Does moisture barrier padding work?

A waterproof carpet padding that eliminates worries about spills and pet accidents on my carpet?

I’ll take it.

Or is it too good to be true?

That’s not a simple question to answer, but the purpose of this article. I’ll cover what moisture barrier padding is, does it do what it claims, and more importantly, should you buy it.

What is moisture barrier or waterproof padding?

Let’s start with the basics:

Moisture barrier padding is floor padding that has a layer that prevents liquids (spills, urine, etc) from passing from the floor to the floorboards, and it also prevents vapor from coming up from the base floor (concrete, etc) through the carpet.

The hope of this type of padding is to make moisture less of a headache. Your dog’s pee can be removed by simply blotting it up… you don’t have to worry about ripping up the carpet to clean the subfloor (padding or plywood) to get rid of the smell. OR you don’t have to worry about basement moisture seeping through your floor.

Does it work?

It definitely is waterproof. A salesman can hold up the pad, dump a cup of water on it, and show you how the water sits on top of the pad.

The problem is this doesn’t always solve your problem, and it sometimes makes your flooring problems worse.

That’s what we’ll cover below:
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Why a small crack in a waterproof pad is a big problem

Some people buy moisture barrier padding and are disappointed because it actually made their moisture problem worse.

Picture this:

Your dog pees on the floor. It seeps through the carpet and hits the padding. The moisture barrier holds the urine on top of the padding, except there is a crack in the moisture barrier where urine seeps through.

Now, the liquid is trapped under the padding because the barrier doesn’t allow it to evaporate back up. Pooled water in a dark space is a great habitat for mold growth. Not good.

Okay, so you make sure your moisture barrier doesn’t have any cracks in it. It may not be so easy…

Good installation is critical

“Cracks” in moisture barrier can happen in a few ways:

Sometimes the edge where the wall and the padding meet has a gap, sometimes the moisture barrier is installed with staples (this makes little cuts in the barrier), and sometimes it’s not sealed with the proper tape.

Long story short: correct installation of moisture barrier requires an installer that knows what they’re doing, and I’ve heard many stories where people had waterproof carpet pad installed by someone who clearly didn’t know what they were doing.

So how do you find a carpet installer that knows what they’re doing? I have a page on finding the best independent carpet installers in your area. You can also find pre-qualified installers using our contractor referral service, that does some of the homework for you. Click here to get estimates from 3-4 local carpet installers.

I don’t recommend moisture barrier padding for basement moisture in most cases

You might find a retailer who sells you moisture barrier padding to fix your basement moisture problem. But when you really think about it, moisture barrier padding doesn’t make sense in a basement. Basement moisture comes through the ground, and it’s going to whether or not you have a barrier in place.

In fact, the moisture barrier could make things worse, much worse. The barrier will do its job to repel the moisture, but now the moisture is trapped between the concrete floor and the pad. The stale water acts like a petri dish for mold.

Now, there are exceptions to this. If you have a mild moisture problem, sometimes putting a vapor barrier under your floor can prevent it from warping. So I’m not completely against preventing vapors from seeping up.

However, I still go back to the fact that if you have a vapor/moisture problem, it’s not worth the risk of installing flooring in that room. At least, don’t install flooring that can be damaged by the moisture.

I like moisture barrier for pet accidents

Animal urine is one of the most common moisture problems facing homeowners, and it’s also one that moisture barrier padding can make much less problematic. Typically, urine absorbs through padding and into the floorboard. Eliminating the bacteria and odor from urine that’s penetrated the padding requires pulling up the carpet and pad—not a cheap fix.

This is where moisture barrier padding comes in. If it’s installed correctly, the urine will pool on top of the padding, instead of penetrating it. Then, the fluid can be sucked up without seeping into the floorboard. Keep in mind, if you don’t get all of the urine up, it will be sitting on top of the padding and underneath your carpet, which can lead to a pool of bacteria.

It’s worth investing in professional (see above) help to make sure as much of the urine as possible is removed.

What about newer, breathable moisture barrier pads?

