sounds like it wasn’t the best pad to begin with).

  117. I was looking at some inexpensive carpet to use in a mobile home I’m fixing up. The information with this carpet says that padding is not recommended but I can’t find any reason why?? Everything I’ve researched says always use padding. Can you explain this?

    1. Carpet Captain

      What kind of carpet is it? There’s such thing as carpet with attached pad. Maybe that’s what yours is?

  118. Hi…I am looking to replace the carpet in a family room that has a concrete slab and old glue down vinyl tile. The house was built in 1966 so the concrete is cured 🙂 I am shopping at Home depot. What pad do you recommend, they are recommending a Nike pad that is $.79 sq ft. The family room is high traffic, as it is traveled to get to the half path, laundry room, patio, garage, basement, what type and weight of carpet do you recommend? I am on a budget and have no kids. I was looking at Home Decorator’s Galore which is a 60oz https://www.homedepot.com/p/Home-Decorators-Collection-Galore-II-Color-West-Palm-Texture-12-ft-Carpet-H5086-8606-1200/300327416. Or All the Best which comes in 50 oz or https://www.homedepot.com/p/Home-Decorators-Collection-All-The-Best-I-Color-Maryport-Texture-12-ft-Carpet-H0119-772-1200/303147196 I ready through all your article which is great, just trying to find the best carpet for the money. Feel like I am stressing myself out…any direction is appreciated. Thank you for your help

      1. Thank you. I read everything and I have narrowed it down to two different nylon carpets. One feels a lot softer since it isn’t as dense…Carpet 1 has a .50 pile, 3240 density and a face weight of 45 oz. Carpet 2 has a pile of .6875, 2618 density and a face weight of 50. Carpet 2 is 30 cents more a sq ft. I am thinking that carpet 1 will hold up better to all the foot traffic. Is this correct?

  119. Tracy Spohn-Witt

    I have spent hours researching this topic and can’t find an answer. You give a thumbs up to frothed foam pads but a thumbs down for memory foam. Aren’t they the same thing? Thanks for clarifying! (also, is the Heathier Choice brand a memory or frothed foam?)

    1. Not surprised you’re getting confused because foams confusing even for me at times. Here’s part of the reason: urethane foam pads all have the same base material but are manufactured in a way that makes their durability completely different. “Prime foam” is urethane with gas bubbles added–this is NOT durable. “Frothed foam” is created without injecting gas, so it is much more durable because it is typically much more resilient. Now, where does memory foam land? Technically, memory foam is frothed foam but also with visco-elastic infused (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memory_foam). I’m not 100% sure the carpet industry sticks to the strict definitions of the foam, but the point of my difference in rating the two is I believe dense frothed foam is durable (and much more durable than prime foam), and my only issue with memory foam is that when I think of memory foam (whether or not it is made of frothed foam), it has much more “give” to it. Healthier Choice is a frothed foam (don’t think it’s classified as memory but could be and wouldn’t be surprised if salesman sells it as that). I don’t have a ton of experience with it but have heard good things–the only complaint being that it can feel firm on your feet (which may be why it makes a good durable frothed foam). Long response but good question–let me know if that didn’t clear it up.

  120. Carpet Captain,

    I will have carpet in my master bedroom and pretty much everywhere upstairs. It’s a $900 upgrade to go with 1/2″, 8 Pound Rebond Pad instead of a 3/8”, 5.5 Pound Rebond Pad.

    Worth it to you? One bedroom is right above mine. Will this make a difference sound wise?

    Thanks!

    Scott

    1. Carpet Captain

      As far as sound, probably a small difference. As far as durability, probably a bigger difference. I’ almost always think it’s worth it to upgrade from 5.5 to 8lbs if you want your carpet to last. It has to be a reasonable cost though (and can’t tell since I don’t know how much padding you’re getting for 900). 1/2″ is getting on the thick side for pad but shouldn’t be a bad thing if your installer/carpet specifications don’t have an issue with it.

