Selecting the right carpet cushion (pad) is an important component in buying new carpet. For most residential carpets a 7/16" 6 pound pad will provide adequate comfort, resilience, insulation, and the needed firmness to protect the carpet backing from breaking down. The Carpet & Rug Institute recommends 3/8" thick cushion for berber or low cut pile carpets. Most cushions are made from a bonded foam product called "rebond," but there are also fiber and rubber options available.
When buying new carpet ask your salesperson what type of carpet cushion is included in the price. Since there are many cushion options, let the salesperson know about your needs, concerns, and how you will "live" on your new carpet. In other words, do you have pets and if so, do they ever make accidents? Is eating and drinking allowed in carpeted areas? Do you have kids? Are there any high traffic areas? What is the manufacturer's recommendation for carpet pad? The answers to these types of questions will narrow down the choices and help in selecting the best cushion for your situation.
Our next discussion is on specific carpet cushion options.
For more information about the Carpet & Rug Institute, go to http://www.carpet-rug.org/