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Carpet underlay options

Carpet underlay options

Carpet underlay options

Within the scope of a carpet project, the choice of underlay (or pad) can often be overlooked. Underlay plays an important factor in the overall performance of your carpet, and so it is beneficial for customers to learn more about this facet of their carpet project.

Underlay adds comfort and support for the carpet, but it can also improve the acoustics in your home by helping to absorb sounds. Underlay also helps prolong the life of your new carpet by absorbing the shock of everyday use.

There are more choices for carpet underlay than most people think. Underlay can be made from several different materials, can come in different densities as well as different thicknesses. This article will explore some of the options available.

Underlay materials

Rebonded foam

The most common type of carpet underlay is made of rebonded foam (sometimes referred to as “chip foam”). Rebonded foam underlay is made from recycled foam. They are typically the most cost-efficient option for underlay. Here at Burritt Bros we use rebonded foam underlay in the majority of our carpet projects.

Memory foam

Memory foam underlay has a very soft feel to it versus a rebonded foam option. Memory foam is generally a good option for carpet projects with the exception being areas with very high traffic. Memory foam will compress over time under heavy traffic, so we recommend looking at a different underlay option if you have areas in your home that will have very heavy traffic. This could include stairs that get used multiple times per day by multiple members of your household.


Rubber-based underlay options are not as popular as rebonded foam options, but they have their place in carpet projects. Rubber-based underlays can often stand up to heavier traffic than rebonded or memory foam underlay. Here at Burritt Bros we will often recommend a rubber-based underlay for stairs that will see heavy traffic. We also typically use a rubber-based underlay for commercial carpet projects.


Felt has been used as an underlay for carpet for many years. Felt underlay is typically made from wool, and some customers will choose felt because it is a natural fibre. Burritt Bros has been known for wool carpets for over a century and we offer felt underlay as an option for our customers. Felt won’t be quite as “squishy” as rebonded or memory foam, but it is a good choice for a natural product.


Carpet underlays are made to various densities. If you have ever shopped for carpet or underlay in the past, you may have heard ratings like 6-pound or 8-pound. This is the density of the underlay, and it is calculated by the weight of the underlay per cubic foot. So, one cubic foot of an 8 pound underlay will weigh 8 pounds.

The density of an underlay is not the only factor to consider, but it is an important factor to keep in mind. Most rebonded underlay options will range from 3-10 pounds in density. The rebonded foam underlay we offer here at Burritt Bros has an 8 pound density. A very low density underlay will not provide the proper support for traffic and for your new carpet. An underlay with a high density will have a firmer feel.

The different types of underlay will also have different density ratings. For example, a rubber-based underlay may have a density between 20-30 pounds.


Another factor to consider when choosing underlay for your carpet is the thickness. A thicker underlay is not automatically a better choice. The most common thicknesses of carpet underlay usually falls somewhere between 5/16” to ½”. If you choose an underlay that is thicker than this there is going to be more “squish” when walking on the carpet. The more “squish”, or movement, that the carpet experiences the more likelihood of the carpet developing ripples which will need to be re-stretched. The most common thickness we use at Burritt Bros is 3/8”. We find that this thickness provides good comfort while not being too “squishy” underfoot.

Please feel free to send us any questions you might have about carpet underlay: info@burrittfloors.com

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