Why is Quality Cushion Important?
CUSHION, not your carpet, determines how carpet feels when you walk on it, and helps maintain your carpet’s original appearance. As you know, Pittsburgh weather can get pretty cold, so having a qualtiy cushion is important because it will keep your subfloors warm during the winter months.
How Does Cushion Work?
Cushion absorbs foot traffic and makes carpet feel better and last longer. Better quality cushion blocks moisture, fights stains and odors, minimizes sound transfer between rooms, provides thermal insulation and increases air flow between the floor and your carpet for better, more efficient vacuuming.
Will Cushion Protect My Carpet From Wearing Out?
Today’s carpet rarely wears away. Selecting the correct cushion helps resist “uglying out” due to premature matting and crushing – and soiling and staining. If you have kids, pets, or a high traffic room, a cushion will help your carpet to maintain durability and visual appeal.
How Do I Know What To Buy?
Decide based on comfort, performance and a warranty that’s right for you. Typically, softer, luxurious cushion is found in living rooms or master bedrooms, and cushion with more support is used for certain precision-loop (berber) carpets and areas with active use.
Each variety of cushion has characteristics that make it useful in particular types of carpet installation. Each variety also has grades, which vary by weight (density), thickness, and the amount of force it takes to compress the cushion.
Density is one of the most important parameters of any type of cushion. All types of cushion can be made dense (more material), or light (more air), or any grade in between. They can be soft, firm, resilient, or supportive according to the type of room and expected traffic on the carpet they support.
Generally speaking, foam cushion comes in three clearly different varieties:
Prime polyurethane foam is a firmer version of the same cushioning used in upholstered furniture, mattresses, and automobile seats. Two liquid ingredients are combined to form a large mass of foam, which is then sliced into sheets for use as carpet cushion.
Bonded polyurethane foam (sometimes called rebond) is quite unique. You cannot mistake it when you see it, because it is formed by combining chopped and shredded pieces of foam, in different sizes and usually different colors, into one solid piece. It frequently has a surface net for ease of installation and improved performance.
Bonded foam is one of the most amazing recycling projects of all time. Nearly all the scrap foam in the U.S., and some from other countries as well, are utilized to make bonded cushion. This recycles waste, which would otherwise be thrown out, and it eases the strain on our landfills. Moreover, bonded foam is itself recyclable.
Froth polyurethane foam is made with carpet backing machinery. Liquid ingredients are applied, either directly to the backs of some carpet styles or to a non-woven material (for making separate cushion). They react and form thin, dense foam, which is particularly useful in commercial applications with wide expanses of carpet.
There are two basic types of sponge rubber carpet cushion:
Waffled rubber cushion is made by molding natural or synthetic rubber. Heat cures the rubber and forms a waffle pattern. This variety produces a soft, resilient cushion with a luxurious feel particularly useful for residences.
Flat sponge rubber is a firm, dense cushion, which has a flat surface and is normally used in large-scale commercial applications and with loop type (or Berber) carpet.
Rubber cushion manufacturing processes can be varied to produce different levels of density and firmness. The usual measurement is the weight in ounces per square yard. Foam and rubber cushions are produced from new and recycled materials.
Fiber cushion, on the other hand, uses existing fibers which are interlocked into a useful sheet of felt.
Synthetic fibers include nylon, polyester, polypropylene, and acrylics which are needle-punched into relatively dense cushions. These dense cushions have a firm feel and can be made to stand up under light, medium, or heavy traffic, which is how they are usually classified.
Berber or fashion looped carpet requires a thin, firm cushion.
Radiant heating is widely used in some parts of the country. In this instance, you do not want a cushion that is an exceptionally effective insulator. One that allows the heat from the subfloor to penetrate the carpet system and heat the room is much more effective. A relatively thin, flat cellular sponge rubber or synthetic fiber cushion works well under these circumstances. Be sure to tell your dealer if your rooms have radiant heating.