When carpet is placed in a room the first item that is laid down is carpet padding. The carpet is something that everyone sees, so thought goes into how it will look, function, and last. The unseen figure in room carpeting is the padding the lies underneath. The carpet pad’s role is to help the carpet maintain its form and function longer. Without padding, the carpet will wear faster, and the backing to the carpet will degrade. What choices do you have in carpet pads? What criteria should you look at?

Thickness and Density

While most people think that softer is better, with carpet padding you are looking for firmer. The reason for this is that the padding is supporting the carpet. You want a firmer feel so that the carpet is supported better. One thing to keep in mind is what the carpet manufacturer recommends for the type and brand of carpet that you picked out. While you might think thicker is better, the carpet manufacturer could recommend a thinner pad to ensure that the carpet is put down correctly. Additionally, the type of padding that the manufacturer recommends could be linked to whether the warranty will remain in effect. Read all of the fine print carefully to make sure you are not doing anything to void your warranty.

Type of Padding

The material the padding is made out of can affect the price and quality of the pad. One type of padding is rebond. This type of made from recycled material and is popular in residential settings. The quality of the recycled material will affect how well the padding does its job. This is the most economical choice for padding. Another type of padding is foam padding. This padding is thinner and will not last as long. Since apartment and rental units have the tendency to change their carpeting more frequently than a homeowner, this type of padding is found more in rental units. Fiber/wool padding is yet another choice. This type of padding is more popular with commercial carpeting or Berber material. It is breathable and anti-microbial so a basement application would be ideal.


It is not recommended to reuse carpet padding when the carpet is changed. The padding has the wear and tear from the previous carpet, which you are replacing, so the wear and tear will also affect the padding. You want to make sure that the padding you choose is fresh for each carpet application to ensure that everything lasts as long as possible in your newly carpeted room.