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One needs only roll out of bed and step down on a hard surface floor to realize the most obvious benefit of having carpet during winter. However, there’s another valuable benefit that is a little more subtle; it can help improve insulation. And with cold temperatures set to continue in the foreseeable future for Salem, we’re all looking creative ways to keep our costs low. Here, we’ll take a quick look at how carpet can both improve the comfort of your home and lower your energy bill.

Understanding R-Value

A house’s r-value is a measure of its insulation and energy efficiency. The faster a home heats or cools – and the longer it maintains that temperature – the higher its r-value. It’s easy to blame a low r-value on poor insulation, thin windows and leaky doors. However, we rarely look to flooring as the problem or solution.

R-value can vary greatly among different flooring types. It’s no surprise that hard surface flooring tends to have a low r-value, although some options (such as multi-layered engineered floors) still offer more insulation than others.

How Carpet Improves R-Value

Carpet fibers provide natural thermal resistance. Heat transfer is impeded by the material, an effect that is further enhanced by its padding. Not surprisingly, thicker carpet means more thermal resistance, thereby improving energy savings even more.

Carpet Cushion

Carpet is best installed over a cushion that separates it from the subfloor. This cushion provides many benefits, including an even higher r-value than carpet achieves alone. However, the actual increase in r-value depends on the type of cushion selected. Traditionally, rubber and polyurethane were the top contenders for the best r-value, often ranging between 3 and 5. However, we’re seeing homeowners begin to turn to memory foam cushions despite a lower r-value.

Why? For one, they tend to offer comfort that can’t be matched. However, as it relates to a home’s heating, memory foam cushions are the most compatible with radiant heat systems. Both rubber and polyurethane tend to inhibit the heat flow, leading to more wasted energy along the way. With the growing popularity of radiant heat in Oregon, you may want to consider its benefits before choosing a cushion.

R-Value of Rugs

Area rugs are great for style and comfort, but they can also contribute to a room’s r-value. It takes a little creative placement, though the difference is especially noticeable with hard surface flooring. To improve the rug’s comfort and insulation even further, consider a memory foam rug cushion.

Learn More

To learn more unique ways to get the most from your flooring, or to get expert advice for the best flooring options in your home, visit Salem’s leading flooring experts at Colortile Salem today!