Carpet underlayment, often referred to as padding, is often foam. It is designed for installation under broadloom, although more and more people are also using it under area rugs. It provides insulation and better acoustics and gives us that "springy" feeling.
Underlayment is more common in residential installations than in commercial where the direct glue-down method, a process whereby carpet flooring is glued directly to the subfloor, is used.
In residential, the underlayment is sometimes glued or stapled to the floor, with the carpet being glued or stapled to the padding.
Sometimes you don’t need glue at all
One of the popular carpet installations in residential use is called "tackless." This is when wood strips, with nails pointing toward the wall, are placed around the room perimeters. The padding is placed in the middle and the carpet stretches over the entire floor and is attached to the strip.
The underlayment can either be attached to the strips as well or just cut and sized to fit.
Sometimes the padding will get stuck to the floor, making it difficult to remove. The installer might have to sand the subfloor to prepare for another flooring installation.
Isn’t all underlayment the same?
No! Generally, the padding shouldn’t be thicker than ½-inch, but sometimes you’ll want even thinner padding but with a heavier weight. As an example, the Carpet & Rug Institute recommends padding no thicker than ⅜-inch for Berber carpets. That is because it has too much elasticity for a short pile. The best weight ranges from six to eight lbs. Ask the flooring pro what the best one is for you.
What are the kinds of carpet underlayment?
- Bonded foam. is the most common. It is durable with a range of thicknesses and weights.
- Frothed foam. This is inexpensive and not recommended for high traffic areas. That is because it has air pockets that, although provide a softer step, can collapse over time.
- Memory foam. This is essentially frothed foam with that signature memory feeling added.
- Fiber. This is a combination of different threads, such as nylon and polyester. It is sometimes used for Berbers and other low piles. It is good for both low and high foot traffic levels.
For more information about residential flooring installation, visit the Young Interiors showroom in Longs, SC serving North Myrtle Beach, Myrtle Beach, Conway, Little River, and surrounding areas. Ask about our estimates.