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Temperatures are falling as we head into the deep freeze of winter. We’re all looking for more ways to stay warm without breaking the budget. Fortunately, carpet flooring can help with both. We’ll briefly discuss how in this post.

The Importance of R-Value

Materials used to build homes and businesses have a metric called an R-Value. This is a measure of its insulation. The higher the r-value, the more insulation a given material offers.

Carpet has a higher r-value than any other flooring material. This is obvious to anyone who’s tried walking barefoot on either during a cold winter morning, but that difference also applies to energy efficiency. Fibers are naturally more insulating than hard surfaces. However, r-values differ by material.

Carpet Fibers

Carpet with floral patterns in a living room with a lit fireplace

While wool fibers tend to be the warmest carpet fiber, the thickness of carpet plays a more important role in its r-value than the material itself. Shaggy carpet tends to be the warmest. Textured carpet also offers a higher r-value. These attributes matter more than the actual fiber material, although nylon is often considered the softest and warmest.

Of course, r-value is only one of many important considerations when purchasing new carpet. Here are a few others to look for.

Carpet Padding

Carpet padding

Carpet is installed over a padding that separates it from the subfloor. Like carpet fibers, this padding can also contribute to comfort and energy efficiency. There are different types of padding, each with varying levels of efficacy. Here’s a quick look at the most common:

Rubber padding: It may cost less up front, but rubber tends to have the lowest r-value of any carpet padding. However, it does perform well in high-traffic areas. If you want to insulate these spaces (such as hallways) consider using a rug or runner.

Fiber padding: Fiber also works well in high-traffic areas, but offers a higher r-value than rubber.

Memory foam: Padding built from memory foam offers a higher r-value and is often regarded as the most comfortable to walk on. The r-value can vary greatly among different manufacturers.

Urethane padding: Urethane offers the highest r-value of any padding. In fact, it’s often twice as high as fiber padding. It’s also inexpensive, although it doesn’t hold up as well in high-traffic areas.

Area Rugs

Area rug in a dining room

Whether you have carpet or hard surface flooring, area rugs can also add comfort and warmth. While the difference isn’t as dramatic as with carpet, it just might be enough to keep your seating areas a little warmer. As we previously mentioned, rugs can also help insulate high-traffic areas.

Learn More

Insulation is just one of many considerations when purchasing new floors. If you’re ready to make an informed choice, visit Lansing’s top flooring experts at Mid Michigan Floor Covering today!