  121. I have frieze with heavy traffic. It’s 6 years old and holding up well but the padding under the stairs when you first walk in is flattened. It is on below grade flooring and have had no moisture issues. What pad would you recommend that would hold up well? Also frieze on stairs, bad idea. I’ll be ripping that off and staining the wood underneath soon.

    1. Agree, carpet is not my choice on stairs either (although I do think it’s right for some people). If you plan on ripping the carpet up soon, I’d go with rebond because it’s cheaper. If you want it to last and had problems with flattening, you might try a fiber pad.

  122. I have carpet that’s is more than 14 years old. It looks good. However, my downstairs neighbor complains about foot fall noise. Can my carpet pad be bad? My condo unit was build in 1998. I am the second owner and have never replaced my carpet. My condo board thinks I need to do noise abatement via a new pad.

    1. Carpet Captain

      Assuming standard pad, it’s due to be replaced. Difficult to tell if that will eliminate the noise complaints. Standard rebond pad does a good but not great job at reducing noise. Sometimes you have to install a sound barrier layer or cork under the pad.

  123. I am looking for a clean pad for some new wool carpet. I am chemically sensitive and hope to avoid urethane products (considered carcinogenic). Is the rubber in slab rubber pads natural rubber or synthetic? Are there any clean natural products you can suggest for wool carpet (for an apartment).

    1. Carpet Captain

      That’s a good question I can’t answer for sure, but I imagine slab rubber pad is synthetic (I didn’t even know there was natural rubber!). A better option might be a fiber pad. With some research, you can find natural fibers like wool, jute, and felt.

  124. Thanks for the education on carpet and padding! I am looking for a sound barrier underlayment for the floor above a garage with a machine shop. That is, I am looking to prevent the sound from emanating through the floor. Should I use cork, Neoprene or ????? under my pad? I have read that there are combination pads with sound barriers. Please advise. Thank you.

    1. Carpet Captain

      Think you’re definitely on the right track. One thing to keep in mind is many underlayments and floors that are listed as sound dampening are for impact (eg footstrikes) to the floor, and this is not the same as filtering airborne sound. One general difference I know (although I’m sure a physicist could break it down more 🙂 ) is that softer partially hollow materials often do well for footstrikes but denser materials may do better for airborne sound (the type you’re trying to limit). Adding “weight” with another layer of floorboard, soundproofing compounds, and/or rubber layer. For more details, I’d have to dive into research on the topic–I’ll hopefully make an article on what I find at some point.

    1. Carpet Captain

      You’ll want something firm, but also need to check your carpets requirements. Slab rubber or fiber pad would be my go to options.

  125. We are purchasing carpet solely for bedrooms. There is obviously foot traffic but nothing like a hall way or something. What do you advise carpet wise and padding? I have children but no pets. The people at the carpet store said this lifeproof type of carpet which naturally was much more expensive than anything else and I just don’t understand if I should spend more on the carpet itself or the padding…

    1. I’d have your padding quality match your carpet quality. I think that carpet would be overkill in a bedroom unless you are in and out of it frequently. If it’s a guest bedroom, I’d go cheap on the carpet (inexpensive polyester) and then moderate 6lb pad. I’d also consider that if the bedrooms aren’t used much except to sleep. Otherwise, somewhere in-between.

