Carpet Pad, Cushion, Underlayment

Is carpet pad really that important?

by Chris Moline LEED AP, CAPS

Pad, padding, carpet underlayment, cushion… whatever you call it, is the unseen and often unsung hero of a professional, long-lasting carpet installation.
If you’ve never bought carpet for a home, I’m glad you’re here.
If you have, and feel you were well-educated by your sales person, you are one of the fortunate few, my friend.

On my desk is a piece of yellow foam, 3/8 of an inch thick, masquerading as pad… and it’s bothering me. Of course, it meets FHA base-grade standards for pad, but it weighs in at a paltry 3-pound per cubic foot density… but that’s not the real story.
The real story is – tada! – that “pad” will void your warranty, no matter how excellent and well-thought-out your carpet choice. In fact, few sales people take the time to educate their customers in the area of the importance of pad.

Let’s go to the go-to resource (makes sense, huh?), the Carpet & Rug Institute. They mandate that carpet cushion should be “no more than 7/16 inch thick and no less than 1/4 inch with 6 pounds per cubic feet density or greater. If the carpet is a berber or a low profile carpet, choose a cushion no more than 3/8 inch thick with 8 pounds density.” I couldn’t have said it any better myself, and I have, thousands of times over the years because it is so vital.
Check out this picture of junk pad under good carpet:

cheap-pad-under-good-carpet
Base-grade pad caused premature texture loss in a quality carpet that would have lasted many more years.

We do not sample that type of pad, but it is available, begrudgingly. Our standards start at 6 pound and range through the most beautiful 22 pound slab rubber pad you’ve ever  felt underfoot. We even have TempurPedic pad, a delightful pad made from Tempur-Pedic memory foam that feels better than many of the more-dense options. We take it very seriously and think you should, too. That’s why our professional sales staff will take the time to work with you to ensure you’ll be pleased with your choice years from now.

Feel free to email with any of your “pad” related questions and I’ll do my best to get you the best answer in a timely manner.

All the best!

chris is our General Manager of Retail Sales and is a Pad Council expert with over 20 years' experience in flooring
Chris is our General Manager of Retail Sales.