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Some people imagine that thick carpet padding will give them the feeling of walking on clouds rather than a concrete slab, but this really isn't true. Different kinds of carpets require different cushions of different thickness or density, so homeowners should follow a manufacturer's recommendations when choosing padding. Thick padding is generally not only not worth it, but may result in buckling, worn, or splitting carpet.
Although carpet padding is responsible for a lot more than comfort, the average person walking across his living room may imagine that thicker is better. More padding, after all, should result in better insulation, softer impact, and stronger carpet. Homeowners shouldn't scrimp on cushioning, since it largely determines the lifespan of the carpeting, but neither should they always go for the thickest option.
Thicker materials aren't worth it if the carpet it goes under was meant to go on top of a cushion of medium thickness. Shoppers shouldn't allow a carpet salesperson to pressure them into selecting the thickest cushion if it's not the best match. That company may be interested in the buyer's wallet instead of his comfort.
For example, many widely looped carpets, like Berber, will not react well with plush carpet padding. It can wear unevenly, disintegrate, or come apart at the seams. Similarly, areas of a home that receive constant foot traffic, such as staircases, hallways, offices, or entryways, should not have thick padding. Something around 0.25 inch (0.6 cm) or 0.375 inch (1 cm) thick will respond better.
People who have chosen a cut pile or cut and loop carpet will often find that investing in slightly thicker padding will be worth the money. This padding insulates the floor from cold and noise, and absorbs the impact that would otherwise go to the carpet. Another option is to use a different kind of padding, rather than a thicker one. Fiber pads, rubber cushions, and foam each have their own costs and advantages.
Thick carpet padding can also be worth it under low traffic areas. A bedroom, closet, parlor, or home theater would feel more luxurious with this addition. As long as the padding won't compress too much over time, the backing of the carpet won't weaken, and a homeowner's feet will benefit. Experts recommend never exceeding a thickness of 0.4375 inch (1.1 cm), however.