The Importance of Carpet Padding

One of the most overlooked aspects of buying new carpet involves choosing the right carpet padding. You have the perfect carpet, so you’ll want the perfect padding to go with it. Right?

Unfortunately, most people aren’t really aware that different carpet paddings exist, or that there are a variety of important options to choose from. And those who are aware often make understandable assumptions that just aren’t true. Like assuming that the thicker the padding, the better.

Important Hint: Thicker padding is not always better.

These are just some beginning rules of thumb. But as you’ll soon see: there are a lot of details to consider when choosing the right carpet padding.


Padding is the support structure for your carpet. It can add softness, give, longevity, and forms the important connection between your carpet and your floor. Paddings come in a variety of thicknesses. For example, those beautiful Berber carpets require low profile padding. The use of more than 3/8-inch padding with Berber carpets, commercial carpets, or some LCL carpets (loop and cut loop designs) is not recommended. Instead, these carpets require a lower profile to avoid being lifted higher than the tack strips that grip and hold the carpet during the stretching process.

And alternatively: softer-backed carpets can have thicker pads. Anywhere from 7/16 to ½ inch is recommended by manufacturers.


Density is another consideration when choosing carpet padding. Density adds longevity to a carpet, in addition to the “soft and bouncy” vs “hard” feeling that most people think of when they consider carpet padding.

Density is generally measured in pounds-per-cubic-foot. The higher the density, the harder the carpet will feel under your feet. Common padding is usually between 3 to 10 pounds. Many experts recommend between 6–8 pounds to achieve the longest lasting carpet. And anything above 6 pounds is also a good option to ensure activation of the warranty requirements from most carpet brands. It should be noted that denser pads are not as soft as lighter pads.

Vapor/Moisture Barriers

Vapor barriers are exactly what they sound like: protection against fluids. Whether those fluids come from above (spills on your carpet) or below (water seeping up from some concrete slabs, for example), moisture barriers are there to help prevent liquids from penetrating and soaking into your carpet padding.

Topical barriers are a great choice to help prevent most spills from penetrating the carpet, moving into the padding, and then entering the sub floor below. And with certain spills, like pet urine accidents, these barriers can minimize moisture intrusion. No one wants to deal with lingering pet smells after cleanup.

But if you do choose moisture barriers for your padding, it is crucial that you have your carpet and padding professionally installed to guarantee that all the edges are sealed between each segment of padding. Never use staples on pads with topical sealants. These pads must be professionally glued and/or sealed with waterproof tape.

Whichever barrier you choose, if you choose one at all, it’s always best to get a professional opinion before you buy. Experts can advise you on the best types of thickness, density, and whether or not to add a moisture barrier depending on the room and the estimated traffic involved.

Call the SMART Carpet and Flooring Expert

Now that you know just how important carpet padding can be: feel free to give us a call. We can help you sort through the multiple available options and find the best padding to suit your carpet’s needs.

If you’re in the Tri-State area (NY, NJ, PA), call SMART Carpet and Flooring at 1-800-526-RUGS (7847) for more information or advice on flooring choices. Our highly qualified specialists can bring our mobile showroom right to your house, at a time that is most convenient for you.

Call now to schedule an appointment!