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How Often Should You Replace Carpet Padding?

The amount of time you should wait before you replace your carpet padding depends entirely on the condition of the padding and what material it is made from.

We recommend first check your padding first if you notice any changes underfoot when walking on your carpet, and replacing it if the condition of the padding is beyond repair.

As a general rule of thumb, a standard rebond carpet padding will last between 10 and 20 years, with some types such as frothed foam lasting over 20 years if maintained properly. You should always replace padding when it has worn out or become damaged.

How To Tell Carpet Padding Needs Replacing?

In this article, we will give you the general averages for how long different types of material should last in theory.

This should only be taken with a pinch of salt because the circumstances at home will have the biggest effect on the longevity of your carpet padding. You should check your padding every year to look for signs of damage that could need result in a replacement being needed – the top signs are listed below.

  • Visible Mould Or Mildew – If your padding has become infected with mould then it needs replacing. Mould can arise in moist environments if the conditions are right and can cause some serious health issues.
  • Cracks, disintegration or other damage – If your carpet padding has visibly started to crack and break down then it is only a matter of time before it will need replacing. This is not as serious an issue as mould or mildew but it will make the experience of walking on your carpet much worse and is something that can’t really be reversed easily, especially if you spot it later.

What Is Carpet Padding Made From?

To understand how often you should replace carpet padding you need to know about the different types of carpet padding, as this is what will dictate the amount of time between changing your carpet padding.

There are quite a few different types of carpet padding that are made from different materials. The most common type of carpet padding is known as rebond, which is made from bonded urethane. Other types include rubber, foam and waffle.

Rebond Padding

If you have a carpet then the chances are that rebond padding is underneath it.

It is estimated that over 80% of all carpets are padded with rebond below and for good reason. Rebond is incredibly affordable because it consists of recycled urethane foam as well as unused foam from the manufacturing process. This unused foam is fused either via a heating process or an adhesive, then formed into a pad for carpets.

Whilst this does make the padding extremely affordable, it can be difficult to estimate exactly how long it will last. Rebond padding does tend to last for a long time though and a good estimate is between 10 and 20 years depending on the usage it gets.

The downside to rebond padding is that if it is an area with lots of traffic then it can become worn out quickly, so some other foam options might be preferred if you want maximum durability. Higher quality rebond paddings can be super durable though so it’s worth spending a bit extra as an investment for the future.

Foam Padding

While rebond is technically foam padding, let’s take a look at some other types of foam that aren’t mixtures of recycled foam but rather their own type.

Memory Foam

Memory foam is made mainly from polyurethane combined with a mixture of chemicals to give it that soft and luxurious feeling.

A memory foam padding is the most comfortable padding of all the options on the market, which comes as no surprise bearing in mind the popularity of memory foam mattresses. Despite its comfort, memory foam is actually quite durable as a carpet padding material, but you should try and avoid using it in busy areas of the house.

Memory foam is quite a new development in the carpet padding world, so it’s hard to estimate how long it would last on average. Memory foam mattresses last around 10 years on average though, so it is reasonable to assume that memory foam padding would at least last for this long, if not more.

Memory foam is also not the most supporting material due to the compromise it makes with being so comfortable, so it can sometimes lead to issues with the carpet above if not enough support is provided.

Prime Foam

Prime foam is really similar to rebond except the foam used is new and not recycled or gathered from other sources.

The specific foam is really similar to that used in furniture and as such tends to be really dense with quick sinking properties. Due to the quick sinking nature of prime foam, it is again advised to not use it in high traffic areas.

Prime foam is known to be not highly durable and is likely to last around 10 years on average.

Frothed Foam

Frothed foam is essentially regular foam padding that is attached to a non-woven material using a piece of equipment. The result is that frothed foam is not only very durable, but it’s one of the most expensive types of carpet padding as well.