What if you could have carpet padding that acted as a barrier to spills and urine from soaking into the floor below, but was “breathable” in the direction of the subfloor to the carpet? Theoretically, this would eliminate all of the problems of moisture barrier padding (trapping moisture between the subfloor and padding) and would still have the benefit of stopping urine and spills from absorbing through the padding.

Today, this padding is available, or at least it claims to be. I haven’t heard feedback from enough people using it to see the results, but I do like the idea of this type of pad.

That said, I don’t think it changes what I’d use the pad for. I’d still consider moisture barrier for pet problems and spills, but I’d avoid it for basement moisture.

Captain’s tips on what you should do now:

Moisture barrier padding is one of those newer inventions that comes with a lot of marketing hype. Even though it can be a good choice for some, you now know that a waterproof carpet pad isn’t always waterproof.

I don’t think it gets the thumbs down for everyone (looking at you pet owners), but you have to make sure that you have a knowledgeable installer. Also, make sure you’re not in the camp of people where it will make the problem worse.

Here’s what I recommend you do next:

  1. A good carpet installer can make or break a waterproof carpet pad. Clicking here to get estimates from pre-qualified installers in your area from Home Advisor.
  2. Check out our carpet padding page to get an unbiased look at all of your padding options.
  3. If you plan on buying carpet, check out our unbiased carpet buying guide if you haven’t already.

Still have questions on moisture barrier padding? Let me know in the comments below.

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61 thoughts on “Does moisture barrier padding work?”

  1. Is using a slab rubber pad a good option with pets and high traffic? I see that the rebond pad with moisture barrier is a mixed bag so wondering if the slab rubber would be a good, though expensive solution. Thanks…..

  2. Hello Carpet Captain. Excellent insight. Thank you for your posts.
    We’re about to purchase carpet for our basement. We are getting it installed right on the concrete. I was just wondering if you’d be able to send me some reputable carpet underpads that are breathable to prevent mold/mildew/musty smell. We do not have a history with flooding or excess moisture in the basement. I am leaning towards the healthier choices 7/16 memory foam, which claims it is breathable. Just wondering if you are aware of any others. Thank you!

  3. I have a second floor home built in 1970’s. Installed new carpet in 2017 with Scotchguard moisture barrier padding. Now after 4 years it this pad has trapped moisture between pad and subfloor causing subfloor to buckle in some areas. Now I probable will have to remove carpet, pad and some subfloor too correct. Anyone else have this problem?

    1. I had a professional carpet cleaner flood my home, entirely by ‘clwan ng’ 2 rooms.
      Had to throw a ay carpets, padding furniture. Subfloor buckling, but t I’ve been trying to dry it out.
      I can’t afford a whole new floor(no insurance)

  4. Nancy Spanier

    Hi I have a first floor condo on the bay front. The building is stick built on pilings. There is a low air space from the ground to my floor. Ever since they sprayed insulation on the underside of the building I’ve had a musty odor. Will replacing the carpeting with a moisture proof padding be beneficial?

  5. Shameless advertisement (that I think will help you): A good vs bad carpet installer will not only make or break your carpet purchase, but they also can help you choose the best carpet pad for your home setup. Click here to enter your zip code and get free quotes from 3 top installers in your area.

  6. This is an excellent article and, unfortunately, I found it AFTER installing pet stain resistant carpeting along with the SpillSafe, moisture barrier pad. It has all been very horrifying. The carpet cleaning instructions are all based upon seeing the animal pee so that one can quickly blot up the puddle. The reality is that no self-respecting pet will do this in front of their owner. Instead, they do it late at night and you will not see it the next morning because the stain resistant carpet hides stains VERY well. With my older carpet, I could use a UV flashlight and animal stains (urine, vomit) glow back at me in horrifying splendor and I can then treat it with an enzymatic cleanser and my Rug Doctor class carpet machine. The pet stain resistant carpet hides stains from UV also!

