When decorating your home, we often forget what is below the surface of our counters and tabletops and... carpets. Especially when it comes to flooring, it's important not to neglect what lies beneath. If you want to carpet a room, you'll also want to make sure the carpet it has a good, sturdy foundation itself
This is where carpet underlay comes into play.
But what is carpet underlay exactly? Underlay is commonly referred to as “padding,” which is a pretty fitting term, as that is basically what it is. Without it, your floors would be flat, hard and altogether uncomfortable, and on top of that – vulnerable to wear and tear. But with underlay, suddenly that decorative carpet feels like a dream on your feet and is also quite durable. In fact, many have said a good underlay will increase the life of your carpet twofold.
Moreover, a lot of people don't realize that your carpet underlay will also affect your utility bills. Underlay is a form of insinuation and can help keep you warm during the colder months! Not only do carpet underlays hold in warmth, but they can absorb sound too. Have neighbors a floor below you? You can use underlay (sometimes with a floorboard too) to keep the sound in your room and not contribute to noise pollution in the neighborhood. In addition to keeping the sound inside the room, it can also keep the room itself quieter. Nifty, huh?
But that's not all! If you're like most people, you probably loathe maintaining your floors. Vacuuming, etc, can be a real pain. But the better your carpet underlay is, the cleaner your carpet will be! This is because the underlay lifts the carpet up and prevents dirt from embedding too deeply into it. As well, carpet underlay essentially helps the carpet “breathe,” allowing for more effective vacuuming.
If you're still not convinced that you ought to spend the extra bucks on quality underlay, consider this. Underlay improves the look of your carpet. Without an underlay, carpet will start to age very vast and get matted down and almost sink into the floor. With an underlay, this is not the case – carpet will look newer for a longer period of time and be able to maintain its original form due to cushioning.
So underlay is a detail you cannot afford to neglect. And in order to pick out the best carpet underlay for your home, it's a good idea to get to know what your options are.
Typically, when your carpet is installed, it will be installed with underlay or cushioning. In other words, you buy the top layer of carpet in addition to the bottom layer. But you can buy the underlay separately and in order to do this properly, you have to understand the manufacturer jargon.
It may be tempting to save some money and buy discounted underlay over the web, but for such an important buy, it really suits your interests to shop just as carefully for underlay as you would for a color scheme or thread count for your surface carpet. In other words, budget for the underlay and buy what you can afford – not what is the cheapest. It will be worth it in the long run.
Now, you might run into a dilemma with carpet underlay. Why not just keep your old underlay when installing a new carpet? It's advisable you don't do this, as underlay deteriorates over time and it's best to replace it with new, hardier underlay for your new carpet (at least if you want that carpet to have a long, healthy life).
Okay, so you've got all the benefits of carpet underlay down. Where do you go from there? There are three kinds of padding: foam, fiber, and rubber. And each of these kinds comes in many varieties as well. Depending on what you will use your newly-carpeted room for and your budget, you will be able to pick out the right underlay for your carpet. Some underlays are thicker than others. And for bedrooms, thin padding might be alright. However, for areas where there is a lot of traffic, like the living room, it's a good idea to go with stronger, thicker underlay.
The world of carpet padding is probably a lot more complicated than you thought! But don't worry. As long as you know all the pros to good underlay and are familiar with the vocabulary, too, you will be well-equipped to shop around for it. Remember, however, that you'll want to get the underlay and carpet professionally installed. Just as you'd pick out the carpet so carefully, you'll want to make sure that it is put in place by trained and skilled experts.