  126. Thanks for the informative articles! It is so important to be informed. I just bought a ready to move in house about 2 months ago. We have had a couple of issues wondered if you could give input on. We have a 2 story house. When I walk on the top floor, there are high and low spots, areas where you can feel the ridge plain or joint in the flooring, and places where it gets really hard and stiff in the shape of a 4 x 6″ area. We have taped it off with blue tape all the areas we feel a void or change. I have grown up in homes with 2 stories and have never had this issue. The builder is going to come in and sand the floor joints that are peaking. They are also sending out the carpet guy to look at the padding. My trust in the builder is not to high right now. To prepare for the visit I spoke to one carpet store owner and he mentioned the builder in Florida, could have used seconds padding because of all the voids we have, which may nullify the carpet warranty. He mentioned how when he gets pads with hard spots he cuts them out and plugs them. He suggested I call Mohawk and ask about rebond pad and the second process.. Mohawk suggested to request to see the invoice where the carpet installer bought the padding and how the invoice should say what type of padding. How do I know that I am looking at an invoice for my home when they are building 10 houses at a time.

    Another problem we had was a flood. A strap was missed and the pitch of the pipe was sagging which caused a flood. Second question. We have a jack and jill bathroom that was flooded. Both rooms had water go into the room about 4 feet and into the walk in closets behind the bathroom cabinets. Should only the pad be replaced? Should all the carpet that got wet be replaced? Can you have a seem in a middle of a 12×14 room?

    Last question, If I can see the carpet on my stairs already lower in the middle, the high traffic area, is that normal, if not what would be the issue?

    1. Sorry for not responding sooner – think the length of the comment/questions was too much the time I read it and then forgot about it 🙂 A few comments on each of your 3 questions…. 1. I’d try to match the square footage on the invoice with your house (https://www.carpetcaptain.com/carpet-buying-guide/measuring-and-budgeting/ for tips on calculating your sqft). 2. Depends on the type of carpet, how long the water was there, and how well it was extracted. Often carpet can stay, but if it were on the builder, I’d want it replaced. You can have a seam in the middle but a good installer wouldn’t put it there. 3. Footprints can be natural. Try vacuuming it. If it stays matted down, it’s starting to be ruined (either the fibers are matted or the padding is crushing).

    1. The pad weight won’t affect the carpet’s fiber abrasion. 10lbs is heavy for pad, which should only help durability.

  127. If the installers do not remove all tile and tile adhesive under the pad to where it can be felt when walking on it does that ruin the pad? Should the fix include a new pad?

    1. A benefit of installing carpet is the subfloor doesn’t have to be perfectly smooth. With that said, I wouldn’t expect you to feel remnants of the old flooring beneath your feet. Over time, the pad would likely wear more in those areas, but I don’t think it would instantly damage it.

  128. I have brand new carpet in my bedrooms and hallway. When I walk on my new carpet, I see my foot prints everywhere. In order to get the footprints to disappear, I have to vacuum the carpet.

    1. This can be due to the pad but is more likely due to the carpet. Plush styles that are “clean cut” at the top are notorious for this.

  129. What would you recommend for a wheelchair/walker carpet padding? We are putting in the flat office style carpet over a wooden floor that had carpet without any padding on it for the last 50+ years…

  130. One option I am considering for padding is wool. What are your thoughts on this option? By the way, I just have to say thank you for creating this website … it’s the only place I have found comprehensive information on carpeting. It is simply excellent.

    1. I’m glad you’ve got good use out of it! My favorite things about wool: excellent for insulation, eco-friendly, and low VOCs (off-gassing). As for overall performance, I tend to think you could find a cheaper pad that is just as good for your carpet life (although not positive because I rarely see wool pad sold). Overall, if the 100% natural, eco-friendliness of wool appeals to you, I’d say go for it. One caveat: it doesn’t mix well with moisture.

  131. Thx for your great guide! I recently purchased a home and am going with the builder’s standard grade carpet. Link here https://www.mohawkflooring.com/carpet-search/Top%20Card/Vienna%20Smoke. I am being faced with the choice of a 6lb 7/16 rebound pad which comes standard or I can upgrade to an 8lb 1/2 rebound pad. I checked Mohawks general warranty and it specifies a 5lb minimum with a thickness of at least 3/8 and a maximum of 1/2. How should I decide which one to go with? Is it worth it to upgrade the pad given that it’s the standard carpet I am selecting? I generally like a softer feel when walking on carpet but not if it is going to make the carpet wear down faster.

