The carpet's hidden padding plays a large role in insulating a room.
A home's flooring influences how warm and cool it is over the changing seasons. For example, a plain concrete floor loses more heat compared to a floor covered in padding and carpet. In fact, the choice of carpet padding also effects the room's temperature with its varying R-value; a higher R-value insulates better than a lower value since this value reflects the material's heat flow resistance. In other words, the R-value stops heat from escaping an area through the density and composition of the carpet padding material. Each padding material offers a different value and application for the home.
Urethane has the highest R-value between all the padding choices, ranging from 1.05 to 2.15, based on the chosen thickness of the pad. The padding's density is relatively low, which makes it a lightweight padding choice for homeowners. Since it is not very dense, it does not hold up to heavy foot traffic, such as down a home hallway. As a solution, you can install this padding in bedrooms where there is less traffic. This inexpensive padding solution provides a solid insulation value against the cold and hot weather elements.
Rubber has the lowest R-value rating among padding options, which can vary between 0.31 and 1.61. The dense nature of rubber makes it a prime choice for busy living rooms or hallways; it can withstand the constant foot traffic so that the carpet installed above it remains firm and aesthetically pleasing. You should look for a quality rubber padding that does not use fillers. These inexpensive fillers break down over time and produce an uneven surface for the carpet above.
Fiber padding uses hair or plant fibers to make up its consistency. As a result, it has a median R-value range between 0.97 and 1.94. Similar to rubber, fiber has a high density so it works well with heavy foot traffic. Since its insulating value is not extremely low or high, it provides a balance of carpet support, as well as warm and cool air retention.
Padding Combined with Carpet
The insulating value of the padding must also be combined with the R-value of the installed carpeting; adding these two together will produce a R-value that can exceed 2.0. Although carpet is not a good insulator by itself, the combination of the padding with the carpet creates a strong barrier against heat and cool air loss during the seasons. Typically, a thicker carpet choice increases its overall R-value compared to a thinner carpet option.