Walking on a plush carpet with soft padding underneath is like a cozy embrace for your feet – it’s hard to resist that comfort. I understand why homeowners often yearn for it.
However, let’s talk about carpet padding. While it’s undeniably delightful, it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. There are situations where it’s a must-have and others where it’s optional. Sometimes, it’s even required for specific carpet types or warranty coverage.
So, let’s dive into the world of carpet padding. We’ll explore its perks and drawbacks to help you decide if it’s the right fit for your home. Whether you’re seeking that extra plushness or considering practicality, we’ve got you covered.
1. It’s Comfortable
Walking on padded carpets is soft and easier on your feet.
The carpet has more give and bounce and does not have the hardness like wood or concrete floors have. Without the padding, you can still feel the hardness of the floor underneath no matter how high of a pile carpet you get.
2. Sound Dampening
I find carpet padding greatly makes a significant difference in noise reduction. When people walk around, the padding acts as a buffer, reducing the audible impact of their footsteps. Given that the padding is made of foam, it’s naturally adept at dampening sounds.
Furthermore, the foam’s cushiony nature provides a softer walking experience and minimizes the clatter of steps from floors above. If noise is a concern for you, I’d personally vouch for the benefits of investing in quality carpet padding.
Carpet padding will provide some insulation, especially in a drafty home.
The cool air or warm air is trapped more with the foam padding under the carpet.
The padding will also keep cool drafts down as airflow finds its way under the carpet. The wind can’t move as easily when there is padding under your carpet.
4. Extends The Life Of Your Carpet
The padding under the carpet will extend its life and is often a requirement depending on your carpet’s warranty.
You could void your warranty if you don’t get padding for your carpet if it requires it.
The padding has more give and helps extend its life, especially in high traffic areas of your home.
Without the padding, the carpet backing is rubbing directly on the floor which wears it out much quicker. It’s the same reason we wear socks with our shoes, to protect our feet and the shoe – it’s the same for padding – it protects the carpet and the flooring.
5. Makes Vacuuming More Effective
You know how you put your hand over your vacuum cleaner nozzle and it cuts the suction, but keep a little gap and the vacuum cleaner keeps working?
It’s the same idea with padding under carpets.
The foam padding gets the carpet up higher (gives it distance from the hard floor underneath), itself has holes for airflow, and thus your vacuum cleaner has more suction power to clean.
The weight of furniture puts dents in your carpet, you notice them when you move the furniture.
Keep the furniture there long enough and the dent stays for a while if not forever.
The dent in the carpet is lessened with padding as the padding is more forgiving than the fibers of the carpet. The padding will help push the carpet fibers back up as the padding’s natural state is to be expanded, that is why it feels good to walk on as it helps to lift your foot slightly.
7. Help With Uneven Areas
If you do it right, you can use different thickness carpet padding at different locations of your floor to even out the floor.
For example, if there is a tricky threshold from one room to the other you can use different thickness carpet padding to even it out.
Carpet padding is not a replacement or a fix for uneven floors or thresholds, but if the situation calls for it you can do this.
Now that we know the good that carpet padding brings let’s list off the downsides.
1. Can Absorb Odors And Liquids
The foam used for carpet padding is unique and most of it doesn’t want to absorb liquids and odors but it’s still foam and still does it.
You will need to be more thorough when cleaning spills to make sure you get all the mess out, which makes having a good shop vacuum handy.
Modern carpets and padding is making this problem less of an issue as the years go on, some of the carpets you these days are quite impressive in how they deal with liquids. But nothing is perfect so you need to keep in mind spills and odors.
I personally believe that installing carpet padding in basements might not be the best idea. Given the inherent nature of basements being prone to dampness and moisture, adding foam padding can create potential traps for this moisture, especially during unfortunate events like flooding.
And here’s the real kicker: when moisture settles in, mold isn’t far behind. Mold not only damages the carpet and padding but also poses health risks.
I’ve seen many restoration companies find it challenging to get all the water out from foam padding. In numerous cases, they resort to ripping out both the carpet and the padding due to the complications of moisture retention.
So, if you’re considering carpeting your basement, my recommendation would be to skip the padding. Not only does this make any potential cleanup much more straightforward, but it also helps mitigate the risk of mold growth.
I suggest rentals avoid padding under carpets. The reality is, rentals often see more wear and tear than privately owned homes, and carpets in such properties tend to need replacement more frequently. The addition of padding, in these circumstances, becomes an added expense that is not worth it.
Moreover, the time taken for repairs and maintenance is also longer when there’s padding involved. Personally, I lean towards the idea that, for rental properties, it might be better to skip the carpet padding. But then again, that’s just my perspective.
4. An Extra Cost
Most carpet sellers and installers charge extra for padding. It’s not as expensive as the carpet but it’s also not free, the cost for it has to come from somewhere.
Many installers also charge extra if there is furniture to move, though some may include it.
The price you pay will depend on the company of the installer and the manufacturer of the carpets. Make sure to get everything in writing and know what your carpet warranty means as some require you to have carpet padding.