Question about carpet padding

TheGoodTexan

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Long time no see…

I can’t find anyone with wisdom or experience regarding this topic… so I come to what I truly believe to be the world’s melting pot of first hand knowledge - The Bad Dog Cafe.

I’m remodeling a basement area in my home - my music listening and guitar playing area. We recently had a professional service install a drainage system with a sump pump. Life-time guarantee, no water. It required a complete tear out of the room, down to the brick foundation. So we reframed, and I was able to pre-wire for speakers (Dolby Atmos), and even some pseudo-recording studio pre-wiring (although I don’t record, I thought it would nice to keep some cables off the floor and behind the wall). All done with proper cabling for the purpose.

Now, my question.

I’m putting carpet back in that room, on top of the concrete slab, specifically for acoustic reasons. I also plan to treat the walls with some sound damping, specifically for helping to keep the room itself as dead as possible. Not trying to sound proof the room.

So I’m spending $$$ on good carpet. And I’ve researched quite a bit about padding. My reading has led me to rubber padding beneath the carpet, most specifically because it supposedly deadens sound better. Additionally, it is 90%+ water resistant, creating an additional vapor barrier over the concrete. However, not one the three locally owned flooring stores that I’ve visited (including the folks that floored our entire home in 2007), install rubber padding, and they have all three advised against it. Not “advised against it for my application” but… they simply don’t use it at all. They say it is twice as expensive as a high quality foam padding, with no other advantage - including sound.

But the internet says otherwise.

So… do I trust the professionals that I’ve used before? Or should I be my normal stubborn self and keep looking for someone to install what I think I want… (rubber padding)… setting myself up for a future “I told you so.”

Anyone here have an education/experienced opinion?

???
 
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memorex

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I'm no expert on carpet, but I've purchased carpet a few times in my life, and here's what I was told. The best stuff is virgin memory foam with moisture barrier. The next best is recycled memory foam with moisture barrier, almost as good and much cheaper. And then there's every other kind of rebond. Get the heaviest density, 8lb or more, don't get the 6lb. stuff.
 

TheGoodTexan

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I'm no expert on carpet, but I've purchased carpet a few times in my life, and here's what I was told. The best stuff is virgin memory foam with moisture barrier. The next best is recycled memory foam with moisture barrier, almost as good and much cheaper. And then there's every other kind of rebond. Get the heaviest density, 8lb or more, don't get the 6lb. stuff.

According to my reading, I agree with your assessment. Except that this rubber padding (which I’ve yet to find in the real world) is supposedly a step above the memory foam stuff.

So I guess what I’m asking is - is the story about rubber padding just marketing hype?
 

Guitarzan

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The rubber padding is probably not worth the expense and probably will not provide much of an advantage if you do have a flooding event. No matter what, if you have water problems you will likely need to go away from carpet to a hard surface to cut down on the mess, smell, and work.

Are you set on a particular broadloom, cut pyle carpet?

Carpet tiles with good cushioning is a reasonable path forward in a basement on a concrete slab. A consumer has a lot of choice these days and it takes a while to work through them all. Some FYI on tiles with padding:

 

memorex

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I've never used rubber padding or had it recommended to me. I would worry about a sump pump failure and subsequent basement water. Can you wet vac water out of the stuff as easily as foam padding?
 

TheGoodTexan

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The rubber padding is probably not worth the expense and probably will not provide much of an advantage if you do have a flooding event. No matter what, if you have water problems you will likely need to go away from carpet to a hard surface to cut down on the mess, smell, and work.

Are you set on a particular broadloom, cut pyle carpet?

Carpet tiles with good cushioning is a reasonable path forward in a basement on a concrete slab. A consumer has a lot of choice these days and it takes a while to work through them all. Some FYI on tiles with padding:


Yeah, I’m mostly set on a particular carpet. The foundation specialist that installed the draining system actually has padding/carpet listed in the guarantee as “ok” with regard to their warranty.

The basement has only “only” flood twice in the past 6 years. Most of that was due to the grading of our backyard shifting, and a sidewalk in the backyard falling. All of that has been fixed now, and the under-foundation draining system installed… so I’m fairly confident with having carpet installed now.

