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Carpet Padding Types

Image showing
a few different types of carpet padding

One of the most important factors to consider when choosing carpet padding is the type of material that the carpet padding is made of. The majority of carpet padding will fit into one of three categories: Polyurethane Foam, Sponge Rubber, or Felted Fiber, though there are different varieties available in each category. There are also special treatments that can be applied to carpet padding, such as stain protection and odor fighting capabilities. Read on to learn more about the different types of carpet padding on the market.

Note: The type of generic fiber used is often listed on the carpet cushion's label. If it is not, your salesperson can often tell you what the carpet padding is made of.

Types of Carpet Padding – Polyurethane, Rubber, Fiber

Polyurethane Foam (also known simply as foam carpet padding or urethane foam padding)

Samples of the three types of polyurethane carpet padding; Prime, Bonded and Froth

Polyurethane foam, the most commonly used carpet padding, comes in three common varieties: Prime, Bonded, and Froth. Each of these varieties is available in different densities and thicknesses, offering a wide range of selection.

  • Prime polyurethane foam cushions are made using liquid ingredients that, when combined, create a large mass of foam that can be sliced into sheets and used as carpet padding. There are three main types of prime polyurethane cushions available – conventional, grafted, and densified, each having a slightly different manufacturing process.
  • Bonded polyurethane foam padding (often called rebond) is usually made of bits and pieces of recycled foam combined together to create a multi–colored, solid form. Because it is made of recycled materials, bonded polyurethane foam padding greatly reduces the amount of foam being sent to landfills, making it more eco–friendly than some other choices.
  • Froth polyurethane foam carpet padding is made by applying liquid ingredients directly to the backside of carpet, creating an attached carpet pad, or to another substrate to create a separate carpet cushion. This is considered one of the best carpet cushions available.

Sponge Rubber (also known simply as rubber carpet padding)

Sample of
synthetic sponge rubber carpet padding, also referred to as rubber carpet padding

Sponge rubber carpet cushions, made from natural or synthetic rubber, are available in two main patterns – flat or waffle (also called rippled or wavy). Sponge rubber carpet padding that is waffled is generally soft underfoot giving a luxurious feel, whereas sponger rubber padding that is flat is usually denser and has a firmer feel underfoot.

Felted Fiber (also known as felt or fiber carpet padding)

Samples of felt
carpet padding, also know as fiber carpet padding

Felted fiber carpet cushion is made of natural or synthetic fibers interlocked into sheets of felt, creating padding that tends to be firm underfoot. Natural fibers include wool and jute and synthetic fibers include nylon, polyester, and acrylic. These fibers are often rubberized for added durability. Felted fiber cushions can sometimes be made from recycled textile fibers, making them a more eco–friendly choice.

Note: Treatments that offer stain protection and odor fighting capabilities are among recent advancements in carpet cushion technology. Examples include STAINMASTER™, Arm and Hammer®, and Carpenter's Odor–Eaters carpet cushions.

To learn more about carpet padding including the importance of density and thickness, visit FindAnyFloor's section on Carpet Padding Categories.