Choosing the right carpet pad or carpet cushion is just as important as choosing the actual one. And it’s not necessarily something you can just mix and match; some types of carpet types are better suited for specific ones.
Also think about where you are installing your new carpets. You might want thicker, softer pads and cushions in light or moderate traffic areas or bedrooms. Heavy traffic areas like the living room, stairs, and hallways might require thinner but firmer cushions.
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And remember: bigger isn’t always better.. The Carpet and Rug Institute advises on a maximum thickness of 7/16” for cut pile residential padding. Low-pile carpets such as many commercial carpets should be no thicker than 3/8”. So when you’re pad or cushion shopping, look for densities instead. In this case, denser is usually better (and pricier).
Speak with your carpet retailer to help you decide the best carpet cushion and carpet matchup for you and your needs.
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Types of Carpet

The Carpet Cushion Council has identified three basic types of cushion, which are further subdivided into two or three more varieties:

Foam Carpet Cushion

Foam carpet pads are available in different densities and thicknesses and are subdivided into three different varieties:

Prime polyurethane is commonly found in upholstered furniture, mattresses and automobile seats. The ones used for carpet padding is firmer. Bonded polyurethane is the most popular carpet cushion sold. This is type of material is also called rebond because nearly all scrap foam in the US is recycled to make this type of cushion. The Carpet Cushion Council recommends a minimum cushion of at least 3/8 inches thick with a density of 5 lbs for high traffic areas.

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For low traffic areas, you can go with 3/8 inches thick at 6.5 lbs. Froth polyurethane foam is somewhat expensive when compared to other carpet pads. Froth foam has a superior load bearing capability, preventing carpets from delaminating and maintain an outstanding appearance.

Rubber Carpet Cushion

Rubber cushions are naturally moisture resistant and hypoallergenic as they don’t use any fibers. There are two basic types:
Waffled rubber padding is great in a residence setting because it provides a very nice cushion. If you do decide to go with a waffled rubber pad, it is strongly recommended that you get the heaviest cushion you can find. Flat sponge rubber offers exceptionally long wear and great feel in the form of a 19-22 lb density. However, this luxury padding is very expensive and difficult to find.

Fiber Carpet Cushion

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Fiber cushions can be made from either new or recycled materials and also come in two varieties:
Natural fiber padding is one of the oldest types of cushion and can be made from felt, animal hair, or jute. Synthetic fiber padding can serve many purposes depending on the material used (nylon, polypropylene and acrylics) and can withstand all ranges of traffic from light to heavy.