Waffle Rubber to Frothed Foam – All about Carpet Padding

Don’t kid yourself, folks; the pad underneath your carpet matters. Carpets manufactured today oftentimes require special padding and if you do not use the right one, it may void your warranty.

Although your local flooring specialist can advise you on this matter, it’s always a good idea to know how pads differentiate in order to feel comfortable with your choice. There are seven (7) popular padding choices currently available. We will discuss them individually here.

The first is Waffle Rubber. Waffle Rubber has been around for awhile and although it was quite popular several years ago, it is often too soft for current carpets, especially carpets with plastic backing. The thickness in this pad is found in the “waffle” section which is primarily comprised of air creating unwanted movement in the carpet. Additionally, the clay binders that are used to hold together the rubber tend to break down rather easily.

Foam Padding is manufactured from urethane foam and available in a variety of densities. Despite the pad’s apparent thickness, it is generally not recommended for high traffic areas due to the pad’s propensity to break down over time.

The padding used most often by the floor covering industry is called Rebond. This pad is manufactured from scraps of high-density foam and available in different thicknesses and weight. The Carpet and Rug Institute along with the Carpet Cushion Council issues recommendations for this padding’s proper thickness and weight, respectively. Your local flooring expert can assist you with choosing the right pad for your specific needs.

Fiber should be used if you wish to limit movement within your carpet. Fiber is recommended for area rugs, for this reason, and Berber carpeting. Although Fiber is made from several different materials including jute, synthetic, or recycled fibers, many flooring experts consider Fiber made out of spun nylon as preferable. Once again, ensure your pad has the correct thickness and density for your carpet.

Although many of these pads can be utilized under Berber carpets (with the rare exception of Rebond), some Berber may require a specific Berber Pad. The general rule of thumb is that the larger the loop, the more firm the padding will need to be; ensure you are aware of your carpet’s loop size before laying Berber.

Slab Rubber is easily one of the finer pads available. Unlike Waffle Rubber, this pad does not contain large pockets of air which can create too much movement in the carpet. The right weight and density will resist furniture indentation and is suitable for high traffic areas.

Finally, Frothed Foam is widely considered to be the premier padding available today. It is thick, durable, and can withstand crushing and furniture indentation. It can be used under any type of carpeting and contains virtually no VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds). Frothed Foam will last longer than just about any other padding, including Slab Rubber.

The pads referenced above are typically recommended for residential usage; if you are considering commercial carpeting, additional options are available. Once again, check with your local flooring company to ensure you are making the best choice.