Frothed foam can easily last over 20 years if you maintain it properly and assuming it is used in a regularly quiet area of the house. We would personally rate frothed foam as the best option for carpet padding at home if you are planning to own the property for a number of years.

Rubber Padding

Rubber padding is much more straightforward to understand than foam padding, as there is a lot less variation in the types you can buy as well as what they’re suitable for. Let’s take a look at the two types of rubber padding that are used the most often.

Slab Rubber Padding

Slab rubber padding is what it says on the tin – a single slab of rubber that is laid under your carpet.

Rubber as a material is extremely durable and slab rubber underlay produces great durability through the years for this reason. It’s definitely not the choice if comfort is your number one priority, but with a good quality carpet laid over it you won’t notice the difference too much and it’ll be sure to last at least 20 years, if not longer.

Waffle Rubber Padding

Waffle rubber padding is really similar to slab rubber padding in terms of being made entirely of rubber.

The only difference here is that the rubber is shaped into a ‘waffle’ design which introduces pockets of air into grooves on the surface of the rubber. The result is that this padding is a bit more comfortable than slab rubber padding, but it doesn’t provide as much support to the carpet above.

In terms of longevity waffle rubber padding will still last as long as slab rubber, but the carpet above may suffer more damage in the long run than if you were to use slab rubber which is more supportive.

What Other Factors Affect The Lifespan Of Carpet Padding?

The material of padding is probably the most important thing when it comes to how long your padding will last as we’ve mentioned above, but there are a couple of other factors that you might not have considered.

Maintenance And Cleaning

Just like with carpet itself, carpet padding will last for considerably longer if you keep it regularly maintained by cleaning.

Although materials like rubber will deal with spillages much better than foam, it still pays dividends in the future to spot clean any spills right away as these will soak straight through your carpet and into the padding below.

Furthermore, dust and debris can collect at the lower layers of your carpet if you aren’t vacuuming enough which can create friction between the carpet and padding resulting in further damage and problems.

Footfall

Although this one is pretty obvious it’s something that people don’t consider as much as they should.

In high traffic areas in the house, a carpet will be walked on much more often which can build up over time and cause more damage to the padding underneath. Some simple ways to prevent this are using more durable types of padding in high traffic areas such as slab rubber or frothed foam, or by using a rug on top of the carpet to add more protection from above.

Can You Put New Carpet Padding Over Old Carpet Padding?

If your old carpet padding is in good condition then there is nothing stopping you from putting new carpet padding over it, in theory.

We wouldn’t recommend this practice for a few reasons though:

  • Carpet padding is designed to be a specific thickness that relates to the optimum support of the carpet above it. If you add another layer of padding you can cause problems with the carpet above that will likely require it to be re-fitted into place.
  • If you are considering replacing carpet padding then it is likely to be old. Old carpet padding can sometimes be in quite a poor condition, especially if you have pets or children in the house, and so it is better to completely replace it rather than try to hide the mess.
  • Problems with the old padding can transfer to the new padding and reduce its lifespan. Problems include mould or mildew which will easily spread into the new carpet padding which will only lead to more problems and expenses further down the line.

How Much Does Carpet Padding Cost?

So, now that you know the different types of padding and how long they last for, it’s time to consider how much it will cost to replace your padding if you decide to do so.

From our research carpet padding costs much less than the actual carpet itself and is likely to cost an average of £2.73 per square foot including labour costs, but this will vary depending on what type of padding you are using and how much space you need to be padded.

Final Thoughts

Remember that investing in durable carpet padding will save you a lot of headaches further down the road. Our recommendations include frothed foam padding and slab rubber, depending on the type of comfort you want underfoot and of course your budget.

If you notice any difference underfoot then you need to get your carpet padding checked and then replaced depending on its condition.

Keep in mind that just because your padding may be made from a durable material, it doesn’t necessarily guarantee that it will last for a long time. Yearly checks of your padding will guide your decision to replace your padding, not the shelf life given for a particular material.