Why Do I Need a Rug Pad?

Area rugs can be pricey, so many of us have wondered if we can just skip the rug pad in order to save a few dollars.  Here’s the quick answer: nope. And here’s why.

Rug pads do the following:

  • Prevent your rug from sliding, buckling, and wrinkling
  • Protect your rug from uneven wear patterns, and keep dirt and moisture trapped between the floor and the rug from damaging the rug’s underside
  • Prevent your floors, especially wood floors, from getting bits of latex backing or thread stuck into them
  • Finally, vacuuming is easier with a rug pad.  And who doesn’t want to keep their floors in their best shape for years to come?

If you’re ready to take the rug-pad plunge, here’s a quick guide to explain which types work best on which floors, and which types of rugs they work best with. Note that radiant-heat floors can melt rug pads and rugs with latex or plastic backing, so you’ll want to choose a rug weave—sans rug pad—that’s compatible with these floors, or forgo the rug entirely on these surfaces.

Outdoor Rug Pads

Made of tough, no-slip PVC-coated polyester, these rug pads are perfect for the porch or patio and designed to work with indoor/outdoor rugs.  Note: outdoor rug pads are not always suitable for vinyl, lacquered, acrylic, Saltillo tile, terra-cotta, and unsealed surfaces, so if you have any of these types of floors, check with the manufacturer before using.

Floor-Lock Solid Pad

These pads, made of needle-punch plastic with a latex backing, offer cushioning, insulation, and slip resistance in one washable, microbe-resistant package. Use with any type of indoor rug, especially micro-hooked cotton and wool.

Rug-Stop Rug Pad 

This thin, durable, washable pad offers support and promotes even wear. It’s ideal for low-profile rugs, like woven wool and micro-hooked wool, and works well in stair runner installations, where too much height can actually encourage stumbling on the stairs.

Solid Extra-Grip Rug Pad        

In contrast to thinner pads, like the Rug-Stop, this pad in thick and cushy and enhances the foot-feel of high-pile rugs, like hand-knotted wools and jutes. Its higher loft also prevents liquids from leaking onto the floor beneath—a plus if you have pets or small kids in the house.

Information courtesy Loloi and Dash & Albert Rugs.

For more rug pads, click here.

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