A carpet is only as good as the carpet backing, or carpet underlay beneath it. The fibres and yarns that make up the backside of your carpet, and help affix it to the subfloor, help determine the comfort, performance, acoustic properties, insulation and resistance to wear that you can expect of your carpet. To get the best result from your carpet underlay, while still ensuring cost savings, a good approach is to go with an integrated carpet underlay.
Our Global Account Manager Kim Monrad answers our most frequently asked questions about carpets. In this video, Kim explains why and when you should choose to use an integrated underlay for your carpet project.
Why do I need carpet backing?
While it’s often the carpet itself that most people focus on, one of the most important factors that will affect how your carpet feels, performs, endures and looks is the carpet underlay, also known as carpet backing. Selecting a carpet with all the right specifications is only one step in ensuring that you get the right carpet for your needs. To get the best result from your carpet, however, you’ll need to be sure to select a good carpet underlay that fits your needs.
You have many options to choose from when it comes to your underlay, ranging in price, quality and performance features. Before you make your selection, though, one of the most important questions you should be asking yourself is whether or not to go with an integrated underlay.
What is an integrated carpet underlay?
Carpet underlay is the fibre or yarn that makes up the backside of your carpet and affixes it to the subfloor. Generally speaking, the carpet underlay is something you purchase in addition to the carpeting you select, and is to be the surface on which your carpet is laid. Integrated underlay, however, is a component of the carpet itself.
With an integrated carpet underlay, rather than having to affix your underlay to the floor and lay your carpet atop it, you can simply affix your carpet directly to the subfloor.
So why should you choose integrated carpet backing?
Simply put, choosing a carpet with integrated underlay will save you time and money.
While in many cases the upfront cost of a carpet with integrated underlay will be more expensive than an ordinary carpet, in the long-run, it will offer you cost savings.
For one, with an integrated solution you won’t have the added expense of having to purchase separate carpet backing. Beyond this, though, an integrated underlay will mean a much quicker and easier installation process, as only one working procedure will be required. This adds up to a lot of money saved.
What are the downsides of integrated carpet underlay?
As the carpet's underlay can play such a critical role in your carpet's performance, some people are sceptical of the capabilities of an underlay that is built in. It’s good to be skeptical on this point. While many high-quality integrated solutions do exist today, there are certainly still low-quality options out there.
The savings you stand to realise with a two-in-one solution are only worth it if the final solution is up to par, and will enhance the lifespan and performance of your carpet, rather than detract from it. If you’re thinking about going with integrated underlay, be sure to check with your carpet manufacturer about whether the underlay you're selecting can meet your project's needs.
Which kinds of carpets come with an integrated carpet underlay?
The often cited example of a carpet with built-in underlay is the carpet tile. Carpet tiles, generally pre-backed, can be directly affixed to the subfloor, making for a quicker and less costly installation. This is one of the main reasons, in fact, that carpet tiles are thought of as a budget-friendly solution.
While carpet tiles tend to be top-of-mind when it comes to integrated solutions, integrated underlay is certainly not restricted to carpet tiles alone. Many wall-to-wall carpets today are available with integrated underlay, namely Ege’s Highline concept, which offers you the savings of integrated underlay, but the freedom of specifying one of three textile backing options.
When you’re in the process of selecting your next commercial carpet, be sure to inquire with your carpet manufacturer about the options you have for integrated carpet underlay.