Can You Install Carpet Without Padding?

There is no better feeling than walking on carpet with a nice padding underneath it. The way it cushions your walking and dampens the sound of footsteps has many homeowners begging for it.

While carpet padding is nice to have it’s not always needed, but there are some situations where you should or may even be required to have it.

Let’s go over the pros and cons of carpet padding and whether you should have it or not.

1. Carpet Padding Is 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

Carpet padding will cut down on the noise from people walking and help to reduce the noise you hear from floors above you.

The padding is foam and foam works great to quiet things down.

The foam also softens your walking which helps to quieten the steps you hear from above.

3. Insulation

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. Padding 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 The Carpet 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.

6. Furniture Wears Out Carpet

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. Carpet Padding Can 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.

The Downsides Of Carpet Padding

Now that we know the good that carpet padding brings let’s list off the downsides.

1. Carpet Padding 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.

2. Don’t Install Padding In The Basement

You should avoid installing carpet padding for basement floors.

Basements always end up being damp and moist areas and the foam padding can trap this water especially if there is a flood in your basement.

When there is water, doesn’t need to be a flood but just normal moisture in the basement, you get mold which is very bad.

It’s harder to get the water out of the foam padding with many restoration companies not even doing it and instead they tear up the carpet and padding.

If you’re going to have carpet in your basement it’s better to have no padding as it’s far easier to clean up when there is water.

3. Don’t Put Padding In Rentals

Padding under carpets feels great but many landlords don’t put padding on carpets as it gets torn up anyway.

You tend to replace carpets more on rentals than your own home and adding padding is just an extra cost that is not worth it.

Along with it taking more time to repair and fix, it’s just not worth it to have carpet padding for rental property, but that is just my opinion.

4. Padding Is 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.

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