Need a Rug Pad? Types and How to Use One

Kitchen Rug
When it comes to decorating your home, a rug is one of the easiest and quickest ways to add a pop of color, texture, and warmth to any room.

What’s the Point of a Rug Pad?

"A rug pad is placed under the rug and serves multiple purposes. It helps your rug stay in place, dampens sound, and (depending on the type of pad) add extra cushion and support," explains Therese Germain, VP of Core Product at Ruggable.

The main job of a rug pad is to prevent slips and falls by keeping your rug in place. If you've ever stepped on a rug that has moved underfoot, you know how dangerous it can be – a rug pad can prevent this by creating friction between the rug and the floor, which helps the rug stay in place.

In addition to safety, a rug pad also helps your rug to lay flat so you don't trip over corners, as it prevents the edges of the rug from curling up, which can create a tripping hazard.

Rug pads also add extra cushion and support. So, depending on the type of pad, it can make your rug more comfortable to walk and sit on and even extend the life of your rug by absorbing some of the impacts of foot traffic.

Ruggable's Rug Pad
Ruggable's Rug Pad

The Benefits of Rug Pads

Investing in a rug pad may seem like an additional expense when you already have a rug, but the benefits of using one are well worth it. Not only do they offer safety and comfort benefits, but they can also help protect your floors, extend the life of your rug, and prevent slipping.

Rug on kitchen floor
Rug pads help to keep your rug flush to the floor (credit: Ruggable)

Protect Your Floors 

One of the main benefits of using a rug pad is that it helps protect your floors. The back of a rug can be rough, which can cause scratches on your hardwood floors. Even if you're putting your area rug on the carpet, you should still use a rug pad to protect the carpet underneath. "Rug pads help ensure the longevity of your rug and your floors. The rug pad keeps your rug in place, which helps maintain its shape and prevents it from scratching your floors," says Germain.

Extend the Life of Your Rug 

According to Germain, rug pads can also prevent the crushing of rug fibers, so it stays looking new longer.

Using a rug pad can help extend the life of your rug by absorbing the majority of the impact from foot traffic. Without a pad, the fibers of an area rug can be crushed and show signs of wear much sooner than they would with a rug pad.

Prevent Slipping 

Rug pads help to keep rugs in place and prevent slipping, which is especially important in high-traffic areas. At Ruggable, they've built a two-piece rug system where the Rug Pad is a necessary component of their proprietary system. "Our Rug Pad features a unique cling-effect technology that grips the washable Rug Cover. It offers a non-slip, rubbery bottom that grips Rug Pad to the floor, ensuring our rugs stay in place, even in high-traffic areas," explains Germain.

Related: How a Ruggable Washable Rug Transformed My Apartment

Do Rug Pads Work on Hard Flooring and Carpet?

When using a rug pad, many assume it is only necessary for hard floorings like hardwood or laminate. However, rug pads can also be beneficial when used on carpeted floors.

An area rug adds a lot of friction to your flooring, which can cause damage over time. Using a rug pad on carpeted floors can help protect your rug and carpets. The rug pad adds an extra layer of cushioning that helps to prevent the rug from rubbing against the carpet fibers, which can lead to premature wear and tear.

In addition to protecting your carpets, a rug pad can also help prevent discoloring and dye transfer stains from your rug. When a rug is placed directly on a carpet, it can trap moisture underneath, leading to mold and mildew growth. A rug pad creates a barrier between the rug and the carpet, allowing air to circulate and preventing moisture buildup.

Look for a cushioned rug pad on hardwood floors to provide a soft landing for your feet. Cushioned rug pads add extra comfort and support, making your rug more comfortable to walk and sit on. They also help to absorb impact, which can help extend the life of your rug.

How Long Should You Expect Your Rug Pad to Last? 

The answer can vary depending on the type of rug pad you have and how often you use it.

On average, a rug pad should last around 3 to 5 years. However, some high-quality rug pads can last up to 10 years or more with proper care and maintenance. It's important to note that a rug pad that is well cared for can also help your rug last longer. By absorbing the impact of foot traffic and protecting your floors, a rug pad can help prevent premature wear and tear on your rug.

Some rug pads, like Ruggable's rug pad, are washable to help extend the pad's life. This means you can easily clean it when it becomes dirty or stained. "The Ruggable Rug Cover is light-weight, water-resistant, machine-washable, and easy to spot-clean, making it easier to deal with all kinds of pet- (and non-pet) related accidents too," explains Germain.

In addition to washing your rug pad, inspecting it periodically for signs of wear and tear is essential. If your rug pad starts to deteriorate or lose its grip, it's time to replace it. Using a worn-out rug pad can cause more harm than good, as it may no longer provide adequate protection or prevent slipping.

Read more: The Best Places To Buy Rugs Online

What Type of Rug Pad Should I Use?

When it comes to choosing a rug pad, there are several materials to consider, each with their own pros and cons. Here is a breakdown of some common rug pad materials:

  • Rubber: This is a vital part of the rug pad. It’s what keeps the rug from slipping. It works fantastically on most surfaces like tile, wood, and carpet. However, rubber generally offers less cushion when compared with felt pads. 
  • Felt: These rug pads are made with compressed natural fibers that are dense, like wool. It protects the floor by providing cushioned padding under the rug. Unfortunately, felt generally doesn’t provide enough grip on its own. 
  • Foam: Made from the materials like PVC and memory foam, a foam rug pad is super lightweight. It is easy to cut and provides good cushioning and grip. However, foam pads are not as durable as rubber and may need replacing sooner. 
  • Combination: This offers the best of both worlds, you can have felt and foam or felt and rubber. Using a combination means you get the cushioning and grip all in one. But it can be more expensive. 
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How to Use a Rug Pad

Using a rug pad is a simple but important step to protect your floors and extend the life of your rug. Here are some tips for how to use a rug pad effectively:

1. Get the Right Size 

When choosing a rug pad, make sure you get the right size. Some rug pads come finished, while others are trimmable. If you opt for a trimmable pad, get one slightly larger than your rug so you can trim it to be the perfect size. You want the pad to be hidden under the rug.

2. Measure and Trim Your Rug Pad 

To measure your rug pad, lay it flat on the floor and measure the length and width. Leave a 1-2 inch gap between the end of the rug and the edge of the rug pad. This gap will prevent the rug pad from peeking out from under the rug.

If you need to trim your rug pad, use sharp scissors or a utility knife to cut it to the correct size. Make sure to trim it evenly on all sides to lay flat under the rug.

3. Place Your Rug and Rug Pad 

To place your rug and rug pad, start by laying the rug pad down on the floor. Then, carefully place the rug on top of the pad. Ensure the rug is centered and straight before adjusting it to its final position.

Cleaning and Maintenance 

Once your rug and rug pad are in place, it's important to clean up any spills or stains immediately. This will help prolong the life of your rug and pad and prevent any potential damage to your floors.

Meet the Expert

Living Cozy works closely with leading industry experts to bring you top-quality info every time. In this article, you'll hear from Therese Germain, VP of Core Product at Ruggable.

Written by
Ash Read
Ash is the founder of Living Cozy. He's been featured by publishers like MyDomaine, Realtor, Real Homes, Architectural Digest, The Spruce, Homes and Gardens, and more. As a writer his work has appeared in publications like FastCompany, TNW, and Entrepreneur.
Ash Read
Written by
Ash Read
Ash is the founder of Living Cozy. He's been featured by publishers like MyDomaine, Realtor, Real Homes, Architectural Digest, The Spruce, Homes and Gardens, and more. As a writer his work has appeared in publications like FastCompany, TNW, and Entrepreneur.
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