Throughout the last twenty years, in terms of the carpet underlay, sponge rubber has been the default choice for homeowners, renovators and interior designers when choosing which textile to use for their carpet pad.

The benefits of rubber underlay have been clear and obvious for all this time. It is very dense meaning it offers great underfoot feel. This fantastic comfort alone is the difference between a good feeling carpet and a great feeling carpet.

The density of the carpet underlay has many positive effects beyond increasing comfort underfoot. For instance, it has a higher tog rating than other types. This means that it is more effective at stopping heat from passing through and thus will keep your rooms warmer. This attribute in particular was beneficial because many people realised that they could save a substantial amount of money on their fuel bills. And later after the turn of the millennium, the environmental aspect also became a tick in the box for sponge rubber underlay.

When you throw in the acoustic benefits that added density brings, sponge rubber was a logical choice given what was available.

In recent years however, trends show PU foam becoming the dominant and market leading type of underlay for carpets, surpassing rubber, both in the industry and in the minds of many consumers. It's light and it's recycled, everything you would want in a modern underlay.

PU foam in its cushioned form as applied in underlay became commercially available in the late 1950's. Nowadays, as underlay the PU Foam comes from recycled sofas, bringing with it the obvious comfort benefits. While less "spongy" than its competitor its just as soft meaning the comfort benefits are highly similar.

The main reason for the advancement of PU Foam is durability. The vast majority of sponge rubber underlay simply cannot compare in terms of work of compression. Work of compression is how capable the underlay is of regaining its previous shape after a period of pressure, for example from heavy furniture. By its very nature PU foam is better at doing this and so it stands the test of time, in general, better than sponge.

There are few sponge rubber underlay still selling successfully today, however at the premium end of the market, there remains some outstanding sponge rubber offerings. These are thick enough that durability is not an issue and the comfort benefits win out.

The remainder of the characteristics between the two types are comparable but the lighter weight and durability of the average PU foam underlay mean it's a trend that is set to continue.


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