However.. if there is a next time, I will sell the house.
 

Peegoo

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I have two pals that each have a flooring business, and they agree on this: it's better to get premium padding and a cheaper carpet than to get premium carpet and cheaper padding. When working within a budget, this is the way to go because the carpeting will last far longer over good padding.

In your case, you're going premium/premium, so get the best you can find. If it's going on a concrete surface, treat the surface first (etch and seal) with an epoxy paint or other waterproof sealer. Even if you're using a vapor barrier pad, seal that slab surface.
 

imwjl

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@TheGoodTexan Guess how well things with electrical motors worked when freak rains that occur more and more knocked out electricity while the flooding occurred?

With that experience my suggestion would be LVP flooring and a rug or rugs on top of it. With a shaggy rug and dropped ceiling our basement has good acoustics and is in much better shape should Mother Nature problems return.
 

TheGoodTexan

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If it's going on a concrete surface, treat the surface first (etch and seal) with an epoxy paint or other waterproof sealer. Even if you're using a vapor barrier pad, seal that slab surface.

The room originally had carpet in it - from 2007 when we built the house. The first time it flooded was 2017. We pulled the carpet and had the concrete sealed, stained, polished. It looked terrific - almost like marble. But it made music and electric guitars sound horrible. Way too harsh. Like listening to Roy Buchanan all the time.

The second time it flooded - September 2022 - we just wet vac-ed it all up, and it was dry within an hour. The water was ground swell - not coming in over/through the walls... but coming up through the slab. The company that installed the draining system jack-hammered up the perimeter of the floor in that area and installed their system beneath the concrete slab. So the only areas that would need to be address as you suggested would be those places that were jack-hammered.
 

TheGoodTexan

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@TheGoodTexan Guess how well things with electrical motors worked when freak rains that occur more and more knocked out electricity while the flooding occurred?

With that experience my suggestion would be LVP flooring and a rug or rugs on top of it. With a shaggy rug and dropped ceiling our basement has good acoustics and is in much better shape should Mother Nature problems return.

It's got a battery backup.
 

schmee

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When it comes to carpet padding, I like that old fashioned brown stuff, forget what it's called. I "upgraded" to a special foam chunks with a vapor barrier last time, not liking it at all. Any carpet will help with sound deadening really.

It's hard reflective surfaces that allow sound to bounce around.
Any water leaks etc are going to ruin the padding and carpet I imagine.
They make outdoor padding.
They make sound deadening padding.
Negotiate a price without padding, buy it separately and get an independent contractor to lay the carpet. They will do a far better job than big box store layers.

Is it a big space? How about non permanent carpet? like a big Oriental or two? That way you can recover from the water situation when it happens again.
 

TheGoodTexan

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I don't know anything about the flooring, but I am really excited to see you back here. Welcome back!! I literally was just wondering what happened to you the other day. We lose good people all too often for various reasons, so its nice to see someone from the old days.

Thank you.

Not sure I'm "back". I just knew that this would be a good place for me to gather real-world experience on the topic at hand. Better than reading marking blurbs on random websites suggested by a search return.

I stepped away from moderating and even participating in the forum back in the spring of 2021 (I think). Too many other responsibilities making demands on my time. And it's still the same way now.
 

TheGoodTexan

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When it comes to carpet padding, I like that old fashioned brown stuff, forget what it's called. I "upgraded" to a special foam chunks with a vapor barrier last time, not liking it at all. Any carpet will help with sound deadening really.

It's hard reflective surfaces that allow sound to bounce around.
Any water leaks etc are going to ruin the padding and carpet I imagine.
They make outdoor padding.
They make sound deadening padding.
Negotiate a price without padding, buy it separately and get an independent contractor to lay the carpet. They will do a far better job than big box store layers.

Is it a big space? How about non permanent carpet? like a big Oriental or two? That way you can recover from the water situation when it happens again.


It's not a huge space - about 465 square feet.

The wife tells me that it's mine to do with as I wish. But that's not entirely accurate.

