Carpet Pad


The carpet pad or "cushion" has a huge affect on the life of carpeting.

Carpeting has four parts:

1.  Fiber or face yarn - the fuzzy stuff :) 

2.  Primary backing – the squares or mesh the yarn is tufted into

      3.  Secondary Backing – the 2nd layer or “back” that adds strength or dimensional 

           stability - the “dimensions” are stable.

      4. .Latex Cement – holds the primary and secondary backings together


The best carpet pad is:


     1.  Relatively dense (doesn’t squish easy)

     2.  Not too thick – usually no more than 7/16 “


PROBLEM: When the homeowner is buying carpeting and the sales person puts down a sample, including the recommended cushion, for the customer to step on. “UUGGH, that’s like walking on concrete! Can’t we make it softer?” If the customer persists, the sales person sends our customer off with a softer cushion, underneath. “That’s better……… much cushier.”


What has just happened is, while this feels better to walk on, it has a slight up and down movement, with each footstep, like a trampoline.

This movement causes two unwanted things. The thousands of fibers, that make the face yarn, will rub against each other, during this movement. This causes “abrasion” - scratching and gouging of the individual fibers. Sandy bits of soil that have little microscopic edges can be between the fibers acting like sandpaper. The result is a weakened, fuzzy fiber.

Abrasion is one of the biggest contributors to ugliness. Wear, a shortening of the fiber, also contributes. The fiber is limp, scratched and gouged, flattened out and reflects light differently….ugly!.


Another issue, caused by the small amount of flexing from insufficient support, is that with each step, particularly by a large man, the backing, which is held together by the latex cement, flexes or “trampolines” causing a tiny bit of break down of the hold the glue has on things. Slowly, ever so slowly, the backing can be separating or “delaminating”. When flooding happens and the hallway is delaminated, it can be blamed on the flood when, really, the improperly specified padding (the wrong stuff) caused most of the problem.


A STORY: While attending the Surfaces Convention, a gathering of floor covering manufacturers, distributors, installers and cleaners, I saw a display of a test done by the Cushion Council.

They installed a piece of approximately 6’ long by 3’ wide carpeting in a high traffic area, in an airport, where it got thousands of foot traffics. For 2’ of it they had a 3 pound cushion (lower pounds, more trampolining) , in the middle they put 6 pound and on the other end was 8 pound padding.

Remember, the 8 pound is the one that allows the least amount of flexing.


The section over the 2 pound padding was junk…trash. The part over the 6 pound didn’t look too bad, while the carpeting over the 8 pound looked like brand new. Less backing breakdown and fiber abrasion.


Better carpet pad, longer carpeting life.



               MAKE MONEY!


               Dennis Klager

               IICRC Instructor



Copyright 2012 by Dennis Klager