    1. I forgot to mention the brands. 7/16 is Carpenter Envirostep Pine and 1/2 is Legett and Platt Standard Series Ultra Magic. Also I didn’t see stairs addressed in your article.What do you recommend for density and thickness?

    2. Upgrading to 8lbs from 6lbs is a cheap way to extend carpet life for most people. But like you pointed out, with “standard grade” carpet, it could be overkill. 6lbs will probably suit your purposes depending on how much it costs to upgrade. For stairs, the same rules apply. Sometimes you want firmer and thinner, so you don’t make the stairs too bulky but also stairs can take a beating.

      1. Thank you for the advice. Our design consultant told us the standard 7/16 pad would feel like the carpet padding used in apartments. We thought it was probably a sales tactic and you’ve confirmed that it was just that. We will go with the 7/16 rebond pad. Thanks Again!

      2. Looks like I listed the wrong weight for the 7/16 pad. It is actually 5lbs not 6lbs. Would you still recommend that we go with the standard 7/16 5lb pad?

        1. Hmm… makes it more difficult. If you want your carpet to last more than 5 years, I’d probably upgrade (depending on cost difference).5lbs won’t hold up well for long, which will make the carpet wear prematurely.

  132. I want to carpet (and pad) one room in my hardwood-floor home. What things should I think about so I don’t damage the floor underneath?

    1. You got the most important part right–putting pad underneath. Some people install the carpet directly for temporary use and the backing scratches the hardwood. The next two things are to make sure the floor as clean as possible and 100% dry before installing. Both debris and moisture can damage the hardwood. Otherwise, it’s usually a pretty smooth process. If you use tack strips, they’ll leave small but hardly noticeable holes in the hardwood but usually aren’t an issue.

  133. You know when there is a very fancy store with the kind of carpet you want to take off your shoes and feel how plush it is? How do they do that?

        1. Squishy pad would help… but could backfire when buying carpet for your home (because a lot of “give” can damage carpet). Usually a firm, new rebond pad will still feel comfortable underfoot.

    1. Short answer, no. The longer answer is too long for a comment, but since it’s such a good question, I decided it’s worth discussing in this article (and really, I could make a whole page on it). I “brain dumped” the writing to get something up there for you, so hopefully it’s not too sloppy. I plan on editing it later.

      1. Thanks for the feedback and info! Your info on the site has also been really helpful. I asked about pad options at a few (box) stores but pretty much heard “you can do either felt or felt”. Since we are in a metro area, we have many local/independent stores scattered around, so I will keep on the hunt.

  134. Captain – Our 110 yo house is at the top of a small hill facing NE in Boston. Our bedroom takes the full width of a dormer over the open front porch, also facing NE. It had thick foam padding under thick wall-to-wall carpet installed 125+ yrs ago by the previous owners over fir plank flooring. That carpet stood up/cleaned up really well… but it’s time. I would like to get the best padding and carpet for this situation. Warmth underfoot is important but so is not tripping / falling since we are now retirement page. Thanks for any recommendations or info!

    1. Sounds like a really cool home! Not knowing your fall risk, I don’t think carpet should be a problem. That said, I would go with a plush style carpet (for it’s level-ness). For the pad, slab rubber will have a firmer feel that may feel like more support (it’s also very durable), but I don’t imagine a dense rebond (using the guidelines above for quality) would be a problem. Best of luck

    1. For personal/residential use, it will be “good.” For commercial/legal use, you’ll need to consult the manufacturer. For those who don’t know, IIC is a rating of how much noise transfers through the flooring to the room below. It is usually used for code requirements on buildings to not disturb other tenants. Carpet with pad is usually 70+ IIC, where many hard floors are half that at around 35 (higher is better/more sound resistant). The pad you list is lower quality, but even at the lower end of the carpet/pad scale, it will be higher than most hard floorings.

