Does Your Area Rug Need A Rug Pad?

This article comes from The Spruce.

Does Your Area Rug Need A Rug Pad?

The answer is: yes, you need a pad under your area rug! No matter what type of floor covering your area rug will be laid over, a rug pad is essential for several reasons.

What Is a Rug Pad For?

Think of a rug pad as protection you can’t afford to go without. It protects you, your rug, and your floor. Some of its benefits include:

  • Keeping your rug from slipping underneath you or curling up, and other significant trip hazards
  • Extends your rug’s life by minimizing bunching up or edges from unfurling
  • Safeguards your floor from needless scratches or the indentation from heavy furniture
  • Adds another layer of cushion and extra softness with every footfall
  • Reduces noise
  • Insulates the room from a cold subfloor

Prevent Slipping

A rug pad helps to keep the area rug lying flat and in one place. Rug pads vary; some are designed specifically for use over hard surface flooring, while others are best for laying on top of wall-to-wall carpet.

Prolong Wear

Like the cushion under a wall-to-wall carpet, a good rug pad helps protect the area rug from wear and tear by absorbing the majority of the impact from foot traffic. The pad is designed to compress and bounce back (even a firm pad will do this slightly), taking the strain off the rug fibers. Without a pad underneath to act as a shock absorber, the area rug fibers will be crushed, and the rug will show signs of wear much sooner than it would with a proper pad.

Protect the Floor Underneath

It doesn’t matter what type of floor you have underneath your area rug; it still needs protection. An area rug’s backing can be rough and could cause scratches on hardwood, laminate, and other types of surfaces. Other things that could pose a risk to the underlying floor include color transfer from the rug, a small rock or other sharp object being caught underneath the rug, and abrasive wear on the surface of the underlying floor caused by the area rug shifting with foot traffic.

A rug pad provides a protective barrier between the area rug and the floor underneath. Even if you’re putting your area rug on top of wall-to-wall broadloom carpet, you still need a rug pad.

What Type of Rug Pad Is Best for My Floor?

As you can imagine, many materials are used for rug pad construction, from natural fibers like jute and horsehair to synthetic materials like grippy PVC and memory foam. The best types of rug pads are made of felt, rubber, or a combination of both. Felt is best for its cushioning properties, while rubber grabs the area rug and the floor, keeping the two in place. To determine the rug pad that would work best for your needs, your area rug’s style or pile height should be your guide. Low-profile rugs should have a thin, barely-there pad. Area rugs with shag or heft can accommodate a thicker pad. You don’t want to go too thick—you don’t want the rug pad to add too much height that it becomes a trip hazard.

Memory foam is cushiony and a perfect choice for crawling and toddling babies in a nursery. A felt-rubber pad is usually a safe bet for hardwood floors. Never use these rug pads outdoors. If you’re looking for a rug pad for the outdoors, go with PVC. Polyvinyl chloride is a synthetic, plastic material that can stand up to rain and the elements; however, it off-gasses volatile organic compounds (VOCs), so keep its use outside. Felt doesn’t hold up to water well, so if you need an indoor rug pad where water splashes often (bathroom, kitchen, or pool area), it’s best to go with a rug pad made of all-rubber construction.

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