Some carpet sales people often recommend a moisture barrier pad to any customer who visits their stores- reason; they want to sale & make profits. These barrier pads are more expensive compared to a standard Rebond type padding. Although it may be good for some homeowners under certain circumstances to have moisture barrier pads, many others are often misled into believing that these pads can actually do more than what they are designed to do. For instance;
Installing carpet over hardwood floors
Some people believe that when you install a moisture barrier pad & carpet on top of your hardwood floor, the barrier pad will protect the floor from being ruined by any spills. It should however be noted that if a large amount of liquid is spilled, it will soak through the carpet and then spread on top of the barrier pad. Also, if some spills fall next to the pad seams or even next to the walls it can get below the pad and get trapped there. This can seriously damage the hardwood floor and may not even be discovered until the carpet & the pad are removed.
Some claim that if you seal the pad seams with a duct tape, it will prevent the liquids from soaking through. From my experience, water or any other form of moisture will always find a way of soaking through any barrier and the damage it will cause is serious if trapped underneath with no means of evaporating.
Instead of using a moisture barrier go for a regular pad because incase the spills get underneath, they will easily evaporate though it and hence avoid damaging the floor.
Moisture padding for pet accidents
Some people believe that a moisture barrier pad can ease your cleaning of pet urine & accidents and therefore reduce odors. You should however remember that any liquid soaked through the carpet will definitely spread out on top of the moisture padding. This makes it more difficult to clean the pet urine or spill. The urine/ spill will just dry on top of the pad and every time you clean the carpet, you will reactivate the dried urine on top of the barrier and this will only magnify the odor.
Some say that a moisture barrier pad prevents spills from soaking into the pad
Although this is true, it is not really beneficial in any way. This is because when a carpet is cleaned, it does not suck up the spills that have dried on top of the barrier pad.
Beyond the moisture pad
Some homeowners spend a lot of money on specialty pads with the hope of getting their expected benefits only to end up being disappointed. Generally, I do not recommend the use of any specialty pads because I think their benefits are limited, they are overpriced and they can even cause more problems.
There are some carpet manufactures who offer a carpet warranty extension to customers who buy their specialty pads. Many of the homeowners do not file warranty claims on their carpets and that is why it is not really worth the additional expense. I basically do not advise one to buy any padding that increases the warranty limits of the new carpet. If you want to save money and at the same time enjoy the benefits of an effective padding, then go for a good quality Rebond type of padding with at least 6 – 8 pound density.
Note that, the most important factors when buying a new carpet are; choose the right carpet and the right pad from a reputable dealer and then have it installed by a qualified person.