Why you need a rug pad for your area rug

in Home Accessories

Now you’ve found the perfect area rug and have the perfect place at home to put it. The salesperson wants to know if you would like to purchase a pad underneath the rug. Is the salesperson trying to sell you add-ons or do you really need one?

Yes, you will need a pad underneath your area rug. A rug pad is necessary for many reasons, regardless of the type of flooring your rug will be placed on.

What is a Rug Pad?

A rug pad is protection that you cannot afford to be without. It protects your rug and your floor. It has the following benefits:

  • Keep your rug from sliding underneath you, curling up, or becoming a trip hazard
  • You can extend the life of your rug by minimizing unfurling edges and bunching.
  • Protect your floor from unnecessary scratches and indentation caused by heavy furniture
  • Each footfall receives an additional layer of cushioning and softness.
  • Reduces noise
  • Insulates room from cold subfloor

Avoid Slipping

The rug pad keeps the rug flat and in place. There are many types of rug pads. Some are made for hard flooring and others for wall-to-wall carpet.


To prevent the rug from sliding, a good rug pad will grip the rug. Even rugs that are anchored by furniture may shift and buckle or bunch up. This increases the risk of them falling.

Prolong Wear

A good rug pad is similar to a cushion under a wall to wall carpet. It absorbs most of the impact from foot traffic and protects the rug. The pad should compress and bounce back (even a slightly firm pad will do this), taking strain off rug fibers. The rug will wear faster if there is no pad to absorb shock.

Protect the floor beneath

It doesn’t really matter what kind of floor is underneath your area rug, it still needs protection. The backing of an area rug can cause scratches to hardwood, laminate, and other surfaces. The underlying floor could also be at risk from color transfer, small rocks or sharp objects caught under the rug, as well as abrasive wear caused by foot traffic shifting the rug.

The rug pad acts as a barrier between the rug and the floor beneath. You will still need a rug pad even if your rug is placed on top of wall to wall broadloom carpet.

Which type of rug pad is best for my floor?

Rug pad construction can be made from many materials, including natural fibers such as horsehair and jute, to synthetic materials like memory foam and grippy PVC. Rubber, felt or a mixture of both are the best options for rug pads. Rubber grips the floor and area rug, keeping them in place. Felt is the best because of its cushioning capabilities. The best way to determine which rug pad would be most suitable for you is by looking at the style and pile height of your area rug. A thin pad should be used for low-profile rugs. A thicker pad is suitable for area rugs that have shag or weight. It is important not to make the pad too thick.

Memory foam is a soft, cushiony material that’s great for babies who are crawling or toddling in a nursery. Hardwood floors can be protected with a felt-rubber pad. These rug pads should not be used outdoors. PVC is the best option if you want a rug pad that can be used outdoors. PVC is a synthetic plastic material that can withstand rain and other elements. However, it off-gasses volatile organic compound (VOCs), so don’t use it outside. Felt is not water-resistant so it’s better to use an all-rubber rug pad for indoor areas where there’s a lot of water (bathrooms, kitchens, or pools).


Avoid purchasing a brightly colored rug pad as it can cause damage to floors. Avoid rugs with adhesives as they can damage the floors’ finish.

You can expect to replace your rug pad as it gets worn down. A rug pad lasts about three to four years. It’s not a good idea to spend on a high-end rug pad as you will need to replace it within the same time frame as one that is cheaper.

How to Use a Rug Pad

Some rug pads have finished edges while others can be trimmed. You can trim the pad to fit your area rug and room. The rug pad must be completely hidden under the rug. The rug pad must be at least 1 to 2 inches smaller than the rug. To trim the rug pad to your requirements, use a felt tip marker to mark where you need to cut. For the cutting, you can also use sharp, heavy-duty scissors.

It’s not a good idea to use the rug pad under a doormat, or in a bathroom with swinging doors. If your rug and pad get stuck together when the door opens, it can be a problem. Before you cut or modify a rug pad, make sure to test the loft and ensure it is able to clear the door opening.

You can expect more accidents, spills and mishaps in households with children and pets. Clean up any spillages on your rug as quickly as you can. Felt pads might need additional blotting or spot treatment. Rubber memory foam pads, however, are water-resistant and can easily be cleaned with a paper towel.

The amount of foot traffic your rug gets will determine the frequency of routine cleaning. It is possible to vacuum memory foam and felt rug pads. You should do this every 1 to 2 year. Non-solid pads can be removed by shaking them out. You should also clean the floor underneath the rug and pad once a year, just like you would normally clean the floor’s surface.

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