Types of Carpet Underlay

Different Types of Carpet Underlay or Carpet Cushion

You should never forget what you cannot see. This is definitely the case in choosing a carpet underlay or carpet cushion. Just because you cannot see carpet underlay or carpet cushion, it doesn’t mean that it is not important. Read about the different types of carpet underlay and then you can choose which one suits your needs.
Carpet underlay or carpet cushion has numerous purposes ranging from making the carpet feel better under foot, to providing extra insulation against heat loss. It works to protect the carpet backing from the substrate, protecting it from dust, dirt and moisture. It aids with the sound proofing of a room and protects the carpet from premature wear. We look for similar characteristics in underlays or carpet cushions as we do when selecting carpet, strength resilience and durability. Today we have three types of underlay available to choose from: Felt Underlay (cushion), Foam Sheet Underlay (cushion) and Rubber Waffle Underlay (cushion).

Felt Underlay or Felt Cushion

This was our only choice in past times. It is constructed by needling fibers – jute waste textiles, wool, mixed fibers or combinations of these into a Hessian scrim.

This produces a dense and firm underlay. It is not very popular today as the new products are far more resilient and long lasting and it is now rarely seen in domestic carpet installations.

Foam Underlay or Foam Cushion

This comes in two different types. Prime polyurethane and bonded polyurethane chips. The more popular of the two is the bonded polyurethane chip. This is made by bonding polyurethane chips to create a flat multicoloured sheet. As with other types of foam used for things such as upholstery, there are many different qualities. The cheaper the foam the softer it is and this will not give the carpet the protection and stability it requires.

Types of carpet underlay - Rubber Waffle Underlay Cushion

Rubber Waffle or Rubber Waffle Cushion

This is made from natural sponge rubber with a hessian backing. It is the most expensive type of underlay, but it provides all the necessary requirements for a quality job. It provides strength, durability, resilience and firm support, and it will perform for a long time. The structures “waffle” or cellular construction provides spaces for air circulation that aids in minimising dampness and condensation under carpet. When installing, the hessian side goes to the top.
Like the foam, there are varying qualities of rubber waffle underlay available.

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