Is Thick Carpet Padding Worth It?

S. Mithra

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.

Widely looped carpets like berber do not react well to thick carpet padding.
Widely looped carpets like berber do not react well to thick carpet padding.

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.

Thick padding can result in softer impact.
Thick padding can result in softer impact.

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.

Thicker materials aren't worth it if the carpet it goes under was meant to go on top of a cushion of medium thickness.
Thicker materials aren't worth it if the carpet it goes under was meant to go on top of a cushion of medium thickness.

You might also Like

Readers Also Love

Discussion Comments


I have a question about carpet padding: What is the best carpet padding to stop making noise for people living below when people are walking on it upstairs, etc.?

I live below my neighbors and they need to get new carpet padding because I can hear them walking around with whatever carpet padding they've got now because it's not good enough.

I am constantly harassed with a boom-boom-boom walking sound from above. It's ridiculous and needs to be fixed.

Which is the best for them to get? Thanks so much.


Thicker is not always better when it comes to carpet padding. You need a firm base to provide support for your carpet. You should not use a pad that is thicker than 0.5 inches.


Of course it is important! The thicker it is the less your kids scream when the fall on their heads. A good pad will also extend the life of your carpet. Last, and most overlooked, a thick pad works as insulation and helps prevent heat rising to the top floor.


I own a carpet store and have been in the business for over 25 years. I recommend no more than 1/2" pad with cut pile carpet and recommend 7/16" or less for berber or low pile carpets. Synthetic padding is best for berbers or loop piles. This type of padding has less bounce but will out perform foam padding in this application.

If you are looking for a plush comfort feeling you should look for a rubber padding or a Visco memory foam padding. I carry all these products because each one has a specific use.


anon15709: i've seen this before, and i think it's because the carpet hasn't been stretched should be able to have it re-stretched, but it may never look like new again. i doubt that it's the padding.


Our carpet is not worn out but seems to have stretched or the pad underneath has worn out in places creating loose looking areas on the carpet. Can only the padding be replaced and the carpet stretched smooth again?


you should always take the opportunity to change the padding when replacing the carpet because over time, it becomes compacted, and full of dust and who knows what else!


How often should you replace carpet and the carpet padding? Do you need to change the padding when you change the carpet?


i am posting to say that yes, thick carpet padding is worth it! we had to recarpet our entire house after renting it out for a year, and to save money, we had to go with a cheaper carpet. i had asked for a bit thicker padding, but it was not thick enough. i really wish we had spent the extra money to get thicker padding---it's worth spending a little extra up front to have that comfort under your feet!

Post your comments
Forgot password?