A firm and resilient carpet cushion is necessary to form a good foundation for your carpet, increasing its comfort and extending its life by acting as a shock absorber when someone walks on the carpet. The cushion, or pad, helps buffer sound and provides increased insulation, making a room quieter and warmer.
When selecting cushion, check the carpet manufacturer’s requirements for thickness and density. Improper selection of carpet cushion can negatively affect carpet appearance, cause wrinkling and buckling, cause separation of the carpet seams and can cause a breakdown of the carpet structure itself.
Improper cushion selection also may void any applicable carpet manufacturer’s warranties. A general rule of thumb for most residential carpet applications is to choose cushion no more than 7/16 inch thick and no less than 1/4 inch with six pounds per cubic feet density. If the carpet is a Berber or a low profile carpet, choose a cushion no more than 3/8 inch thick with eight pounds density.
Carpet cushion is made primarily from polyurethane foam, fiber or rubber and is available in a variety of styles and constructions to fit your needs. The type and thickness of cushion you need varies according to traffic levels and patterns. For example, bedrooms, dens, lounge areas and other rooms with light or moderate traffic can use thicker and softer cushion, while living rooms, family rooms, hallways, stairs and other heavy traffic areas require thinner, firmer cushion.
Match the Cushion to the Carpet
Residential cut pile, cut- loop or high-level loop carpet requires a resilient, firm cushion with a thickness of 7/16 inch and no less than 1/4 inch with six pounds per cubic feet density. Types of cushion may be various polyurethane foams, including the very common bonded foam product often referred to as “rebond,” fiber or rubber.
Berber carpet or thinner loop or cut pile carpet is made with large, wide loops, and it has been found that a stable, low-flexing, cushion foundation is necessary. A thicker, softer cushion is not acceptable. Cushion thickness should not exceed 3/8 inch for these type products. Again, check with the carpet manufacturer to see if a specific cushion is required.