Installing carpet insulation will help improve the comfort level of your home. Carpet itself is one of the best materials for insulating, with an insulation value that is 10 times greater than hard flooring finishes. When combined with an underlayment or other carpet insulation product, the comfort level of the space can be greatly enhanced.
The basic cushion installed under carpet has an R-value (a measure of an insulation's resistance to heat traveling through it) ranging from 0.2 to 2.1. Runner jute fiber and urethane foam cushions tend to have a higher R-value than rubber cushions. To eliminate cold and drafty floors, install a carpet underlayment. If you are insulating for impact sounds, such as an item falling to the floor, and would like some thermal insulation value as well, install a high-quality acoustical carpet underlayment or pads. This type of padding is very durable and can be used for glued-down or tackless carpet installation methods.
Wood Fiber Boards
One of the most common products used as carpet insulation is wood fiber board. It not only provides insulating value and reduces air penetration, but it also reduces sound transmissions and impact noises.
Begin the installation of wood fiber board insulation by securing a 1 1/2-by-1/2-inch-thick border around the perimeter of the floor. This material will serve as the support for the carpet tackless strip. Next, install the wood fiber boards. The boards are lightweight and are easy to cut, shape and install. The boards are available in 4-foot width and 4- and 8-foot lengths. Secure the wood fiber boards with adhesive and nails.
Another option is to allow the board to float under the carpet cushion instead. Wood fiber boards can be installed on a variety of surfaces, including wood floors, subfloors or concrete. The concrete must be above grade.
Radiant barrier reflective insulation is also gaining popularity as a carpet insulation. Reflective barrier insulation is made of a layer of bubble wrap sandwiched between two layers of aluminum. The material, which is resistant to punctures and tears, is engineered to reflect 97 percent of radiant heat back into the living space. The product is available in a single-bubble or double-bubble versions and comes with a vapor barrier. Radiant barrier insulation is also resistant to insects, fungi and mold.
You do not need any special skills or equipment for this installation project. Just spread the reflective insulation over the floor area. The reflective facing should be facing toward the inside of the living space. The seams must be sealed with foil tape. Once the insulation is in place, follow standard the carpet installation procedures. Most radiant reflective barrier insulation has a thermal value equivalent to R-10.
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