The most common type of carpet pad is rebond pad. About 80% of the industry uses rebond pad. It is made from scraps of foam used in furniture. These foam scraps are bonded together. The major difference between a good rebond pad and a poor rebond pad is that a good pad will have fewer hard spots (clumps) and will have a net mesh on the exterior.
The three major types of pad are foam, fiber and rubber. Rebond (or “bonded”) pad is a type of foam pad. Other types of foam pad are prime and froth. Basically, these are similar to rebond pad except they are made as a solid piece of foam instead of being made up of bits of recycled foam. Froth foam is generally used in commercial application because it is thin and dense.
Rubber pad can come flat or in a waffle pattern. Waffle pad as it does not support the carpet as well as other pads. Rubber is a thin, firm pad so it is frequently used under Berbers or on commercial jobs.
Fiber pads are made from a either natural or man made (synthetic) fibers. This type of pad is often referred to as felt. The first carpet pads were fiber pads that were made of horse hair and jute. Natural fibers, such as horse hair, are rarely used anymore. Synthetic fibers such as nylon, polyester, and polypropylene are now widely used because they are cheaper to make.
All three types of pad are generally fine for home use. Rebond is most widely used because it is the cheapest, yet wears just about as well as the other types. Variables such as density and thickness (see below) are more important considerations than the type of pad.
The purpose of pad is not only to provide comfort. The pad also acts as a shock absorber for your carpet, extending its life. But be careful, a pad that is too thick (more than 7/16″ for rebond) or soft (less than 6 lbs. for rebond) can actually reduce the life of your carpet. In general, a more thin (3/8″ to 7/16″ for rebond), dense (at least 6 lbs for rebond) pad will prevent undue wear on the carpet. This is because a dense pad will not sink as much with each foot step. This minimizes the pull on the carpet backing, preventing the latex in the backing from breaking down as quickly. Carpet pad also supports the backing, preventing it from being smashed against the floor when you walk on it, thereby extending its life. Pad that is less dense (less than 6lbs. for rebond) will flatten more easily. This eliminates the pad’s ability to protect the carpet fiber from being smashed against the sub-floor with each footstep.
For rebond pad, most warranties generally require at least a 6-pound pad for cut pile carpets and 8-pound pad for looped carpets. For most residential uses, a pad that is between 3/8″ and 7/16″ should be used.
Pad serves other purposes as well:
A measure of the weight of pad per cubic foot. 6-pound and 8-pound are the most frequently used densities. 8-pound has more pad per cubic foot than 6-pound, and therefore is more dense. Higher density pads are better for high traffic areas.
Usually use a pad that is thinner than 7/16″. This is because it will minimize pull on the carpet backing.
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