    What I have now are invisible stains. I have to crawl all over the floor and sniff to find it. I thoroughly cleaned the entire surface and now I know that the carpet is clean, but that stupid moisture barrier pad LEAKS. The pad doesn’t go all of the way to the wall, so there is a two-inch gap so that animals that pee against the wall get UNDER the pad there. There are also seams that are not taped properly or not taped at all. It was also installed with STAPLES making two holes at the corners of each square foot area. As the article indicates, this DOES mean that pee leaks to the floor and is PROTECTED AGAINST CLEANING by that moisture barrier. I had to pull all of this up in order to get to the stain that was still wet after several days of being trapped.  

    I think that the carpet is fine, but a major section of the pad has to be replaced. Should I replace the ENTIRE pad or can I just replaced one-third? Should I go with NEW moisture barrier pad or can I mix two kinds of pad?

    1. Unfortunately, this is the exact nightmare scenario of moisture barrier that no one would ever think of until it happens. You can mix two pads. It’s up to you on the moisture barrier, but it sounds like the whole thing would need to be re-installed properly to be effective.

  7. Becky Townzen

    I have tore the carpet out ,pet urine and moisture built up over time carpet wouldn’t dry. Padding looks ,spill proof padding. Could i put new carpet over existing pad ? Or do I have to replace all of it ?

    1. Carpet Captain

      Pet urine almost always finds a way through the padding. Since padding is relatively inexpensive, I’d replace it. It’s important for the life of the carpet, and if you install carpet over it only to find there’s urine stuck in the pad, you have to rip the carpet up again.

  8. We just moved into a new house and surprise! the whole basement was used as a bathroom for the previous owner’s pets. We don’t have pets (and don’t intend on getting any soon). Our installer recommended a rubber pad in the basement but I’m concerned with the breathability of the rubber on the concrete. What are your thoughts?

    1. Carpet Captain

      This is a debate in the carpet industry. The rubber pad is great because it won’t be affected by moisture, but you’re also right that it doesn’t breathe well. This can lead to trapped moisture and possibly it shift toward your drywall. I personally tend to lean to the side of avoiding a moisture-blocking but not breathable pad in favor of a breathable pad that may need to be replaced more often.

  9. Within the last year we replaced the carpet in a couple bedrooms of the house. Beneath the carpet is parquet wood flooring and beneath the parquet is the concrete foundation/subfloor.
    The parquet in the left room, before we ever dove in, had loose tiles. We thoroughly went throughout the room and plucked up all the loose tiles and re-glued them back into place. Before we decided to go back with the carpet, we were going to repair and refinish the parquet, hence having re-glued to loose pieces. We also removed the tacking strips for the carpet, but only in the Left room.
    Fast forward to after we got the new carpet…
    A few weeks go by and the parquet floor begins to buckle beneath. Call the carpet people, they pull out a few of the buckled pieces to space out the parquet and re-glue the rest down for an even sub-surface. A couple weeks later it happens again in a different spot. Call the carpet people and they do not see how this has anything to do with them, the parquet must have been an issue before. I am in agreement with their assessment because I worked throughout that room and found it believable that the remaining parquet that I thought was solid must have been looser than I realized or possible broke loose after they had to re-nail the tacking strips back down. At this point I just want to eliminate future problems. Solution, we remove all the parquet in the one room… okay, it’s done, they come back and relay the carpet.

    I’m trying to not be difficult here, things happen.

    Now to the room to the Right…
    Same material situation: previously carpeted over parquet over concrete sub-floor.
    The Right Room Never had ANY, I mean ANY, Problems. The tacking strips were also still in place when they installed the new carpet.
    The same thing is now happening to the parquet in the other room. At this point I’m finding it hard to believe that we are having the same problems in a previously non-problem area.

    Could the carpet and carpet padding be trapping moisture beneath causing the wood to swell and buckle?
    If so, would the flooring company have had knowledge that this could have been a possible reaction to the moisture barrier of the carpet padding?
    Is there any more information that you have?

    Thanks !!!

  10. I’ve just started reading up on replacing carpeting in our house. Do I need moisture barrier padding if I have a good carpet with high quality stain and pet urine resistance?

    1. If you have a pet that pees, the benefit would be the pee couldn’t make it to the subfloor (which sometimes can be an issue with future animals or the stain wicking back up). As far as your carpet appearance, I don’t think moisture barrier or not would make too much of a difference.

