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Why You Should Always Buy The Best Carpet Pad (And Not For The Reason You Think)

Updated: Oct 1, 2022

Why You Should Always Buy The Best Carpet Pad (And Not For The Reason You Think)

In most residential installations, carpet manufacturers will require customers to use carpet padding that meets certain specifications underneath their carpet products. Customers should review warranty materials to make sure the correct carpet pad is being used for their carpet installation. Each retail floor covering store will have multiple options of carpet pad that customers can purchase.

Why You Should Always Buy The Best Carpet Pad (And Not For The Reason You Think)

Retail Stores Don't Care About Carpet Pads - They Care About The Profit In Selling It

If you walk into 3 different retail carpet stores, you will find that all three stores have a completely different carpet pad program. All three stores will have their version of good, better, and best products. But, the products in each store will be completely different. Why is that? Isn't a carpet pad, just a carpet pad. Isn't it all the same stuff?

Simply put, no. There are many different options for stores when buying carpet pads. Stores can purchase pads from local distributors or they can purchase padding directly from the manufacturer. Most of the time, stores will buy from the company that either gives them the best pricing or the best sales program.

A carpet pad is one of those items that retail store owners like to play with. Let's say a local carpet distributor has a special deal going on: buy 200 rolls of the pad, and we'll give you a free trip to Las Vegas. Well, you guessed it: many of those local stores will buy those 200 rolls, and that pad will become part of their retail program. Using another example, let's say a national distributor has a deal going on where they are giving store owners a year-end rebate of $0.10 a square foot. Once again, many stores will take advantage of this program, and buy that pad all year long.

Stores also like to "load" pricing on carpet pads. Let's say a store owner wants to take a few employees on a year-end (thank you for the hard work) trip. They might load $0.15 a square foot on all carpet pad prices for that entire year, then use those monies to pay for the trip.

While stores do care (a little bit) about the pad they are selling, as long as that pad is acceptable and will pass the minimum carpet warranty requirements, that is usually good enough for them. Stores care more about "the deal" on the pad than anything else.

Selling Carpet Pad Is A Scam

Retail floor covering stores will usually give customers 3 or 4 options of carpet pads to pick. Each store will have its version of good, better, best, and super best carpet pads. Stores will usually have samples in their showroom that customers can walk on to feel the difference between each pad.

The first option in a store pad program is usually a very thin, low-grade pad (that barely meets the minimum pad requirements). The idea behind this pad is to have customers walk on it, so they will release it right away, the base grade pad is terrible. Stores don't want to sell this starter pad. Stores want to sell the upgraded pad.

Stores love to make money on carpet pads. While many internet articles will tell you that stores don't make money on the pad, nothing could be further from the truth. Carpet pad is one of the highest margin products in a floor covering store. Stores make an absolute killing on the carpet pad. Each time a customer decides to upgrade on what type of pad they use, the store accountant is hearing "cha-ching" ring through the store intercom.

The upgrade store carpet pad options are usually much, much better than the base grade pad, and they are also much, much more expensive. However...while the store charges a lot more money for the upgrade pads, the store does not pay a lot more for the products. They do pay more, but by a percentage comparison, the cost of the upgrade carpet pads is insignificant as compared to the retail selling price.

Stores make money on their pad program. A lot of money. However, as a customer, as long as you know this, it does give you some room to negotiate. If stores have a lot of profit built in a carpet pad price, it also means they have room to lower that price (to keep the sale).

Why You Should Always Buy The Best Carpet Pad

Most retail floor covering salespeople work on commission. The more product they sell, the more money they will earn. Chances are if they are close to making a sale, they are not going to lose that sale over the price of the carpet pad.

Store salespeople already know the retail price of carpet pads is loaded with profit margin. They can afford to give customers a better deal. They just won't voluntarily offer it. As a customer, you have to be willing to take it. Once you know the good, better and best products, as well as the pricing of each, you need to ask for the best pad, at a much lower price. Be willing to walk away from the deal. In many cases, if you do this, the store will give you the upgraded pad, at no additional charge (just to close the deal).

If you accept the pad prices at whatever the retail prices are, that's exactly what they will charge you. A carpet pad is a negotiated item, and you need to take advantage of that. There is no need to settle for a less quality pad when you can get the store's best pad at a much lower price. This is a trick that most people don't know, and that stores certainly won't tell you about.

