Selecting the right backing system – including whether some type of cushion is attached – is critical. While cushion can provide resilience, acoustical/thermal insulation properties, and comfort underfoot, the majority of commercial broadloom carpet today is direct-glued to the floor without a cushion. The carpet product and backing should be selected according to the traffic patterns of the area and the manufacturer’s requirements for thickness and density. Carpet tile is generally designed to function without the need of additional cushion.
There are three main types of carpet cushion in commercial broadloom applications: Fiber, Rubber and Polyurethane foam.
Fiber cushion is made of rubberized hair, rubberized jute, synthetic fibers or recycled textile fiber.
Rubber cushion consists of flat rubber, textured flat rubber, rippled waffle (Class I only) or reinforced rubber.
Polyurethane foam cushion is made of grafted prime polyurethane, densified polyurethane, bonded polyurethane or mechanically frothed polyurethane.
The three classes of commercial carpet cushion applications are Class I, Class II and Class III.
Class I (moderate traffic) — Typically, this class includes executive, administrative or private offices in office buildings, banks, schools and healthcare facilities.
Class II (heavy traffic) — Generally, this class includes clerical areas, corridors, patient’s rooms, lounges, classrooms and public areas in healthcare facilities, libraries, museums, hotels, motels and schools.
Class III (extra heavy traffic) — This class includes cafeterias, nurses’ stations, public and ticketing areas and lobbies in office buildings, airports and healthcare facilities.