  11. I just had some bedroom carpet installed today. I had bought it from a very reputable, 30 year old local business. I chose the most expensive padding available party because of the two sided moisture barrier it promoted. It went over a concrete slab foundation and I wanted to insulate and avoid humidity.

    I checked on the installers as they were beginning to lay the carpet, and noticed they didnt tape over the seams in the padding. When I questioned it, the lead installer said it doesnt need it because they used glue so the pad wont move. It seems he didnt even understand the concept of a vapor barrier. I insisted he needed to use a sealing tape over the seams and he agreed to do it. Ten minutes later, I see they are taping the seams with some removable painters tape they happened to have in their truck. I assume there is a specific sealing tape that should be used, but I didnt have any, so I gave them some duct tape and they reluctantly used that.

    The point is, if you decide to use padding as a vapor barrier, dont assume the installers will lay it correctly. A vapor barrier with 30 feet of open seams, is not a vapor barrier at all. It will not solve any problems, and as this article clearly explains, it might actually create problems.

    It seams rare to find quality work these days. You cant expect it with sub-contracted carpet installers. New here in Houston, but so far I’ve found the words “workmanship”, “tradesman” & “craftsman” are unrecognized words in a foreign language. But I digress.

    1. Appreciate your experience, and agree that you definitely can’t take correct installation for granted (same with you can’t expect correct recommendations on what to buy from salespeople). Pays to do your homework.

  12. I have the Spillguard moisture barrier pad and I hate it. My rugs look like they have been in place for over 10 years when the where started showing after 2 years. It feels like you are walking on a floor with no pad at all. This pad seems to have a better than 4+ rating; but is not protecting the rug like a pad without the moisture barrier that has a good cushion feel to it. It definitely keeps the water from going through; but when there has been a liquid spill, it runs over the top of the pad and under the rug. You are constantly chasing the spill as it runs over the barrier and under the rug. The spill is not controlled in one area. My 4 year old rugs are destroyed, knap is gone, and they look like crap and I am convinced it is due to the inflexibility of this pad. Would never agree to have another of these put down. $6000.00 down the drain, only to have to do it again 4 years later. We have tried to get help with the issue through the seller, the rug company and anywhere else to no avail. It is all on us. The last rug we had lasted over 20 years with the older traditional pad with a great quality rug. This last one had a 20 year warranty; so, thought it was good. Did we ever get taken with the rug, the pad, recommendations of the seller, the warranty that was not honored and no one ever came to look at the rug to determine if it was the rug or something else. When it feels like you are walking on base floor with no pad, the pad is not doing its job.

    1. This is a bummer. Sorry to hear it 🙁 I think moisture barriers are good for the right environment and expectations, but sometimes they do seem to backfire–particularly with the issue of spreading moisture and it possibly getting trapped.

  13. Jorge J Vargas

    I just moved in to a 1st floor studio apartment. Previous owner was there for 30 years. Pulled up the the carpet and there was very old 8 inch by 8 inch interlocking low end plywood flooring tiles. I pulled up that floor and am down to the concrete floor. Some of the wooden tiles look like they suffered some kind of water/liquid damage and the underside of the old carpet also looks like it has stains from some kind of water/liquid. Maybe water as there is baseboard heating and it looks like the pipe leaks. I am not sure what kind of carpet I am buying yet and not sure if I should pick the carpet before picking the pad. I want good cushion as I really like laying down on the floor. What padding would you recommend for me as a DIY project. The area I am covering is 19 feet long and 11 feet wide. The carpet will then connect to Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP) Flooring separated by what I believe is called “T-molding” (transition molding?) or a Multi-Purpose Reducer as I am not sure if the rug and the finished LVP will be the same height. Thank you so much in advance for any suggestions you can avail.

    1. Carpet Captain

      For DIY, I’d probably avoid moisture barrier. You’ve seen some of the pros and cons in this article, and I just think DIY adds to the risk of having a moisture “trapping” pad. A standard high density rebond makes good pad and is easy to manipulate, cut and install.