Also, keep in mind, the more carpet and floor covering you are buying, the more strength you have in negotiating. If you are remodeling your entire home, and have a big ticket project going on, that store salesperson is not going to lose that order over a carpet pad upgrade. No way. It's your money. Be a tough negotiator. Demand the upgraded pad. Be willing to walk away if you don't get what you want. Understand the retail carpet pad price is an inflated price. Stores can easily give you a better deal.

Main Types of Carpet Pad

Rebond Carpet Pad

The most popular type of residential carpet pad. Rebond pad is made from recycled materials and has a multi-colored appearance. Rebond pad is usually the best-priced store pad and comes in a variety of different specifications.

Memory Foam Pad

One of the more popular types of upgrade pads that a store will sell. Similar to a memory foam bed mattress, with a memory foam carpet pad, you get that thick, sinking feeling when stepping on it. Many customers love this type of feeling, while others do not.

Fiber Pad

Fiber carpet pads are great for Berber carpets or for other types of carpets that require fiber padding in their product warranty. Fiber pads are not very thick and usually are used when the carpet requires a thinner, more firm pad.

Rubber Pad

Rubber pad was popular many years ago, but these days, rubber pad can be quite expensive and other types of padding hold up just as well.

Frothed Foam

A very durable pad that could last for a long time. It is on the upper end of the price scale, and for this reason, many customers end up selecting cheaper options.

What Do Carpet Warranties Say About Carpet Pad

You can't look at the back of a carpet sample to see what is covered on your carpet warranty. In order to see the real information, you have to look at the entire carpet warranty, which can only be found on the company's website. Shaw Floors, one of the largest and most popular flooring companies, has several different carpet warranties. Picking one of these warranties (at random) from their website, it states the following about carpet pads:

Carpet must be correctly installed in a proper indoor installation using a pad that meets FHA/HUD requirements, following the current Carpet and & Rug Institute installation Residential standard CRI-105. Consult your retailer for details. Shaw Floors

If you enjoy reading incredibly lengthy and in-depth government information, you can read all about carpet pads, by visiting: the FHA/HUD carpet pad requirements pdf form.

So, what does all of this mean? In a nutshell, it means that you need to pay attention to the carpet pad that you use. Without going into great detail, if you stay within the following guidelines, you will be okay with 99.99% of all carpet warranties:

Residential Use: Density: Thickness

Bonded Pad 6.5 lbs to 8lbs 7/16" to 1/2"

Frothed Foam 10lbs to 12lbs 7/16" to 1/2"

As stated earlier in this article, retail floor covering stores will have 3 or 4 pad options that fit all of these guidelines. As far as what brands of carpet pads they sell, will really depend on each store owner, and whatever program they have set up.

Carpet Pad - FAQ

What is the best type of carpet padding if you have pets? There are all sorts of articles on the internet about carpet pads and pets. The easiest thing to remember is to buy whatever brand of pad the store carries that comes with a moisture barrier.

What type of carpet pad should you use with Berber carpet? With Berber carpet, it is best to use a thinner, more firm pad. Most manufacturers will recommend a fiber pad. Check with our product warranty to confirm.

Do carpet pads come with a warranty? Many do, yes. As with all product warranties, don't rely on the information you read on the sample. If you want to know the real warranty information, you need to print it off the company's website.

Can I reuse the same carpet pad with a new carpet? Many customers do keep the same pad, but it is not recommended. If you're purchasing new carpet, most experts will advise getting a new carpet pad.

Does the type of carpet pad really make a difference? Absolutely! Invest in a good carpet pad to prolong the life of the carpet. Don't purchase a cheap pad, just to save money. Cheap pads will ultimately hurt the carpet and shorten the life of your product.

Should I put a higher-quality pad on the stairs? A lot of people do, yes. High-traffic areas need protection by using a good quality carpet pad.

Should you put a carpet pad in the basement? Absolutely! Our recommendation would be to purchase a mid-grade to the upper-end pad for a basement floor.

If my basement floor floods do I have to purchase a new carpet pad? Probably, yes. Get rid of wet pads to prevent mold and mildew issues. If you have any concerns about moisture issues, it is always best to get a local professional involved with your project.