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4 Myths of Open Cell Cushion Backing

Posted on Aug 26, 2016, by Michael Eckert

When it comes to choosing commercial carpet tiles, you have a whole range of options to choose from: different patterns, fiber types and face weights. As well as having to decide on the look you want for your flooring, there are several different carpet tile backing options, too.

There are three main types of carpet tile backing:

  • Hardback
  • Closed cell cushion backing
  • Open cell cushion backing

Your choice of carpet tile backing is the most important factor in determining the durability of your flooring – how long it will last before its appearance starts to deteriorate. But it can be really difficult to find relevant information about carpet tile backings, with conflicting information from different sources.

So today I’m looking at 4 common myths about open cell cushion backing, and explaining the truth behind these misconceptions to help you make an informed decision during your next commercial flooring purchase.

Myth: Open Cell Cushion Backing Isn’t Resilient

Fact: Open Cell Cushion Backing is the Most Durable Carpet Tile Backing Option

Different types of carpet tile backing affect how compression during use (for example, walking on the carpet) is absorbed by the tile.

In hardback tiles, the carpet fibers directly absorb the impact from compression, which damages the fibers and causes visible wear and tear most quickly.

In closed cell cushion backed tiles, the cushioning in the tile backing absorbs the impact of compression at first, but over time this type of cushioning breaks-down and becomes less able to absorb impact, at which point the carpet fibers take over and are subject to direct wear like with hardback tiles.

In open cell cushion backing, the cushion ‘re-inflates’ after compression, and as such lasts longer than closed cell cushion backing, protecting your carpet fibers most effectively. In fact, open cell cushion backing extends the life of your carpet tiles by more than 40-50% over hardback products.


Myth: Open Cell Cushion Backing Delaminates Under Heavy Use

Fact: Milliken’s Open Cell Cushion Backing Has a Lifetime Warranty Against Delamination

Delamination is where multi-layered materials break-down, and individual layers separate and become significantly less durable.

Milliken’s open cell cushion backing meets the carpet industry standard for delamination, and this is backed by a warranty that the backing won’t delaminate during the lifetime of the carpet.

Myth: Open Cell Cushion Backing Absorbs Moisture, Promoting Growth of Mold and Mildew

Fact: Open Cell Cushion Backing Excels at Moisture Management

The structure of open cell cushion backing allows for ‘moisture wicking’, which means it actually encourages moisture in the sub-floor to travel through the carpet backing, and evaporate away at the seams of the carpet tile.

This is preferable to tiles that are impermeable to moisture – these simply trap moisture under your carpet, and if it’s unable to evaporate, can lead to the growth of mold and mildew.


Myth: Open Cell Cushion Backing Contains Harmful Chemicals

Fact: Open Cell Cushion Backing is Free from Harmful Chemicals

When manufacturing open cell cushion backing, different chemical materials are used to create the material backing known as polyurethane. This involves chemical reactions to create a compound – an entirely new substance, different to the sum of its individual parts.

The raw materials that go into making polyurethane are not harmful to humans, but belong to a group of chemicals that also contains others than have been shown to be harmful. However, the chemical used to manufacture Milliken’s open cell cushion backing is not harmful to humans, and no traces of this original chemical are present in the finished carpet tiles, due to the reaction process that it goes through to manufacture polyurethane.

In fact, with a wealth of benefits to comfort and underfoot support, open cell cushion backing is significantly better for your health than other alternatives.

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Michael Eckert

Written by Michael Eckert