How Long Does Carpet Padding Last?

Carpet padding isn't something that you think about every day--even when it comes to home improvement. Why? Because it's under the carpet, and quite frankly, you just don't see it. However, if your carpet begins to feel uncomfortable to walk on, the padding could be the issue. That being stated, how long does carpet padding last? We've researched this, and we'll answer it for you.

On average, carpet padding can last anywhere from 7 to 15 years. Factors that influence the lifespan of the padding center around the condition of the carpet, the amount of traffic it receives, and its overall maintenance. The quality and type of carpet padding will also affect its longevity, with higher quality padding materials lasting longer than less expensive options.

It's helpful to know the signs to look for when it's time to replace your carpet padding. Doing so will prevent you from spinning your wheels if you start to notice changes in the way your carpet feels or smells. Continue reading to learn more about replacing your carpet padding.

A carpet padding up close in roll, How Long Does Carpet Padding Last?

Overview of Carpet Padding

The lifespan of your carpet will really depend on the material for the most part, with usage factors falling close behind. The most common materials for carpet padding are urethane or rebond and rubber, depending on the brand. These pads last anywhere from 15 to 25 years. Like a carpet, if the padding receives a high amount of traffic, its lifespan will naturally lower.

Does Carpet Padding Need To Be Replaced?

Close up photo of carpet padding

Yes. Most people will replace their carpet padding if their carpet is being replaced, especially if the carpet is over 7 years old. Similar to a carpet, padding can become worn, damaged, and it can make walking rather uncomfortable if it is not replaced promptly. For example, if you suddenly noticed that certain areas on your carpet feel harder to walk on than others, chances are it's time for the padding beneath the carpet to be replaced.

How Do You Know If Your Carpet Pad Is Bad?

There are quite a few signs that will let you know when to replace your carpet pad. Here are the most common ones.

Carpet feels harder or thinner

The main purpose of carpet padding is to provide a comfortable layer of cushioning beneath the carpet. It also works as a great room insulator and noise dampener. Over time, however, carpet padding can become misshapen, degraded, and thinner as a result.

You may notice that your carpet is starting to look wrinkled, feel uneven in certain areas, usually corners and low-traffic areas, or feel less comfortable walking on overall. And if this is the case, it's best to replace it is as soon as possible or the next time that you replace the carpet.

Water damage

Liquids can seep through carpets onto the padding, eventually causing mildew and mold do to form. This is particularly likely to occur if you've had a significant water damage event in your home or a ton of spills on your carpeting throughout the years. Remember that these microbes can cause health hazards, and their spores can penetrate the carpet's surface above the pad.

Also, if you notice that your carpet is starting to feel crunchy when you walk on it, the chances are that carpet padding has dried up from being saturated with water and has lost its structural integrity. And if you notice any mildew like water is coming from the carpet, this can be a sign of mildew or mold on the padding.

Carpet discoloration

Believe it or not, gases and chemicals from the carping carpet padding can seep out of the pad and reach the surface of the carpet. You'll usually find this with odor with rubber carpet pads that are made with formaldehyde. Formaldehyde gives off a very gas-like smell, and it is known to turn carpet fibers orange and yellow. If you notice any stains such as these, along with a foul smell coming from your carpet (especially if it's over 7 to 10 years old), chances are that your carpet padding is due for replacement.

It emits foul odors

Over the years, carpets and carpet pads can be subjected to all sorts of liquids, food droppings, and pet waste. And at some point, they may start to emit odors as a result. Even when you steam clean the carpet, the padding beneath will not be completely rid of the biological materials left behind--even when you use an enzyme-based carpet cleaner solution.

This is why you'll sometimes notice bad smells even after you steam clean a carpet multiple times. So if you find that your carpet still retains bad smells regardless of how often you clean it, chances are that your carpet pad needs to be replaced. 

Check out this enzyme-based cleaning spray on Amazon.

The carpet is old

The carpet's age should always be taken into consideration when you're considering replacing the carpet padding. Oftentimes, this is usually around the 5 to 7-year mark. However, it really depends on the quality of the carpet, room traffic, padding, and the materials they are made from.

You hear crunchy sounds

If you hear crunchy or cracking sounds when walking on the carpet, the chances are that the carpet padding is either made of rubber or urethane that has become worn or wet and has completely dried out. As a result, it will become stiff and may make crackling sounds when the carpet is walked on. If possible, consider pulling up a small corner of the carpet in an inconspicuous area or a room with little traffic.

Take a look at the carpet padding. Does it look thin or discolored? Do you see any signs of mold or mildew? If it looks thin, old, or worn, chances are it needs to be replaced. Note that sometimes crackling sounds coming from your carpet can alert you to small leaks in home appliances, specifically water heaters, washing machines, and dishwashers. If you notice crackling, be sure not to simply ignore this, as it could be a sign of a much bigger issue.

Can Mold Grow On Carpet Padding?

Yes. Moisture from pet urine, liquid spills, and water damage can cause mold to grow on carpet padding, even if the carpet has been cleaned after the event. Remember that padding is typically made of fibrous material that's not completely waterproof-though it may be water-resistant.

So it may not be possible to always remove all of the moisture from it soon enough to prevent the accumulation of mold and mildew. The biggest sign that the padding may harbor mildew is when you notice foul odors that won't seem to go away even when you steam clean the carpet more than once.

How Much Does It Cost To Replace Carpet Padding?

Construction gloves and utility knife on pulled back carpet and pad in room

The cost to replace carpet padding depends on the type of padding you're purchasing and the square footage needed. You'll find that most carving padded materials will cost anywhere between $3 to $7 per square foot. Keep in mind that if you are going with a contractor, you also need to include possible pricing for carpet installation.

Contractors may charge you a flat rate, or they may charge you by the hour for the labor. Depending on where you live, a flat rate can start anywhere from $300 to $500 or more. Hourly carpet installation rates can start at $25 per hour or more, depending on how many installers are present and whether or not they're removing old carpet and padding.

The cost to remove old carpets and padding can range from $600 to over $1,000, depending on the room's square footage and the installation method of the materials.

What Is A Good Weight For Carpet Padding?

A roll of carpet padding up close

Many experts recommend avoiding thick carpet padding as it can be more inclined to wrinkle and cause serious tripping hazards. Ideal carpet padding should be around 6 to 8 pounds, as this weight will work for most carpet tiles, whether they're thick are on the thinner side.

It's always a good idea to contact your carpet installer to get a recommendation for the ideal pad weight based on your current or new carpet type and the room on which the carpet padding will be installed.

Wrapping Things Up

If your carpet padding needs to be replaced, chances are it will show you signs of this when you walk on it. This could include the carpet feeling uneven, thinner, or harder, or even emitting foul odors. It's best to replace your carpet padding whenever you get a new carpet.

This way, the padding will be less likely to become worn before the carpet is due for replacement. It'll also prevent the padding from potentially harboring microbes such as mold and mildew, which can be harmful to you and your pests.

Before you go, be sure to check out some of our other posts:

How Thick Should Carpet Padding Be?

How To Install Carpet Padding On A Concrete Floor

One comment

  1. what’s the best rug pad for use under rugs on hardwood floors. i just sent rugs out for cleaning and discovered a messy disaster of rug gripper adhesive damage to the hardwood floors and it’s been a nightmare to clean up. i don’t want to repeat the mistake.

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