Fresh, luxurious carpeting is an attractive feature in any home, providing the benefit of helping to retain warmth and reduce noise within each room. A carpet underlay is a padded layer that is placed under a fitted carpet or area rug that provides cushioning and stability while reducing heat leakage and excess noise. Professional carpet installers recommend the use of underlay when installing new carpet. In addition, underlay cushions the carpet pile and prevents it from becoming crushed, increasing the carpet's durability and stability during daily use. Underlay also acts as insulation, which reduces the consumer's energy costs by preventing up to 15 per cent of a room's heat from leaking through the bare floor. Moreover, a carpet with an underlay is up to 2.5 times quieter than a carpet laid on the bare floor, a particular benefit for those who have neighbours downstairs.
An understanding of the various types of carpet underlay as well as how to choose underlay can help an individual as he or she embarks on a purchase. While an extensive array of underlay choices is available in retail stores, online sources such as eBay also offer a wide range of carpet underlay options.
Types of Carpet Underlay
Carpet underlay for home use is available in several materials, including rubber foam, polyurethane, polyethylene, and jute. Each material is appropriate for a particular level of foot traffic and type of use within the home. While underlays are available in a range of price and material options, they increase the longevity of the carpet and protect the consumer's investment.
Rubber Foam Underlay
A commonly utilised material, rubber underlay is further divided into three types: sponge rubber, crumb rubber, and crumb felt. Care must be taken to understand the benefits of each type before one makes a choice.
Sponge Rubber Underlay
Sponge rubber underlay is fabricated from synthetic rubber that provides a comfortable underfoot feel, while being odourless and more sustainable and stable than natural rubber. Sponge rubber is manufactured in a flat form and a waffle form. Flat sponge rubber is made from dense synthetic rubber, which enhances its firmness and ability to support heavy furniture and foot traffic. This type of underlay is well suited to use in a hallway or a family room, and it offers a high degree of sound reduction, especially from the impact of footsteps. Carpet underlay made with waffle sponge rubber features a patterned surface that forms an air pocket for increased comfort as well as enhanced acoustic and thermal qualities. With a lower density than flat sponge rubber, waffle sponge rubber underlay is a budget-friendly solution and is suited for rooms that are utilised occasionally, such as a spare bedroom or a library.
Both types of sponge rubber underlay are available in five weight grades, ranging from lightweight to plush. The thicker sponge rubber underlays are better suited for low-traffic areas, such as the master bedroom, where comfort is the primary factor. The medium-weight sponge rubber underlays are more resilient than the thicker underlays and are more appropriate for use in areas with moderate foot traffic.
Crumb Rubber Underlay
A tough, eco-friendly option, crumb rubber is manufactured by converting recycled car tyres into rubber granules that are bonded to produce a dense underlay. Carpet underlay made with crumb rubber is suitable for high-traffic areas such as the kitchen, dining room, hallways, and staircases and landings. Moreover, crumb rubber underlay is generally impervious to pressure marks, making it a great choice for rooms containing heavy furniture. This compact underlay helps prevent the backing of a woven carpet from deteriorating, stretching, and rippling with continued usage over time.
Crumb Felt Underlay
A crumb felt underlay includes a layer of dense felt bonded to the crumb rubber underlay. Resistant to heavy foot traffic and indentation marks created by bulky furniture, this combination is appropriate for use in a hallway, staircase and landing, dining room, or kitchen.
Polyurethane Foam Underlay
Polyurethane foam carpet underlay, also known as PU foam, is an effective choice for resisting draughts and retaining heat in a room. Made with recycled foam of various types, polyurethane foam is an economical choice and is well suited for rooms where comfort and softness is a primary consideration. This lightweight, environmentally friendly material is easy to handle and install, and its utilisation contributes to the longevity of the carpet. Suitable for use in flats and upstairs rooms, polyurethane underlay is a good acoustic insulator, and it does not transmit noise readily. PU foam is available in several densities and weights to accommodate a range of uses.
Polyethylene Foam Underlay
Made with cellular foam with a thin film backing, polyethylene foam is a lightweight underlay material that is generally available in thicknesses from 3 mm to 9 mm. This easy-to-handle, budget-friendly type of underlay is a good choice for consumers who plan to install carpets in rental flats or houses.
Jute Felt Underlay
Carpet underlay constructed with a blend of 70 per cent jute and 30 per cent goat hair is a natural and environmentally sustainable underlay option. Jute is a durable plant fibre that is inexpensive to acquire and process into a rough thread. With excellent antistatic properties and insulating characteristics, a jute/felt blend is a cost-effective material when utilised as a carpet underlay. It is better suited for use in low-traffic areas that are not exposed to high humidity, as it tends to compact more easily than rubber.
Choosing a Carpet Underlay
Carpet professionals recommend that consumers use an underlay that is appropriate for the amount of wear and usage expected in the room, the location in the home, and the type and thickness of the carpet. For instance, a plush carpet should be paired with a high-density underlay to avoid the overly springy feel underfoot that is typical of a heavier weight pad. Moreover, a too-soft pad can actually reduce the longevity of a carpet.
Industry professionals also suggest that a Berber carpet should be paired with a thin underlay rather than a plusher foam pad, and the larger the Berber loop, the thinner the underlay should be selected. When purchasing a carpet, the buyer's best option is to ask the sales representative what type of underlay he or she recommends. If purchasing carpet underlay online from a website such as eBay, it is important to communicate with the seller if one is unsure about the features of the underlay listed. Moreover, the consumer should consider how long the underlay should last. If the buyer intends to move within a few years, it is not necessary to choose a premium, long-lasting underlay. Whatever the use, it is to the consumer's advantage to buy the highest quality carpet underlay that the budget allows.
Shopping for Carpet Underlay on eBay
Start your search by entering a term such as "carpet underlay" in the search box on any eBay page. A number of subcategories are displayed that help you focus your search further. For instance, a list of materials, sizes, and condition are displayed that allow you to browse further. If you prefer to search for a specific type of underlay right away, you may enter your choice directly, such as "polyurethane carpet underlay" or "carpet underlay for the kitchen". The eBay search engine also displays related items that may be of interest to you.
No matter what kind of carpet underlay you may decide to purchase, you are well advised to review the quality of the seller you are interested in buying from. Being knowledgeable about a seller's ratings and policies allow you to browse the listings with confidence. It is recommended that you communicate with the seller with respect to the item you wish to purchase. Because carpet underlays are bulky, be sure to confirm the delivery and return policies. In addition, you may wish to work with a local seller who is agreeable to an in-person pick-up of the underlay after the successful completion of the sale.
Carpeting is a great way to enhance any room while retaining its warmth and reducing excess noise. A soft, plush carpet plays a role in creating a stylish and welcoming place that allows families to relax, young people to study, and children to play. An underlay is an essential item to keep carpets smoothly and safely in place while making it more comfortable to use. With proper guidance from a knowledgeable carpet professional, especially when purchasing a fitted carpet, the right underlay transforms a space from a mere room to a truly comfortable home environment.
Purchasing a carpet underlay on eBay is a budget-friendly way for a consumer to provide a finishing touch to a rug installation. Whether the buyer is seeking a cushioned sponge rubber pad or environmentally friendly choices such as polyurethane foam or durable crumb rubber underlays, the eBay marketplace provides myriad options. The consumer can select the right underlay for his or her needs by matching the underlay to the carpet, the level of foot traffic in the room, the weight of the furniture in the room, and the location of the room in the home.