  14. Darcy Contomanolis


    I have a new area rug 5 x 8 and thinking about geeting an 8 x 10 . My oldest dog sometimes has accidents. I would like some type of not very thick plastic that I could put underneath so it doesn’t go through to hardwood floors. Also than if I want I could either dis-guard or wipe off urine from the plastic. Thoughts??

    1. Not a bad idea. Depending on the plastic sheet, it could let some liquid through (which may not be an issue if you get to it quickly). They make “vapor barriers” to go under certain types of floors that would completely eliminate moisture. You could cut it to fit your rug.

  15. Hi I live on a concrete slab and have two dogs ho sometimes urinate on training pads but sometimes miss! I installed padding with the water proof cover. Then installed berber over it. The balance of the house has berber that is 19 years old but has regular padding on it. Why is it when I shampoo the new carpet the carpet cleaner does not soak up any liquid but when I do it on the old carpet it does? I first thought it was the carpet cleaner but when I saw water being sucked out of the old carpet I knew it must something to do with the padding?

    1. Hmm… that does seem weird. If the barrier is installed correctly, it should keep moisture above the pad but able to be sucked up. I wonder if moisture is somehow penetrating the barrier but then getting stuck under the pad (due to the barrier preventing you from sucking it up)? That could cause problems and may be worth pulling up the carpet in section to see for sure.

  16. Candace Scarlata

    Do you know anything about the effectiveness of a waterproof backing that comes on the carpet? We have pets so want to protect our pad from possible urine smells, so we are debating between getting a pad with a moisture barrier or getting a normal pad paired with a carpet with a waterproof backing (specifically, Shaw’s titanium twist series called platinum series). Are there any drawbacks to having the barrier as part of the carpet rather than the pad?

    1. From what I’ve seen, it’s very effective. You can hold water on top of it and it won’t make it through. The problem is these products are newer so real-life results over years aren’t available yet. By real life results I mean: Does the barrier cause problems when cleaning? Does the barrier break down or get cracks in the protection? The latter is particularly concerning because if there’s a “kink in the armor” water can get under the barrier, but then it can’t be cleaned back up. An example would be, your dog pees and it gets through a crack of the worn backing, or it’s near a wall that is not sealed and gets under the carpet, then you can’t clean up the urine–it just sits under the carpet which will likely cause problems. This is true for pad or backing. So I think the barriers definitely work in theory, but you’ll want to trust your installer, and I’d definitely avoid it if your dog pees around walls.

      1. I’m checking in to see if you have a new opinion on Shaw’s Lifeguard (blue waterproof backing) products now that there are more years of data available. Thanks!

    2. We purchased the padding with the pet protector on it and we don’t have any pets any longer. What we have found after several years is that the waterproof barrier must be separating from the pad because after we vacuum the carpet there is a crinkling noise when we walk across the floor. After a few days it goes away until we vacuum again! Will not be buying that type of padding in our bedroom thus time around.

  17. Hey Captain, I am replacing my carpet in the upstairs bedrooms. I do have pets and one of them is older and will urinate on the carpets. I am planning on kilzing the subfloor prior to the carpet install. Is this a good idea or do you have a better one? Do you have any suggestion on brand/ type of padding or carpet that I should consider? Where should I considering buying from, Home Depot, Lowes or another flooring distributors?

    1. I don’t personally have experience with kilzing the subfloor prior to install but sounds like it could be a good protection. This page on the best carpet for pets should help you decide what you need to look for. This page will help you on where to buy carpet. Overall, I wouldn’t worry much about brands if you get the details right. Smartstrands and polyester do well against stains; nylon is very durable but brand matters a little more there just for stain protection.

    1. Carpet Captain

      I’ve never seen vinyl padding used for carpet? It would be water resistant, but is an option? I’d imagine vinyl would be too dense causing problems with installation an possibly the backing.

    1. Carpet Captain

      I haven’t heard of anyone doing it, but don’t see any problems with it except potentially one: if moisture gets under the plastic sheet, it won’t be able to evaporate up through the carpet. If it’s trapped in the padding beneath, these could be a great environment for bacteria.

