How to Pick the Best Carpet Padding

Carpet padding is a material placed underneath the carpet. It acts as a cushion between the carpet and the subfloor. The best carpet pads vary in price, thickness, and weight. Most carpet pads are inexpensive.

What Is Carpet Padding?

Some carpet brands attach a carpet pad to their products. Carpet padding options are often made from a type of polyurethane foam. The material is common in mattresses and furniture. Carpet padding should be durable, easy to install, and inexpensive.

Carpet Padding vs. Rug Pads

Carpet pads are glued or stapled to the subflooring. Rug pads protect your area rug and have non-slip padding. They improve the airflow between your area rug and the floor. Rug pads make vacuuming more efficient.

Unlike area rugs, carpet padding goes under the carpet wall-to-wall. It’s also glued to the carpet and the floor. Rug pads are removable and aren’t compatible with carpets. We also don’t recommend using carpet padding to cushion area rugs.

Types of Carpet Padding

There are different carpet padding types available. Choosing the best carpet padding for your home can be challenging. Each carpet padding option has its benefits and downsides.

Besides insulation and noise reduction, padding helps increase a carpet’s longevity.

1. Frothed Foam

Like rubber padding, frothed foam is one of the most durable options in the market. It resembles Foam padding. The frothed foam features a non-woven material attached using a carpet-backing machine.

The foam weighs at least 12 lbs per cubic foot. Frothed foam is durable and feels comfortable, but it is expensive.

2. Rebonded Foam

Rebonded carpeting pads are the most common as they’re affordable. They weigh between 5 and 10 lbs per square foot. The downside with Rebond carpet padding is it isn’t as durable as its Frothed counterpart.

It has medium density and thickness. Rebond carpet padding isn’t ideal for high-traffic areas. Rebond pads are available in several colors. They’re also eco-friendly since they’re made from recycled foam.

3. Prime Foam

Prime form is affordable but has a midrange performance. It comes with high density, thickness, and insulation. Prime form is also common in upholstery and couch cushions.

Since it’s not the most durable option, the padding isn’t suitable for heavy traffic areas. It weighs between 2 and 5 lbs per cubic foot. Prime foam is an affordable option that’s mostly pre-attached to midrange carpets.

4. Waffle Pad

While Waffle padding has the same durability as the Rebond foam, it’s more expensive. Waffle rug pads are made from spongy rubber, which gives them a soft underfoot. Its waffle-like design allows airflow but wears down faster than other padding materials.

It’s ideal for homes with radiant heating systems. A waffle pad’s air pockets heat the carpet, warming the entire space.

5. Memory Foam

Like a memory foam mattress, memory foam padding is comfortable and soft. Since memory foam is thick, it insulates and soundproofs your home. Memory foam cushions your feet and bounces back to shape after impact.

Due to its slippery nature, memory foam is not ideal for hallways or other high-traffic areas. You can place it under your living room carpet, dining, or humid areas.

6. Rubber Pad

Rubber is the best quality carpet padding. It’s more durable than other padding options and offers a soft underfoot. It weighs 22 lbs per cubic foot and offers excellent heat and sound insulation. Even though rubber pads are the most expensive option, their quality is unmatched.

Consider getting a rubber pad if you want to pad your corridor carpet. It’s also the best padding for a moist basement. Rubber is waterproof, which prevents moisture from reaching your subfloors.

7. Fiber

Fiber carpet padding can either be synthetic or natural. It comprises small nylon, polyester, and olefin fibers pressed into a thin roll. Fiber padding is suitable for high, medium, and low-traffic areas. While they’re not soft like rubber and foam, fiber pads are durable.

Natural fiber padding is more eco-friendly than synthetic types. But, they’re prone to mold and may not be ideal for moist places. Fiber padding is available in varying thicknesses for all carpet types and uses.

The Perks of Carpet Padding

  • Enhances Your Carpet’s Appearance: Carpet padding minimizes stress on the backing. It provides a barrier from the hard floor, which makes the carpet keep its texture and appearance.
  • Keeps Your Carpet Clean: Padding elevates your carpet, making it easier to clean. With more airflow underneath the carpet, vacuuming releases all dirt and allergens. It keeps your home clean and free of allergens.
  • Increases Comfort: Foam carpet padding is soft and cushions your feet from hard flooring. The extra layer makes the carpet more comfortable to step, sit or lie on.
  • Extends Your Carpet’s Durability: Carpet padding protects your carpet from wear and wrinkling. By minimizing your body weight on the carpet, padding prevents matting. It also prevents bending and crushing the pile.
  • Offers Extra Insulation: Carpet padding retains the temperatures in a room. During winter, carpet padding prevents warm air from escaping. Carpet paddings have a high thermal resistance (R-value) which maintains a room’s temperature.
  • Noise Reduction: Padding your carpet reduces the noise produced when walking in a room. It also eliminates noise from other rooms. It’s an inexpensive way to soundproof an apartment floor or upstairs room.

Top Considerations When Choosing a Carpet Pad

Carpet Pad Thickness

Pick a carpet pad thickness that matches your carpet manufacturer’s specifications. Unlike the case with carpets, thicker padding doesn’t always guarantee better cushioning.

Pick a thinner high-density carpet pad for commercial areas with heavy foot traffic. A thicker carpet padding is ideal for bedrooms and living rooms. The downside with thick carpet pads is they damage thin carpet types.

Therefore, Berber, a short-pile carpet, isn’t compatible with thick padding. You’ll need to pick padding that isn’t thicker than ⅜’’ for low-pile carpeting.


R-value describes the thermal resistance rating of a carpet pad. In other words, it’s the insulating value. The higher the R-value, the more the insulating capacity. R-value rating ranges from 1.05 to 2.15, depending on the thickness of the pad.

Padding Weight/ Density

Manufacturers measure the weight in pounds per cubic foot. Most carpets have a weight ranging from 4-10 lbs. For residential carpets, a 6- to 8-pound density rating should suffice. A 6-pound carpet pad is suitable for a residential carpet.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ

What’s the difference between 6-pound and 8-pound carpet padding?

A 6-pound carpet pound carpet pad tends to feel softer underfoot. An 8-pound carpet pad is more durable and extends your carpet’s lifespan. Pick an 8-pound carpet padding for higher foot traffic areas.

What padding type is best for Berber carpets?

Fiber padding is the most suitable type for Berber carpets. Some manufacturers need buyers to buy fiber pads to keep the carpet warranty valid. While they’re not the softest option, fiber pads are dense and flat. Their characteristics make them ideal for Berber carpets.

Is carpet padding recyclable?

Carpet padding is recyclable. But, a carpet underlay that’s moldy or soiled may not be recycled. Instead, you’ll need to take it to a landfill.