  135. Glenn Schierhorst

    I purchased in June of this year carpet for my two bedroom home, costing us over $4,000. We asked for the best padding. When it was installed the logo on the padding said posturepedic and showed a reclining woman. Every step and every chair that is moved is leaving indentations that can’t be removed with vacuuming. The carpet has a matted appearance even after vacuuming. I am today visiting Flooring America to have them come and look at it. Any thoughts on this?

    1. Have you tried “raking” the carpet? Professional carpet cleaners have a tool to do this but you can gently do it with your fingernails. Heavy furniture can definitely leave a mark on carpet, but a chair not left for a long period of time on new carpet shouldn’t. Difficult to say without looking at the carpet if its the padding not rebounding or the carpet fiber crushing. Either could be concerning for the durability of your carpet. Hope your meeting went well with them.

  136. Hi Carpet Captain. Thank you so much for this informative article. I am replacing a 40+ year old wool broadloom area rug over hardwood floors in our living room. We are getting the hardwood floors refinished and just want an smaller area rug than what is there now. No moisture issues, definitely a “cut through” room as far as traffic goes. Under the wool rug is a horse hair pad. Can we cut and reuse the horsehair pad when replacing this area rug? It seems so durable and I would hate to waste $ on a new pad if this one is sufficient. Does a horsehair pad fit into the category of “they don’t make them like they used to” so to speak?
    Thank you for any advice you can give.

    1. Don’t see horse hair pad much anymore–most of the fiber pads have gone synthetic. The answer on reusing it is “maybe.” There 3 things you want out of your pad: protect the hardwood floor, keep the rug from slipping, and protect the new wool rug by being a “shock absorber” for footsteps. The first 2 you know it does because you’ve used it for 40 years and had no issues. Will it protect your new rug is more difficult to answer. It’s no doubt a very durable pad, but it’s also taken 40 years of foot steps. So my general answer would be it’s probably time for a new “shock absorber”/pad. I think looking at the padding and seeing if it appears more worn down in areas where people walk frequently could help answer your question. If you find a store you like, they may take a look at the pad for you and help you decide as well. Good luck!

  137. Thanks, this was good information. I bought carpet from Sears 16 years ago and just found out this year that instead of installing their premium pad that I paid for to go with their sculpted Berber carpet they put in some green foam that is disintegrating in the high traffic areas. 🙁

  138. I am wanting to get a loop style carpet and want to feel like I’m walking on clouds. I have heard great things about Healthier Choice pads and thought the thicker, the better so was thinking I’d go with the 8/16th” instead of the 7/16th”. I also liked the environmental friendliness of this pad. BUT, it seems the recommendation for loop style (Berber) is rubber. Is rubber going to give me the ‘walking on clouds’ feeling? And, as an aside, is Berber carpet always ‘flecked’? I am saying I want ‘loop’ style because I know I don’t want flecked. Are there Berbers that aren’t flecked? Should I stick to saying ‘loop’ when I’m talking to salespeople? Thanks for your great resource guide!

    1. Depends on the Berber on what is recommended. Often Berber’s recommend a fiber pad (it needs the density of fiber or rubber), but you’ll have to check your manufacturer warranty. Some newer memory foam pads do a decent job of combining “walking on clouds feel” with durability, but generally I recommend people be careful by judging pad by softness–often soft pads break down quicker. Rubber and fiber will hold their feel longer. You can also go with the soft feel by the type of fiber you choose (https://www.carpetcaptain.com/carpet-buying-guide/soft-carpet/), and it will help to have a dense carpet with bigger loops. Just make sure to read the carpet buying guide on carpet durability.

      For your aside: Berber (https://www.carpetcaptain.com/carpet-buying-guide/berber-carpet/) refers to a weave (that gives it the loops) but not the color. That said, usually Berber is the flecked, but you can definitely find it in other colors.

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