  18. I just saw the new vapor barrier pad at the store, but I was really looking for a carpet I saw about 10 years ago that had a rubber pad attached the the carpet. Much like commercial carpet tiles. Sadly it does not seem to be available. But it was also quite expensive.

    I will start with my setup. I built my log home and in my basement I put on 3 coats of dry lox from the ground level down and the floor. Then I put in PT 2×4 sleepers on their sides with TG 3./4″ plywood flooring. NOT OSB. On top of that my basement is barely 4′ under ground and I-90 is 300′ behind my house and 12′ lower than my house. So for my house to flood I-90 will be under 12′ of water. So flooding is no issue. Hydrostatic pressure, is very remote due to how I built my floor and the vapor barrier under the concrete. Remote, not impossible.

    SO,, my main concern is a house full of insane dogs. lol. The only time there are issues if I go out. Not all to often, but it happens. So I wanted to stop the flow of a stain from getting into the pad. As it always wicks a stain and whatever it is made of back into the carpet above it. When I was younger, and this happened, I would literally wash the area about 10 times with more water than anyone would use. And a very large strong shop vac between each application of water and possible cleaner. My intention was to constantly try to extract more and more of the stain and to dilute whatever it was. Whether from a pet, or something like juices from my kids.

    So, as soon as I saw these so called waterproof pads, my red flags went up. 1. are they waterproof or water resistant. 2. Do they hold up to the abrasive action of the bottom of a carpet. 3 Will thing like urine break down the thin layer of water proofing on top of the pad.

    My other option and might be the way I go is to get the 24″ commercial tiles. Although with all those seams, it’s counter intuitive like metal roofing held down by drilling 100s of screws through it.

    But the true commercial tiles are glue down with a pressure sensitive glue, which I would think could add to water resistance? Then if there is an issue, pull up a couple tiles and redo the area. Even if it means to add glue to redo that area.

    70% sure I’m going to go with tiles. I might paint the subfloor with a polyurethane paint first. Then the pressure sensitive glue and then tiles.

    30% sure Id go with the new so called water proof paddng, and be VERY clear the seams MUST be water tight. Then regular type of carpeting.

    I also plan to buy some kind of convenient “carpet shampooer” I’m to old to wrestle the shop vac like I use too lol.

    My main goal is to stop any liquid from getting into the pad. So it can be easily and more completely extracted from the carpet. Once its in the pad or below it is near impossible to fully extract the liquid causing the stain.

    PS long long ago I had a neighbor that put down a 4 mill poly sheet under the carpet and on top of his padding. But this was his first floor over a basement.

    But you could clearly feel the plastic. To do this idea, you would need a very pliable barrier. And being pliable and thin usually means it will not be as strong.

    Hmm maybe NASA has something for me?

    1. Carpet Captain

      Not sure if you said (long post) but if it’s in a basement, I’d definitely go breathable moisture barrier pad if you go regular pad. And consider with glue down tiles if you have a major moisture problem (but doesn’t sound like that should be an issue), they may be more difficult to pull up. Sounds like you’ve got it all pretty well thought out–I do think the moisture barrier will hold up, so if dog urine is the main issue, it should work if installed correctly. But you could always call NASA, just be prepared to open your wallet 🙂

      1. In the summer we can have some moisture from humidity but when I get there I will be running my AC down there.

        I see NO evidence of moisture thru the floor, just can get humid.

        I will have to research this breathable vapor barrier for carpets

        1. Drucilla Middleton

          We live in a very humid climate. We installed a vapor barrier / pet friendly pad. Two years later my floor is buckling due to the moisture from under the house. Make sure pad is breathable.

  19. why doesn’t the same argument apply for pet urine as water for leaks making the problem worse?…that there could be a tear right where they urinate and it could seep down in, right?

  20. Moisture barrier padding are trash and cause a headache when there’s a flood in the basement. this types of scenarios are hard to detect due to the fact that this pads will not transfer to carpet into is 100% saturated and then it just slowly allows water to go through, by the time you find the basement flooded you have mold growing on seam tape and under any furniture and lets not talk about your drywall walls. STAY AWAY FROM THIS!

