When it comes to home flooring, a wide range of options are available: hardwood, vinyl, tile, laminate, carpet, or stone, to name some. But for most homeowners, the choice comes down to hardwood or carpeting. 

Both have their advantages. Hardwood looks elegant and lasts for a long time, but hardwood floors are expensive and may lead to more slips and falls. Plus, it’s not very comfortable to sit on and can be uncomfortably cold on your feet during cooler months. 

Carpeting, on the other hand, is plush and warm. It is also much more cost-effective to replace. However, most carpets only last a decade before needing replacement and are worse for people with allergies. 

Adding an area rug to your hardwood floors allows you to get the benefits of hardwood and carpet. Unlike carpets, which usually are one solid color, area rugs let you add pops of color and pattern for a more interesting space. In an open-concept floor plan, they can help you create distinct areas for different purposes.

Read What Makes A High-Quality Rug? and choose quality rugs for your home.

However, if you truly want to get the most benefits from your area rug, you shouldn’t just get the rug. You’ll also want a rug pad to go under it. 

What is a rug pad?

A rug pad is a piece of material that goes between your rug and the surface on which you have placed the rug. It helps to create friction between the rug and the floor and stops the rug from moving or slipping when people walk on it. It can also provide an extra layer of cushioning in case of heavy impact.

Most rug pads are made from rubber, felt, or a combination of the two. Rubber provides friction to keep the rug from slipping, while felt adds extra cushioning. They can also be made from PVC plastic or memory foam. 

Where you will put the rug and rug pad can help you decide what type of rug pad to choose. PVC is resistant to elements and works wonderfully outside on a patio. It can also be used to create friction between an area rug and wall-to-wall carpeting. Rubber and felt combination rug pads are the most common option for hardwood floors. However, felt does not handle water well. In bathrooms, kitchens, or any place where your rug pad might get wet frequently, it is best to choose an entire rubber rug pad. Memory foam can provide an extra layer of cushioning for babies and toddlers as they learn to walk or older adults with joint problems or at risk of falls. 

The rug’s pile height should dictate the rug pad’s thickness. The thicker and heavier your rug is, the thicker you’ll want your rug pad to be. You should also make sure that the pad isn’t so thick it lifts the rug off the ground and creates a tripping hazard. 

Read Top Rug Pad For Hardwood Floors And Buyer’s Guide

Top 3 Benefits of A Rug Pad for Area Rugs 

Why use a rug pad? Not only will it make your home look better and help your rug last longer, but it can also help limit the risk of injuries.  Here are the top 3 benefits listed by S&S Rug Cleaners.

  1.  Rug pads make your home safer

    A well-maintained hardwood floor should be smooth and shiny. While this is beautiful, it might not always be the safest. You’ve probably seen people wear socks and pretend to “skate” on hardwood floors. Very little friction exists between most household fabrics and polished hardwood, including rugs. If you have furniture to hold the rug down, it’s likely to stay in place. However, if the rug is free-floating in the center of your hardwood floor, it’s likely to slide around.

    All it takes is someone stepping on or off the rug at just the right angle to send it flying out from under them. If they land funny, they could easily break a bone or hit their head and get a concussion. The risk of an injury is even higher if you have young kids running around or older adults who may have lower bone density. A rug pad creates extra friction between your rug and the floor to prevent slips.

    Rug pads also make your floor safer by adding padding. Over time, walking on hard surfaces—like hardwood floors—can put pressure on your joints and lead to pain. Rug pads provide extra cushioning to lessen the impact of each step and prevent strain. If you have area rugs on hardwood floors in a home where a baby is learning to walk, you’ll definitely want to add rug pads to soften any falls.

  2.  Rug pads make your home easier to clean 

    Both porous and solid rug pads provide benefits when it comes to cleaning your home. You probably already know that the best way to clean rugs and carpets is with a vacuum, but did you know that vacuums work more effectively when there is room for airflow underneath the rug? A rug pad with airholes can help you get your rugs cleaner when you vacuum and extend the interval between professional cleanings.

    Solid rug pads, on the other hand, protect the floor underneath your rug from spilled liquids. Wood is very porous and quickly absorbs liquids, leading to staining and warping. Rubber rug pads will repel moisture and can be wiped clean very quickly. This also makes it easier to spot-clean the rug without worrying about water and cleaner seeping through to the hardwood.

  3.  Rug pads make your home look better

    Most people add area rugs to their homes for aesthetic reasons. Rug pads can help ensure that your rugs and home continue to look great. When you get your rug, consider how to position it within the room. If it’s constantly sliding from people walking over it, it can end up at awkward angles, making your room look haphazard and off-kilter. A rug pad ensures your rug stays exactly where you want it as part of your design scheme.

    Sometimes, the tints and dyes used to create beautiful patterns on your rug can wear off and stain the floor below. Dirt and debris may also get trapped between the floor and the rug and may tear into the underside of the rug when people step on it. 

Read All You Need To Know About Rug Repair and Restoration

This can cause your rug to look worn more quickly. A rug pad creates an extra barrier between the rug and the floor to prevent pigments from transferring to the hardwood and dirt particles from wearing away at the rug’s fibers. 

Is your rug due for a cleaning?

Rug pads are vital for preserving the longevity of your rugs, but they are just one part of effective rug care. You want to get your rugs, especially specialty rugs, cleaned regularly to ensure they continue to look great for years to come. S&S Rug Cleaners have decades of experience cleaning and caring for oriental and specialty rugs in and around Atlanta. Call us today to schedule a consultation and get your free quote.