If you’ve chosen a new carpet for your home, you want your investment to last as long as possible. That means treating your carpet with care, cleaning it regularly with green carpet cleaners, and rotating it to decrease wear. However, one of the most important and often overlooked factors in keeping a healthy, long-lasting carpet is finding the right underlay. When selecting carpet for your space, it’s important to choose the correct cushioning so that your floors and your carpet stay strong and undamaged over time. Of course, different carpet styles call for different kinds of protection. If you’re confused about what kind of underlay to choose for your new carpet, here are a few things to consider.
Choosing the best underlay for a new carpet is tricky. While many homeowners tend to assume that thicker is better for protecting your carpet and your floor, this isn’t always the case. For thinner rugs, a thicker underlay can actually end up causing more harm than good. The thicker the underlay, the more slipping and sliding your rug is likely to do. That’s why it’s important to test out your rug without an underlay first to see how much support and pressure you’re looking for. The maximum thickness of most underlays should be about 12 millimeters. The minimum thickness should be about 7-8 millimeters for thinner rugs and hallway runners. Try testing out a few different thickness settings first. If you’re too aware of the presence of an underlay beneath your feet, you’ll need to choose a different setting.
The material you choose for your underlay will determine the amount of support and cushioning your rug will get on a daily basis. While different materials have different strengths, most do a great job of protecting your rug and your floor from too much treading pressure. The most popular types of material for an underlay are polyurethane foam, recycled felt, crumb, sponge rubber, and a combination of materials. You’ll also be able to choose the type of grip and pressure for your underlay by picking an adhesive material for better support, a laminate underlay to limit floor creaking, and a heating underlay for chillier, harder to heat rooms. If you’re concerned about going green, opt for felt to reduce your carbon footprint. For rugs that are going to get a lot of heavy foot traffic, pick something sturdy and dense like crumb. If you simply can’t decide, choose a combination underlay.
Whichever type of underlay you choose; you’ll want the width and density to work with your rug to prevent unnecessary wear and tear. To make the most informed choice, think about what kind of atmosphere your rug will be placed in. Is it a welcome mat or a corridor rug? If so, you’ll want a thicker density, like that offered by crumb underlay, to counteract the tread of heavier outdoor shoes and boots. For indoor rugs, you can choose a softer material like sponge rubber which will move more easily with bare feet. For rooms that aren’t temperature-controlled, a felt underlay can provide great support and give an extra heated boost to your rug’s surface.
Your underlay should last as long as your carpet does, somewhere in the realm of 10-15 years. While it’s not a huge deal to have to replace an underlay every so often, it’s not ideal. When choosing your material, think about how well it will perform over time, especially in areas with increased foot traffic. When it comes to durability, many homeowners prefer the sturdiness of a sponge rubber base or a thick, dense crumb underlay. If you don’t want to have to choose, a combination underlay will offer the best of both worlds through increased carpet protection and long-term durability.
Perhaps most importantly of all, you want your rug underlay to do its job silently and unobtrusively. If you’re noticing your underlay too much, chances are it’s not actually doing what it’s supposed to be doing. If you’re either feeling an excess of padding, too much volume, or too much flatness, you’re not working with the right material for your rug. The right underlay should seamlessly support your carpet while facilitating foot traffic. Most importantly, your underlay should be able to hold firm and retain your rug’s shape. You shouldn’t see dips or indentations in your rug’s surface, and you certainly shouldn’t notice that your underlay is slipping and sliding underneath the carpet. For best results, consult a professional about the most reliable underlay choice for your carpet before purchasing.