  21. I have a three season cabin which is basically open underneath. It had a carpet remant over vinyl and then kraft paper under it. I am putting carpeting back in and i was wondering , do I need a moisture barrier at all or would regular padding work? Any help would be appreciated.

    1. Are you leaving the vinyl flooring and putting the carpet on top of it? If so, vinyl flooring acts as a moisture barrier. If you aren’t, you might consider not pulling it up and then using standard (rebond etc) pad.

  22. It sounds crazy, but when I walk on my carpet the moisture barrier padding is noisy. It sounds like you are walking on plastic. Has anyone experienced this. I really hate it.

    1. Haven’t heard this before, but I’ll be interested to see if other people have that problem. I think it’d be a turn off for many people. Hopefully, it quiets over time. Keep me posted–have you brought it up to your retailer?

    2. Yes, I did a couple of jobs where I thought I was walking on bubble wrap. But, some higher end moisture barrier pads are good and nice to work with.

  23. What do you recommend for finishing a basement with a cement floor? I’m ready to start searching and pricing, but am torn which direction to go. I’m in PA where we see all 4 seasons with humid summers, and have never had actual flooding in my basement (had a sewer backup a few times in 10 years, but have since replaced my terra-cotta with pvc).

    1. It’s a difficult question because, if there’s a moisture issue, no pad will work out perfectly. If you think the basement will flood, I like either 100% rubber or not-fancy rebond. The rebond because you can afford to replace it if there’s flooding. If you have radiant heat, you likely need rubber. If you have just high humidty, rebond can work because it’s breathable. Here’s the biggest takeaway: avoid anything that is organic/not synthetic.

      1. I am carpeting a cement floor basement as well. I am on LI, NY and we do have humid summers & 4 seasons but don’t have floods or anything like that in the basement. The installer is pushing a synthetic 32oz felt and I see now from your info that it should be a synthetic fiber not a natural felt. What do you think about this vs the rebound? The installer says the rebound acts as a sponge and will break down a lot faster than the synthetic felt. Thanks

        1. Oh, and the installer said rebound padding gives off bad fumes for several weeks after installation where the synthetic felt doesn’t. Is this true?

  24. Does flat rubber padding help in an area that could get water backup? If it does flood can you just dry out the rubber padding and reuse it at that point?

    1. If it’s 100% rubber (which not all are), yes that should work. The biggest thing is to make sure whatever material pad you get is synthetic–so it doesn’t mold/mildew as easily. Pads like rebond can work, but they act more like a sponge and take more effort and time to dry. Avoid any organic fiber pad.


    My mother used the new “pet pad called charity care” but we have problems using some vacuums due to the plastic covering on the carpet pad. Can you suggest any vacuums that are acceptable t use on this pad? The main problem is you cant push the vacuum, it seems to stick to the carpet.

    1. Are you sure the vacuums problem is the padding? Usually when people have trouble pushing their vacuums it’s because of a thick or tall carpet creating problems with high vacuum suction. If you haven’t already tried it, raise the height of your vacuum cleaner (if that’s an option). I have an article on my favorite vacuums for the money ( You might check that out too, if you think it’s a vacuum issue. Can’t guarantee it would solve the problem, but I haven’t heard of people having that issue with those vacuums.

  26. I am building on a slab so am I reading these articles correctly that I should focus on the Slab Rubber Pad or the Frothed Foam?

    1. Both are decent options. I assume a slab below ground level? If there’s a moisture problem, there’s no perfect answer–I generally recommend people just stick with concrete and use rugs. The two you mentioned are good pad options. You might also want to go with a lower pile height carpet and avoid wool carpet or fiber pads because they hold moisture.

    1. Sorry to hear about your floor! Moisture barrier padding shouldn’t cause your carpet to buckle (or was this under a different type of flooring?), but poor installation could. I’d need more details to help you more. Feel free to email me in the contact form. I’d also get in touch with your installer ASAP and notify them of the problem.

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