Providing the ultimate amount of comfort in your home should always be a top priority when it comes to home investments. Whether you are choosing to lay new carpet or seek a new design with a beautiful area rug, the choice of padding that belongs underneath either your carpet or area rug is an important selection that will determine the outcome of your floor quality.
Let Us Help You.
When it is time to make the decision, how do you decide what is right for you? Let us help you with the research. Surprisingly, there is a lot of it! Carpet padding (also known as carpet cushion) versus rug padding are two very different options for your home and we can tell you everything you need to know right here. Just because they both have the word padding in their name does not mean they serve the same purposes - and making a quick, uninformed decision can set you up for spending more money in the long term.
Our Ultimate Padding Guide.
Oftentimes this type of information is not readily available, and it is not something we learn in primary school. So, let’s start with a few general questions: what exactly is carpet padding? How do I know what rug pad to buy? Is there a certain size I should buy and do I need to replace it? Can the wrong selection ruin my area rug?
This guide is here to provide you with all the answers you need. A “how-to”, “why” and even “what is this” for all the padding beginners out there! Follow along to better understand the world of carpet and rug pad needs for your home.
What is a Rug Pad?
Rug pads help keep your area rug in place. Designed with anti-slip technology, rug pads will work on multiple types of surfaces including hardwoods, tile, laminate, outdoor surfaces and even on carpet!
What is Carpet Padding?
Padding or cushion is the layer of spongy material between carpet and floor. It’s the padding — not the carpet — that determines whether the carpet feels good or great under your feet.
Why Choose Carpet Padding over Rug Padding?
Rug Padding and Carpet padding serve two very different purposes. Let’s look into those a little further…
With rug padding, you are looking to serve the purpose of alleviating your area rugs to prevent bunching up that can cause tripping and falling - and it also can help stop your rug from slipping or sliding. Area rugs that slip & slide require constant repositioning and can cause damage abrasion to your floor surface that will eventually need constant readjustment. Additionally, rug pads can help to protect the longevity of your hard surfaces by shielding your floors from scratches and abrasions as well as any dust and debris that can occur. Solid surface coverage rug pads help to inhibit dirt/dust/debris from migrating down through an area rug. Open weave construction rug pads help allow for air flow and make vacuuming easier. Rug padding offers a variety of options for your home, including low profile choices for doorways with clearance problems and multiple cushion variations for added luxury within the home.
When it comes to the purpose of carpet padding, you are looking to help minimize the stress on your flooring, reduce noise, add insulation, increase cushion and comfort for your feet. Furthermore, carpet padding can control and minimize stains from going into your subfloor for easier cleanup if they have a barrier layer.
Why Use Rug Padding or Carpet Padding in Your Home?
As a consumer, you may be asking yourself, what is the use of these types of paddings? Is this a true practical investment in my home? Let us break down some realistic uses for both rug and carpet padding options before your purchase.
Rug Pad Uses:
- Cushion: With up to ¼” in thickness, your rug pad can provide a layer of luxury to any room with a soft cushion beneath your feet underneath your area rug.
- Rug lifespan: Will help to lengthen a rug’s longevity because they prevent contact with the floor, protecting it from dust and debris. Additionally they help stabilize and reduce stretching of the rug.
- Home safety: Durable, strong, and non-slip helps keep rugs in place to prevent bunching and shifting, assisting in the prevention of slips and falls.
- Floor protection: Rug Pads can protect your floors from scratches and debris.
- Add a layer for soundproofing: Rug pads absorb the majority of the impact from foot traffic.
Carpet Padding Uses:
- Provides insulation: Another of the undisputed qualities of carpet padding is that it improves the overall thermal insulation properties of a floor covering. In fact, typical carpet paddings have been measured to have “R-values” from .75 to 2.0. R-values are commonly used to measure a material’s resistance to heat flow.
- Cushioning: The most universally accepted benefits of carpet padding are that it makes a carpet feel better and look better longer. While luxury is a subjective quality and cannot be measured, cushion does impart resilience and resistance to pressure, which contribute to a carpet’s feeling of luxury.
- Carpet lifespan: A quality padding can help preserve a carpet’s look and can extend its life and comfort by providing tougher protection against wear and tear.
- Soundproofing: According to the Carpet Cushion Council, A carpeted environment is quiet because the pile surface absorbs surface noise at the source. But a carpet installed with a separate cushion can make the room even more quiet. Tests conducted in the Kodaras Acoustical Laboratories reverberation chambers substantiate this. For example, in floor sound absorption tests, a carpet laid directly on concrete floor, with no cushion, measured a Noise Reduction Coefficient of 0.25. In a like test, the same carpet with a cushion on a concrete floor measured a Noise Reduction Coefficient of 0.65, a considerably better performance. Separate cushion can also reduce impact noise transmission. On a concrete floor with no cushion, a carpet registered an impact noise rating of +14. The same carpet with separate cushion had an impact noise rating of +25—again significant improvement.
What Type of Rug Pad Do I Need?
