How to Choose Carpet Cushion

Published: March 18th, 2015 | Updated: September 20th, 2019

Often times clients will say, “Show me your best carpet cushion.”

As it turns out, there isn’t a best cushion for all situations. Not only that, “best” can mean different things to different people — for some it’s softness and, for others, it’s durability. We stock 14 different carpet cushions and we are experts on carpet cushions, so our clients can rest assured we have made the best recommendation for their application.

Density is key

To a carpet professional, density is the most important aspect of a carpet cushion because the cushion has a couple of roles in the carpet installation system. We generally recommend at least an 8-pound density.

Carpet CushionPrimarily, the cushion supports the carpeting. Your carpeting is stretched over the cushion, and the better the support it provides, the longer your carpeting will last and the less likely it will be to develop wrinkles.

Cushions with less than 8-pound density produce a softer walk, but they are definitely less supportive and will break down more quickly, leading to performance issues down the line. For clients looking for softness, we generally recommend buying thicker carpeting rather than choosing a softer cushion.

Some higher-end carpet selections require 10-pound densities, so if you are looking at some of our imported woven wools, like Oriental Weavers, it is always a good idea to double check the manufacturer’s installation instructions.

Thickness is determined by the carpet selection

Sometimes clients will request our thickest cushion, and we have to slow down and explain that the thickness of the cushion is entirely dictated by the style of carpeting they have chosen.

For example, a plush or cut-pile carpet can get the thickest cushion, at ½ ̎ thick. Loop-style carpeting (some people call these “berbers”) requires a ⅜ ̎ thick cushion. Many of today’s hottest patterned carpets combine both cut-pile and looped fibers and require a 7/16 ̎ thick cushion. While these might seem like fairly small differences, they are very important within the industry. It is critical to note that using the wrong carpet cushion thickness will invalidate the carpet’s warranty.

Add a moisture barrier

One critical component in carpet cushion is the moisture barrier. The moisture barrier prevents any spills from going through the carpeting, through the cushion, and down to the sub-floor. When a spill gets all the way to the sub-floor, homeowners will find that, even with professional cleaning, the spill can wick back up into the carpeting after cleaning. Homeowners with stain areas that disappear after cleaning but then re-appear later may be dealing with exactly this issue.


Do you have questions about carpet cushion? Give us a call at 952-933-8944 or contact us for a Free In-Home Estimate.