Can you use existing carpet as the 'pad' for new carpet?

casey3August 17, 2011

In our basement remodel, we are having to pull up the carpet the previous owners just installed before selling the house. They didn't use a pad underneath so you can feel the subfloor underneath. It's glued down and really hard to remove, however.

Then we had a thought -- could we use the existing carpet as the "pad" for the new carpet. Does anyone know if this would work? We'll be using the space a lot for a playroom for our three little boys so it would be good if there is a a nice amount of cushion.


Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


Carpet pad recovers from compression on its own (it springs back when you press on it). Carpet does not - it needs raking or vacuuming to lift it. Fairly shortly, it would feel like your new carpet was installed over hard lumps.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2011 at 12:09AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

As long as the new carpet is installed properly over the old carpet to avoid tripping hazards for the children, and the old carpet/cushion is not wearing away prematurely, it is possible.

We have done this in the past for customers with limited budgets who would sign a waiver of installation guarantee.

The new carpet will require more maintenance. If you do this yourself you can save money. If you can not then it will most likely cost you MUCH more than the price of new cushion over the life of the new carpet. The new carpet will wear at an accelerated rate and unevenly depending on the wear patterns on the old carpet now used as cushion, the latter of which may be able to be mitigated by re-arranging the room items and furniture so new wear patterns emerge. Additionally, restretches may be required more frequently because the above and the old carpets pile direction that may aid the new carpet "walking" the direction of the pile due to foot traffic (walking/running/rolling/playing on the carpet). This may also cause "rolling" of the carpet (a trip hazard) if left unchecked without proper re-stretching.

Another problem may be the height. If the new carpet is to high, the new carpet might not want to hold well at the tack strip, so another row of tack strip and/or some additional anchoring might be required to back up the first-row or existing tack strip. Be warned that if alternate anchoring is used (backup nails or staples through the new carpet), this may make required restretches problematic at best, impossible at worst.

All that said, I think its a MUCH better idea to go with full demo and new cushion. Decent mid-grade 8 lb rebonded cushion is very inexpensive these days and lasts for many many years.

Remember that this is a kids playroom. They will beat the crap out of it.

Cushion is specifically designed for under-carpet applications to mamximize the life of your new carpet. Its an investment insuring the longevity of your new carpet.

Go with new cushion is my recommendation.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2011 at 10:30AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It is not recommended and the carpet manufacturer will not honor a claim on it if it is pulled up and the old carpet is seen.

With that said, I have been asked many times to go over existing gluedown carpet with stretch in.
I still charge more, Because I will have to cut the carpet and peel it back around the perimeter to nail tackstrip boards. A thin 5/16 - 3/8 additional firm cushion, or the new carpet will have problems stretching property, as the backing drags over the nap underneath.

Never been called back to restretch on yet.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2011 at 2:45PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Un-level kitchen and associated issues...
So my wife and I just finished a renovation of our...
Handscraped hardwood -- will it become dated?
So we are in the process of building a new home. We...
Marble floor in a high traffic area?
I was planning to purchase marble for the floor in...
Has anyone used Smartcore Floors from Lowes
Hi, we're looking for something that we can put over...
My experience: refinish hardwood floors with Bona Traffic
I thought it would be helpful to others to read about...
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™