Choosing a carpet pad
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When selecting a carpet pad to go over a concrete floor, look for one that's resistant to odors and moisture damage.
Any carpet that can be used in
other areas of the house can be
used in the basement. But as a precaution
against moisture, use an open cell pad to
allow the concrete to “breathe.” Nearly all
pads are open cell pads, which provide
better insulation and are less expensive
than closed cell pads. In addition, some
pads have a film barrier or odor guard
(see photo) that helps eliminate odors
that sometimes come from basement
floors. These pads cost $1 to $2 more per
square yard than traditional pads and are
available at carpet stores.
Rubber pads (which are closed cell) are
also available for carpet installed below
grade, but most professionals don't recommend
them because they can trap
moisture between the pad and the concrete.
This may cause moisture to move
up the walls and get into the drywall.
The key is to think through and resolve
any potential moisture problems in your
basement before installing carpet. Once
installed, carpets with open cell pads can
withstand moderate wetting if you clean
them with a wet/dry vacuum. But keep in
mind that a flood of water will ruin both
the carpet and pad, and you'll have to
Look for a stamp or words on the pad
that say it provides odor protection.