I may get burned by putting carpet down... and by burned, I mean flooded. It might happen again. But it's only ever happened twice. And we just spent $$$ with a company that guarantees that the basement will never have water in it again. Lifetime guarantee in writing, with carpet replacement included in the warranty. They're confident in their work. So I'll give it one chance. And if we do get water in the basement again, and it ruins my carpet... and whatever padding I go with... then we'll know for sure, and just do concrete again and rugs, as you've suggested.
 

Toto'sDad

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Yeah, I’m mostly set on a particular carpet. The foundation specialist that installed the draining system actually has padding/carpet listed in the guarantee as “ok” with regard to their warranty.

The basement has only “only” flood twice in the past 6 years. Most of that was due to the grading of our backyard shifting, and a sidewalk in the backyard falling. All of that has been fixed now, and the under-foundation draining system installed… so I’m fairly confident with having carpet installed now.

However.. if there is a next time, I will sell the house.
Right after the guys in the Tyvek suits, and face mask eradicate the mold. ;)

How you doing TGT? Other than being perplexed about something that probably doesn't matter? If it's hard to get rubber padding, and ANYONE is recommending against it's probably a bad idea.
 

Milspec

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As a former cleaner, installer, and flood damage contractor, I do have a few opinions.

First, the oldest rule on the planet is that "water always wins" and it remains true. Regardless of any drainage systems, water will find a flaw and it will win. Maybe it will be from elevated water table, leaking water heater, ruptured pipe, laundry room shut off valve failure, etc., but the threat is always there in a basement. Even just in the form of humidity, you can get condensation on the floor beneath any carpet.

Two, the most important thing with carpet is the padding. That is where you spend the money. It not only provides a better feel, but it keeps the carpet level rather than developing dips which destroy the carpet over time. The rubber padding is much nicer than the chipfoam stuff and will add life to the carpet, but it really isn't water proof because of rule number one...water always wins.

Third, the only way to make a floor protected from water damage is to build a raised floor that will separate the carpet and pad from the concrete and allow some air flow. Dricore is what we have used in the past for all finish basements. It is easy to install and raises the surface above any water issues. It will not mold, not absorb water, etc. It isn't cheap, but worth it compared to cost of repairing a flooded basement.

If the cost wasn't too prohibitive, my advice is coat the basement floor with a good concrete sealer (we used pool liner paint), install a dricore floor, then the upgraded padding / carpet. You will be as protected as you can be short of living in the desert.
 

Toto'sDad

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As a former cleaner, installer, and flood damage contractor, I do have a few opinions.

First, the oldest rule on the planet is that "water always wins" and it remains true. Regardless of any drainage systems, water will find a flaw and it will win. Maybe it will be from elevated water table, leaking water heater, ruptured pipe, laundry room shut off valve failure, etc., but the threat is always there in a basement. Even just in the form of humidity, you can get condensation on the floor beneath any carpet.

Two, the most important thing with carpet is the padding. That is where you spend the money. It not only provides a better feel, but it keeps the carpet level rather than developing dips which destroy the carpet over time. The rubber padding is much nicer than the chipfoam stuff and will add life to the carpet, but it really isn't water proof because of rule number one...water always wins.

Third, the only way to make a floor protected from water damage is to build a raised floor that will separate the carpet and pad from the concrete and allow some air flow. Dricore is what we have used in the past for all finish basements. It is easy to install and raises the surface above any water issues. It will not mold, not absorb water, etc. It isn't cheap, but worth it compared to cost of repairing a flooded basement.

If the cost wasn't too prohibitive, my advice is coat the basement floor with a good concrete sealer (we used pool liner paint), install a dricore floor, then the upgraded padding / carpet. You will be as protected as you can be short of living in the desert.
I have fought the elements, and the elements won.
 

Lowerleftcoast

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From my knowledge, any of the above mentioned pads will not have a *significant* difference in acoustic dampening.

Use Rockwool insulation (One company is Roxul. I am sure there are others.) for sound dampening of walls/ceiling. It is much cheaper than professional egg crate sound panels and it gets the job done. You can make a frame to go around the rockwool and hang it like a picture for wall/ceiling treatment. Chances are you should not *totally* dampen the acoustics in your room.

An example:

shopping.jpg
Picture is from an internet site.
I have no affiliation with any of the products mentioned or shown.
 




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