The most common and readily available non-slip rug pads on the market are made with:
Types of Rug Pads:
There are several options when it comes to rug pads for your home as well. Below is a list of options to choose from based on your specific needs.
- Ultra Natural: This premium non-slip rug pad is ideal for use over hard-surface floors. Will help to protect your rug and floors with the Ultra Natural rug pad. Ultra is an open weave, low profile designed to allow maximum air flow while helping to keep the area rug in place. Made with natural rubber.
- Super Grip Natural: This high quality cushioned non-slip rug pad is ideal for use over hard-surface floors. Features superior grip strength to help keep rugs from sliding and slipping. Help protect your rug and your floors with a Super Grip Natural rug pad. Provides medium cushion. Made with natural rubber.
- Rug Grip Natural: This high quality cushioned non-slip rug pad is ideal for use over hard-surface floors. Features superior grip strength to help keep rugs from sliding and slipping on hard surfaces. Help protect your rug and your floors with the Rug Grip Natural rug pad. Rug Grip is a tighter open weave low profile that allows for air flow while still providing good surface area contact coverage. Made with natural rubber.
- Ultra: Ultra is the most affordable solution for keeping area rugs in place on hard surface floors. You won’t even feel it under your feet as you walk across your area rug and finally open and close doors without having to worry about dangerous and frustrating bunching or sliding anymore. Perfectly low profile, it’s designed to secure thicker area rugs that don’t need extra cushion. Made with PVC.
- Rug Grip: Rug Grip is the most popular solution for keeping area rugs in place on hard surface floors without breaking the bank. You won’t even feel it under your feet as you walk across your area rug and finally open and close doors without having to worry about dangerous and frustrating bunching or sliding anymore.
- Super Grip: Super Grip is the most popular solution for keeping area rugs in place on hard surface floors. Fast and easy to install, every step is softer with Super Grip.
- Outdoor: Outdoor is the best solution for keeping area rugs in place on outdoor hard-surface environments. Fast and easy to install, every step is softer with Outdoor. Specially formulated for the outdoor environment.
- Premium Low Profile: Premium Low Profile is a premium “dual purpose” rug pad. Offering floor defense under any type of area rug on both carpeted as well as hard-surface floors. Backed with a natural/synthetic rubber blend designed for maximum gripping power, Premium Low Profile is perfect for keeping thicker area rugs in place with a low profile that instantly solves door threshold issues. Made with premium felt/rubber and solid surface area coverage.
- Premium Deluxe Cushioned: Premium Deluxe Cushioned is a premium cushioned “dual purpose” rug pad. Offering floor defense under any type of area rug on both carpeted as well as hard-surface floors, Premium Deluxe Cushioned is CRI Green Certified and backed with a natural/synthetic rubber blend designed for maximum gripping power.
- Rug on Carpet: Rug on Carpet is perfectly designed to help combat carpet shift and keep any type of area rug in place over carpeted floors with a low profile that instantly solves door threshold issues. Double coated with a water-based,non-transferable, pressure sensitive adhesive.
Rug Pad Materials
Rug pads are made of different materials based on certain needs for the home. Below is a list of the materials used in our rug pads to help determine your purchase.
- Premium Low Profile and Premium Deluxe Cushion:
- Rug On Carpet: Made with dry adhesive that locks rugs in place on top of carpet while laying flat.
- Super Grip and Outdoor: Made with woven polyester scrim and high grade vinyl.
- Super Grip Natural, Rug Grip Natural and Ultra Natural: Made with woven polyester scrim and high grade natural rubber compound from real rubber trees.
- Rug Grip and Ultra: Made with woven polyester scrim.
What Type of Carpet Padding Do I Need?
At the Carpet Cushion Council you will find a great source of information when it comes to carpet padding material, criteria, and benefits. This knowledge can be very helpful in your journey to finding the right carpet padding for your next install:
Each cushion is broken into different specific groups. The foam, fiber and rubber have various traits dependent upon their weight, thickness, and material which contributes to their install. According to the CCC there are several different types of carpet cushion to choose from!
- Prime Polyurethane Carpet Cushion: Prime polyurethane foam is a firmer version of the same cushioning used in upholstered furniture, mattresses, and automobile seats.
- Bonded Polyurethane Foam Carpet Cushion: Bonded polyurethane foam (also called rebond) is quite unique. It is easy to recognize, because it is formed by combining small chopped foam pieces, of different sizes and usually different colors, into one solid piece.
- Polyolefin Foam Carpet Cushion: Polyolefin foam is made using thermoplastic processing equipment.
- Mechanically Frothed Polyurethane Carpet Cushion: Froth polyurethane foam is made using carpet backing machinery. Liquid ingredients are applied, either directly to the back of some carpet styles, or to a non-woven material (for making separate cushion).
- Fiber Carpet Cushion: Fiber cushion uses virgin and recycled natural or man-made fibers which are interlocked to produce sheets of felt. There are two distinct varieties of fiber cushion. Natural fibers include felt, animal hair, and jute This is one of the original types of carpet cushion, dating back to the earliest days of machine-made carpet. Man-made fiber materials are typically a blend of polyester, polypropylene, and nylon fibers.
