One of the great things about carpet is its versatility. It can be installed in almost all locations. If you have doubts about the subflooring for carpet, don’t worry; this is rarely a problem. Since carpet should be installed with padding between the carpet and the subflooring, many surface irregularities rendered unnoticeable.
Carpet padding is also an important contributor to sound reduction and walking comfort. As a rule of thumb the thicker padding is more expensive yet it yields higher levels of benefits and has a longer lifespan.
In some instances the carpet layer will not use a pad and simply glue the carpet directly to the home’s subfloor. Please do not do this. It is uncomfortable and is a headache when it comes time to take the carpet out.
The only exception is when installing carpet tiles that have the padding attached to the carpet. The adhesive is designed to be easy release for changing the carpet tile due to a stain, etc. This type of carpet might be a good choice in a game room of the home.
Using Concrete as a Subfloor
Concrete is the most common subflooring in homes and commercial buildings that have concrete slabs for the foundation. The slab should be level and free from foreign objects or lumps of dried drywall compound. Some homeowners are concerned about a moisture barrier. This is usually not an issue inside a temperature and humidity controlled building.
The pad is simply rolled out and sealed with clear, wide plastic tape at seams. The carpet layer nails tack strips along the perimeter of the rooms and hooks the edge of the carpet on it while he stretches it with a carpet kicker.
Using Wood as a Subfloor
When wood is the subfloor material, either plywood or an existing hardwood floor, a moisture barrier can be an issue. The usual solution in this case is to use a “one way” moisture barrier that allows moisture flow from the subfloor up through the carpeting but not from the carpeting down to the subfloor.
This will protect the wood subfloor from spills and pet accidents. This one way moisture barrier is usually incorporated right into the padding. One company marketing this kind of padding is at Healthierchoice.com. Some of their padding is also made with anti-microbial chemicals to eleminate mold, mildew, and fungus.
Using Ceramic Tile as a Subfloor
Ceramic tile is not as good a candidate for a carpet subfloor as wood or concrete. Due to the grout lines it is an uneven surface. Although the padding will take care of some of this, there is still the chance of uneven wear and reduced carpet life.
Another problem is of a tile cracking and breaking. The repair is problematic and until it is fixed it poses a tripping hazard.