Dear Ogden’s Flooring and Design: I am considering wall-to-wall carpeting in my spare bedroom. In doing some research, I’ve read a lot of back-and-forth about carpet pads. I’ve never given carpet pads a second thought, but I’d like to do this job once and be done with it for good. Is it worth investing in a nicer carpet pad? What purpose does a carpet pad serve other than to add more cushion?

Great question! Often, we get so caught up in the elements that will be front and center during a flooring and design remodel that we forget to consider the options that will be behind the scenes. It’s tempting to blow your budget on flooring, furniture and accessories. Yet it’s important to consider the factors that will make your flooring and design last a long time and perform well over the next decade or more.

Carpet Pad 101

For starters, let’s briefly review what a carpet pad is and how it affects your flooring and design. A carpet pad is installed underneath your wall-to-wall carpet and provides additional cushion. People generally think if they’re purchasing a higher-quality carpet, the carpet pad doesn’t matter as much as it might with a cheaper carpet. Similarly, homeowners often assume if they go with a thicker carpet pad, they can get away with a less-than-deluxe carpet and get the same end result. This isn’t the case. Both carpet and carpet pads serve a purpose in your flooring and design. They need to be treated as separate entities as you plan your remodeling project.

Contrary to most people’s beliefs, carpet padding doesn’t solely provide more comfort underfoot. Additionally, it absorbs the everyday abuse your carpet takes. Simply walking on carpeted floors causes fibers to break down. Without padding in place, the back of the carpet would scratch the floor underneath. Wear and tear on your carpet can also cause it to become separated from the backing, which is difficult to repair. Your flooring will last much longer when it is installed with a high-quality carpet pad.

Softer Is Not Always Better

If you ask 10 people on the street whether a softer and thicker carpet pad is better than others, chances are good they’ll say yes. After all, doesn’t this kind of padding feel better under your feet? This is where many people are mistaken. Although you don’t want the thinnest carpet pad on the market, you also don’t necessarily want the thickest. There are exceptions, of course. But in general, you should purchase a pad between those extremes. A carpet pad that is too soft might be more comfortable at first, but after a moderate amount of foot traffic, it will start to get crushed. The carpet will begin to take more of the impact, shortening the lifespan of your flooring.

If your carpet pad is too thick, it might start to come apart from the tack strip, which is installed around the perimeter of a room to hold carpet in place. If your carpet pad is thicker than industry recommendations, the carpet backing will fail to make enough contact with the tack strip, and nothing will connect it to the floor.

As you plan your flooring and design remodel, don’t forget to consider the carpet pad you need to make your carpet look and feel its best. Why invest in a gorgeous new floor covering without ensuring it will be protected for as long as possible? Guests probably won’t rave over your padding choice, but you’ll feel better knowing it’s there. You’ll definitely love how much money you save by going with a higher-quality product.

As part of our Love Your Floors sale, we’re offering a free premium carpet-pad upgrade with a qualifying purchase. The carpet pad will ensure your floors are comfortable, absorb the necessary wear and help your carpets stay in place as long as possible. Simply call or stop in to your nearest Ogden’s Flooring and Design store for details on this exclusive offer.