What Is Moisture Barrier Carpet Pad & Do I Want It?

What Is Moisture Barrier Carpet Pad & Do I Want It?

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It is true that you never put carpet and pad in an igloo. However, you are putting carpet and pad in your home and you need to know the facts in order to make the correct choices for your personal requirements.

In a previous article I went over the primary types of padding and where they are best suited. Lately there has been a lot of hype about the supposed benefit of using moisture barrier padding. At Jolly Carpet & Upholstery Cleaners we do a lot of pet stain and odor restoration. We fully understand how carpet cushion, of all types, will perform under various conditions. We hope this article will help you separate the hype from the facts as to what moisture barrier carpet padding will and won’t do.

Moisture barrier padding is simply this. When the pad is manufactured, a rebond base carpet cushion has a moisture barrier membrane laminated to the top of the pad. The theory behind moisture barrier carpet pad is that the offending liquid passes through the carpet and is supposed to stop at the pad upper surface. There are several flaws to this theory and here is what they are.

Flaw: The proper technique used to install most standard pads is to staple the seams together or apply duct tape to the seams, staple the edges close to the tackless strip, and staple the rest of the pad every 6 inches to the floor. Under most circumstances this makes a very good and stable installation. In all cases this type of installation damages the moisture barrier.

Flaw: In the case of moisture barrier padding this type of installation completely defeats the purpose of the barrier by letting the offending liquid to penetrate the pad and become trapped in the sub floor. This trapped liquid is a perfect condition for mold and mildew to form. Mold and mildew need 3 things to survive and grow. Mold and mildew need a food source (the liquid and the sub floor), warm temperature (pad provides good warmth), and darkness (which there is plenty of under the pad). Installing the pad the incorrect way creates and worsens the problems we are trying to stop by using moisture barrier pad.

Fact: The correct method to install moisture barrier is to first use good quality duct tape on all seams. It is also very beneficial to apply duct tape to attach the edge of the pad to the tackless completing a proper seal for the pad. Applying glue under the pad before you seal the edges will keep it from moving and will insure a good base for your carpet to set on.

Fact: Moisture barrier pad has one other problem. The membrane that keeps the liquid off the sub floor doesn’t allow the floor to breathe. As moisture can build up under the pad, due to weather temperature changes, mold and mildew will again have a platform to thrive under your carpet creating a contaminated and unhealthy condition.

There is a new moisture barrier pad that advertises a breathable membrane to prevent this problem. As a professional restorer I don’t see how it can keep liquid out while allowing the sub floor to breathe. If air can get in, so can offending liquid.

Fact: If, for any reason, your house becomes flooded, moisture barrier pad makes it impossible to dry and restore the pad to a safe and healthy condition. This pad always makes it necessary to replace the pad wih new. This can be a great expense to you or your insurance company. Insurance companies don’t like that. Many times after insurance pays your claim, they can either raise your premium rates or opt not to renew your homeowners policy next term. Changing your insurnce company because of a loss claim will almost always make your new premium higher than before.

Fact: If the offending liquid is cat or dog urine, the moisture trapped underneath will let the odor causing bacteria to multiply and make your life unbearable.

Fact: Moisture barrier carpet cushion is far more expensive than standard pad and with proper care; standard pad will in many ways outperform the moisture barrier pad.

Fact: The idea is to keep your home as allergen free as possible. In my opinion, moisture barrier pad will not accomplish this goal for you. The right standard carpet pad properly installed with correct carpet and maintenance cleaning will give you a long and pleasurable carpet experience every day. Again always remember, a healthy house is a happy home.

Our primary goal at Jolly Carpet & Upholstery Cleaners is to make your house a healthy home. Your comfort is our concern!

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