Choosing the right carpet padding is essential to the lifetime of your carpet. From carpet padding class to carpet padding
density and thickness, there can be a huge difference from one carpet pad to another. In addition, special consideration must
be taken when installing carpet padding over radiant floor heating or with certain types of carpeting, such as Berber or
woven carpets. As usual, FindAnyFloor is here to help. Read on to learn about carpet padding criteria so that you can choose
the right carpet padding for your carpet.
Carpet Padding Class
Carpet cushions are classified by the Carpet Cushion Council into two different classes for residential applications and
three for commercial applications, depending on their thickness and density. Residential Class I carpet pads should only be
used in low traffic areas (bedrooms, dining rooms, etc.) whereas Class II cushions can be used in all residential areas
including those with high traffic levels. Likewise, the higher the commercial class, the more traffic it can handle.
Carpet Padding Density
The density of carpet padding is calculated by measuring the total weight of one cubic foot of carpet padding. In general,
denser or heavier carpet padding can handle heavier traffic than those that are less dense or heavy. 5–8 pounds per
cubic foot is most common for residential applications, though some types of high grade carpet padding can have densities
over 30 lb/cu ft.
Note: Some manufacturers instead measure the weight of carpet padding in ounces per square
yard, which tends to make comparisons between the two measurements difficult.
Carpet Padding Thickness
Carpet padding can come in thicknesses anywhere from under 1/4" up to 1/2". In higher traffic areas, such as
hallways and stairwells, it is usually recommend by the carpet manufacturer that you use thin, dense carpet padding no
thicker than 3/8". Using a pad that is too thick or lightweight can cause the carpet backing to over–flex and fall
apart. Thick carpet padding can provide a luxurious feel underfoot but should only be used in low traffic areas such as
Note: Because the manufacturer of your carpet generally knows what is best for their
products, you should always follow their recommendations. Many carpet manufacturers will void your carpet's warranty if you
use carpet padding that does not meet their specifications.
Special Considerations about Carpet Padding
Many carpet padding manufacturers will list their padding's R–value which is a measurement of the resistance to heat
flow that the carpet padding provides. Typical carpet cushion R–values range from .2R –2R, with higher
R–values meaning higher levels of heat and sound insulation.
Carpet Padding with Radiant Floor Heating
When installing carpet padding with radiant heating, keep in mind that installing denser, thicker padding with a higher
R–value will mean the heat has to work harder to reach your room. In this case, it is often recommended that you choose
the lowest density and thickness recommended by the carpet manufacturer.
Carpet Padding for Heat or Sound Insulation
If you simply want to add sound insulation or heat insulation to your room, you should choose the highest thickness and
density suitable for your carpet and area of installation. Never choose a padding that is thicker than what your carpet
manufacturer recommends. Installing padding that is too thick can not only void your carpet's warranty but can significantly
reduce the lifetime of your carpet.
Special Carpet Considerations
Because Berber carpets need firm pads, they often require a special padding made specifically for Berber carpets. The
general rule of thumb is that the larger the loop in the carpet, the firmer the pad should be.
Woven carpets also require special consideration as they need very heavy, dense padding. In some cases, the manufacturer
will specify the use of heavy, flat froth foam carpet padding.
For more help on choosing the right carpet padding for your home or business check out FindAnyFloor's section on Types of Carpet
Padding, or visit our Flooring Forums where flooring professionals are always happy to help.