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Rug and carpet pads

Appropriate rug or carpet pad acts as a shock absorber (cushion), and will significantly prolong its life. It also adds softness, and improves thermal and acoustical insulation. Often times, a rug or carpet is accompanied with the matching pad. Point to remember is that not following the manufacturer's padding guidelines may void your warranty.

Optimum pad thickness and density vary with the rug/carpet it is used with. In general, insufficient pad thickness or high pad density - or both - will result in the wear rate above the minimum possible. On the other hand, excess pad thickness or insufficient density will speed up rug's structural and dimensional deterioration. These criteria vary with the intended use. For instance, rugs and carpets in high traffic-areas usually do better with relatively thin (not excessively) pads, while low-traffic area rugs will still do well with relatively thick, cushy pads.

Generally recommended minimum is from 5lb 3/8 inch for light, to 6.5lb 3/8 inch for heavy traffic; according to Carpet and Rug Institute, pad thickness shouldn't exceed 7/16 inch.

Most common area rug pad materials are felt, rubber and urethane. Felt padding made 100% from hair has good wear resistance and resiliency. However, it sheds, may cause sensitivity/allergy problems, absorbs moisture and stretches out of shape. Its physical properties worsen if mixed with jute. On the other hand, felt pad coated with latex or rubber has better dimensional and floor stability, lower moisture absorption and allergenic potential.

Rubber pads can come as foam and sponge. Foam padding is made from some form of latex rubber base, while sponge padding consists of natural or synthetic rubbers and other chemicals. Sponge rubber has somewhat inferior properties being more sensitive to heat and chemicals. It also may have lower moisture resistance, and loses resiliency as it ages.

Urethane can be prime, densified and bonded. It is non-flammable, moisture resistant and insect-proof. That makes it a good choice for concrete and basement floors. It provides better bonding than rubber, however, it has lower resiliency, with bonded urethane being less resilient than prime urethane.  

Carpet and rugs terminology - This sounds like a school class - but this is the one you don't want to miss. An educated buying decision translates into a buying success, and that is your goal. Certainly, understanding carpet and rug terminology is something you need for enjoyable, successful shopping.  And it is not as simple as it may seem at first...

Construction - Simply put, rug or carpet construction is a particular way of putting it together. Whether produced by hand, or by machine, they are made in a certain way. This includes all that is done to come up with a finished product: from tufting or weaving the yarn to dyeing and applying chemical or other treatments...

Materials - Nearly all of materials used for rug and carpet construction are in their face-fiber and backing. It is usually the face-fiber material that gets most of attention and consideration. This is because the rug/carpet fiber forming its face is most exposed, both, visually and physically. Hence it is the main determinant of appearance quality and retention...

Environmental effect - Most materials, natural or synthetic, have some environmental impact, and those used for carpets and rugs are no exception. Health hazard comes mainly from rug and carpet being outgassing potentially toxic fumes, as well as from rug and carpet mold (mildew) infestation...

Label and warranty - Rug/carpet label and its warranty can give important information and indications in regard to its quality level. Getting familiar with their contents is time well spent. Here's what you should look for...

Area rug size and shape - In somewhat different ways, area rug size and shape have both, functional and aesthetic aspect. At first, one would say that area rug's size is pretty much determined by dimensions of the space it is intended to. In reality, the decision on how large area rug will be, and whether it is to be square, round or of some other shape, should come after careful consideration of not only room's size and geometry, but also typical traffic patterns, form and arrangement of other objects and decor elements present, as well as the intended use of the room, or space...

Colors and Patterns - Color of your rug, or carpet, creates certain visual effect, emotion, and an atmosphere. Individual perceptions vary, but most of us will be affected similarly. Here's a brief overview of what are out typical responses to colors and patterns. It may help you decide what rug color and pattern type is best for your room...

Design style - Possible variations in the visual characteristics of the rug/carpet face - its design - are literally countless. They come from visual rug/carpet attributes created by both, fiber coloration, and its dimensional appearance. Luckily, all this immense variety is being channeled, fairly efficiently, into a few main classifications...

Carpet and rug buying checklist - The two main aspects of every rug or carpet are (1) its aesthetics and (2) practicality. Once you find the one that has the right looks, the next step is to check out how appropriate are its materials and construction type to its intended use. In other words, what is its quality level. The following checklist will help you figure that out...

Rug and carpet care tips - From the moment a new rug or carpet enters your home, certain steps and procedures should be followed to ensure its functionality and appearance retention. They are related to placement and installation, as well as carpet or rug care and maintenance. Here are the main pointers.

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