- Rubber Carpet Cushion: Waffled rubber cushion is made by molding natural or synthetic rubber. Heat cures the rubber and forms a waffle pattern. This variety produces a soft, resilient cushion whose luxurious feel is particularly useful for residences.
Let's Compare. What we think you need to know.
Both carpet and rug “padding” share many similarities. So it can be easy to feel confused when trying to understand the distinctions between both types.
Understanding the distinction:
- Carpet Padding: is wall to wall padding that adheres to your flooring underneath your carpet.
- Rug Padding: is for the use under area rugs, runners, outdoors rugs, etc., and are for the protection of not only your flooring, but the safety of your home and rugs as well.
Understanding Padding Thickness
Regardless of whether you are working with carpet padding or rug padding, The American Disabilities Act requires floor coverings should not exceed a thickness of half an inch, and any exposed edges of the carpet should be fastened to the floor. ADA-compliant carpet should be a level or textured loop, level cut pile, or level cut/uncut pile with firm cushions.
This ADA standard links directly to our recommendation of keeping your rug pads between 1/8 inch to 1/4 inch - because yes, your rug pad and/or carpet padding can be too thick and cause tripping if not paired well with your rug or carpet. Padding should not be more than ¼-inch thick.
Can the Wrong Padding Choice Ruin My Rug or Carpet?
Possibly. This is why we are here to guide you as much as we can. The padding provided by the manufacturer will always provide a detailed description of what the padding is made of as well as what it is designed for in hopes to provide longevity to your area rug.
When working with rug pads be sure to select your pad based on your specific needs. By following the ADA guidelines (keeping your rug pads between 1/8 inch to 1/4 inch - because yes, your rug pad and/or carpet padding can be too thick and cause tripping if not paired well with your rug or carpet. Padding should not be more than ¼-inch thick) and always verifying that you follow your floor manufacturer's direction for any material type compatibility or recommendation - there is less worry for your rug pad to ruin your rug and/or carpet to avoid problems down the road.
When it comes to carpet padding according to the Carpet Cushion Council it can add a useful life to a carpet. Carpets installed over carpet padding can be more economical and be more luxurious. Carpet padding can not only improve your carpets acoustical properties, but thermal insulation properties of the floor covering and can also reduce the impact exerted on floor covering by one half. With carpet padding, maintenance costs are often lower during a padding carpet’s life, and carpets with separate padding can be less costly to install (www.carpetcushion.org).
How Do I Buy a Rug Pad Vs. Carpet Padding?
When making the decision to purchase a rug pad for your home, be sure to arrive at our Rug Pad website for all your rug pad needs. Simply follow a few guidelines:
- What type of flooring will your rug pad be covering?
- Do you have any threshold concerns? Low profile rug pads are designed specifically for this reason as to not cause any traffic issues when opening and closing doors in the home.
- Does the location of your rug pad require an additional layer of cushioning?
These types of decisions will lead you to the best answer when determining how to buy the best-fit rug pad for your home. With our wide range of options listed on our website, it is important to know what your needs are and how to purchase the most suited rug pad for your rug to offer the best protection!
According to www.homedepot.com - “When choosing carpet padding, think about its density and thickness. The density of a carpet pad's foam is measured by pounds per cubic foot. For good comfort and durability, experts recommend a foam in the 6 pound to 8 pound range. The denser it is, the longer and better the pad will hold up. What’s underneath your carpet can make your room quieter and warmer. Choosing the best carpet pad also makes a difference in looks and durability. There are various types of padding. Most are made of foam or fiber. The ideal pad for your new carpet will have the right combination of density and thickness. Go for luxurious memory foam in a bedroom. In basements or high humidity areas, choose water repellent carpet padding. Always check the carpet maker’s recommendations before making a final choice. Installing carpet is a project you can do yourself. Or if you’d prefer, use our carpet installation service.”
Are Rug Pads Necessary?
Yes! We recommend a rug pad for every rug in your home to help ensure safety. Not only are rug pads an economical investment for your home, but they offer safety, comfort, design options, protection, cleanliness, and more. Our rug pads also help keep your rug’s natural beauty through their design, providing air circulation and making vacuuming easier.
When it comes to carpet padding, the benefits outweigh the disadvantages. Yes, it is recommended to install carpet padding underneath your carpet, for a long lasting durable floor.
Frequently Asked Questions.
- Rug pad pricing will range on the sizing of your rug pad as well as your needs. Thickness and material will also determine the outcome of the price of your rug pad (depending on the size & style). A low profile rug pad will range from $9.59 to $92.99 with minimal cushion and will cost less than a Premium Deluxe Cushioned, ranging from $24.99 to $339.99 based on the density and size.
- Carpet Padding will also range based on thickness and sizing. According to www.homeadvisor.com the cost to add carpet padding for a standard 9 by 9 square foot room falls between $185 and $425. The average is $3.75 per square foot with labor and all materials included. The padding material sells for an average of $1.50 per square foot.
- Links: Provided are a few resources for additional information on rug pads and carpet padding.