Padding - Moisture Barrier Pad
Alan Fletcher - Carpet Expert and Consumer
Should I Use a Moisture
Some carpet salespeople recommend a
barrier pad to every customer that walks into their store. Why? Because it
helps them make more profits.
Moisture barrier pads are
than a standard Rebond type padding and may be a wise option for some homeowners in some
have found that in most situations homeowners are mislead into assuming that a
moisture barrier pad can do more than they are actually designed to do.
Here is what I mean...
Some claim that a Moisture Barrier
will prevent spills from soaking into the pad.
While this is true, what benefit does that
provide? When you have your carpets cleaned, they don't suck up spills
that have landed and dried on top of the moisture barrier padding. Steam cleaning is
designed to clean the carpet from the
carpet backing up. If they were to soak your carpet, the backing AND force hot
water deep into your carpet
padding, that would cause damage to your carpet backing and potentially cause
mold and mildew to form under your carpet and pad.
Carpet Over Hardwood Floors
Some folks think that a
moisture barrier pad
will help protect their beautiful hardwood floors from being ruined from any
potential liquid spills when carpet and a moisture barrier pad is installed over the
top of the hardwood floors.
quantity of liquid that is spilled and soaks through the carpet
will quickly spread out on top of a moisture barrier pad. If any spills
fall near the pad seams or near the walls, it can easily get underneath
the pad and become trapped underneath.
This prolonged exposure to moisture
under the pad can cause
serious damage to the hardwoods and not be discovered until the carpet and pad
is removed years later. Potted plants and pet accidents are the moist common
cause of damage to hardwood floors with a moisture barrier pad carpet installed over the
Some say that if the pad seams are sealed with
duct tape, that liquids will not be able to soak through. From all my experience in
the flooring business I've learned one thing for sure; that water (or any
source of moisture) is always somehow able to find a way to soak through any
moisture barrier and can cause significant damage if trapped underneath
without any way to evaporate off.
Using a regular pad without a moisture barrier
would be my suggestion because most liquid spills would be able to dry in a
short period of time and evaporate long before causing serious damage to the hardwoods below.
Barrier Padding for Pet Accidents
Some homeowners think that a
pad will help with pet urine problems, perhaps making it easier to clean up
the accident and reduce urine odors. This is not true because any liquid that
soaks through the carpet backing will spread out on top surface of the
moisture barrier padding.
While the entrance spot on top of the carpet
may appear be just 2 inches in diameter, under the carpet it could have spread
out to be 8 to 12 inches in diameter or more on the top surface of the
moisture barrier padding.
This makes the pet accident or spill much more difficult to
clean up since the size and scope of the accident is misleading. Again,
carpet cleaning methods are not designed to suck up spills that soak through the
carpet backing and spread out and dry onto the surface of a moisture barrier
Once the urine dries on top of the padding
the odor will be more evident as foot traffic and vacuuming will continue to
disturb the affected area. Every time you clean your carpets it will
"reactivate" the dried urine on top of the pad and the odor will
magnify. Since some pets tend to have accidents in the same spot over and
over again the problem becomes magnified and compounded.
Beyond the Moisture Barrier
In the end, some folks spend a significant
amount of money on specialty pads hoping for the best and end up not getting the results or
benefits they expect. I don't generally recommend using any specialty pads
because overall I think they are overpriced, have limited benefits and may
cause more problems then they solve.
Some carpet manufacturers are offering a
warranty extension if you buy their specialty padding. Most homeowners never
file a carpet warranty claim so if you consider the increased price of the pad
against the limited benefits from an extended carpet warranty you might find
that it is not worth the added expense. I don't recommend buying any
padding that will increase your new carpet warranty limits.
Any good quality
Rebond type padding with sufficient
density (minimum 6 to 8 pound density) can likely do the job just fine and save you money. Selecting the right
carpet, choosing the right pad, getting qualified installation and buying from
a reputable dealer are the four most critical factors in buying new carpet.
Read through my website for more information and insight about how to buy new
Problems in Basements
Some homeowners have a serious moisture problem
in their basement and might think that a moisture barrier pad will be
beneficial by preventing moisture from coming up through the pad and carpet.
Unfortunately, because concrete is porous it can allow moisture to evaporate
upward. A moisture barrier pad can trap moisture under the pad and can promote the growth of mold and mildew, potentially causing a hidden health hazard.
Carpet Professor Says...
suspect you have a moisture problem in your basement
you need to fix the problem before you install any flooring product. There
are many simple ways for you to test your concrete basement for moisture
problems. I suggest you research this further to make sure your basement does
not have a moisture problem before you install any flooring products.