Why Do You Need a Rug Pad?

Why Do You Need a Rug Pad?

A rug pad is a sticky buffer between your rug and floor, kind of like double-sided tape but without the residue actual tape would leave behind. A rug pad provides a foundation for your rug, reduces wear, and prevents holes and fraying around the edges. Read on to learn when you need a rug pad and how to find the best one.

Benefits of a Rug Pad

Rug pad with top and underside visible

A rug pad might seem like a useless add-on, but think of all the times you’ve bemoaned your rug sliding, scuffing or shedding. Usually, a cushiony pad can prevent these problems. Some rugs just need a little extra help to be all they can be. There are a lot of benefits to supporting a rug with a pad, such as prolonging the life of your rug, protecting your floors from scuffs and scratches, preventing slips and falls, and providing additional comfort and quiet underfoot.

They Prolong the Life of Your Rugs

Stylish contemporary living room with rug on top of rug pad

Yes, your rug’s tiny fibers get compressed daily as they’re walked on, but you don’t need to step gingerly if you protect your rug with a layer of rubber or felt. A pad adds support, just like your home’s foundation. The density of your rug pad preserves the pile of your rug and helps it spring back more easily.

A rug pad also minimizes friction, making vacuuming easier. Because the pad acts as a net, it conveniently traps dirt in one place. Imagine instead all that dirt covering each rug’s tiny fiber, smothering its beauty and brightness. That’s dirt that would otherwise be grittily wearing away your flooring and your savings. A rug pad also provides circulation between your rug and the floor, so bacteria aren’t breeding under the covers. That means no mold, mildew or odor.

They Protect Your Floors

Textured grey rug in contemporary dining room

If you’re worried about furniture legs scratching your floor or your heavy sofa marking things up, then you need the protective layer a rug pad provides. It takes the hit so your floor and your bank account don’t have to. Some protective layers can do even more. If you have kids or pets, you may want to consider a water-resistant rug pad so juice spills and accidents don’t seep through and stain your flooring.

They Prevent Falls & Accidents

Off-white shag rug with top and bottom visible

Don’t you hate when you spill something as you trip? It’s a double whammy that has you cursing your rug on the way down. But a rug pad acts as a grip and holds your rug in place to prevent sliding. It also keeps your rug from curling or developing wrinkles, which can be safety hazards for slips, trips, and falls. Not to mention a bunched-up rug is not a good look, so investing in a non-slip rug pad is good for both your mental and physical comfort.

They Provide Additional Comfort and Quiet

Two pairs of feet on top of an abstract modern rug

Does it seem kind of echoey in your cavernous apartment? A rug pad absorbs the impact of feet and noise, which will make your downstairs neighbors more than happy. With improved acoustics, you won’t have to feel bad about jumping up and down during the cardio portion of your pilates workout.

As an added bonus, your rug will also feel extra plush underfoot. Sink your toes into your rug and feel the difference an additional layer of cushioning between the rug and the floor really makes. Remember, cushioning is comfy, but a solid pad won’t “circulate air” like other kinds will. That’s why it’s important to know the type of rug pad you need.

How to Choose a Rug Pad

Casual country bedroom with shag rug and cowhide rug

Now that you have an idea of why you need a rug pad, it’s all about picking the right one for you. There are two key things to consider — size and type. If you wanted to myth bust the need for floor buffers, you’d find that not all materials suffer without one. So keep your lifestyle and type of rug in mind as you read on to help decide if you need a rug pad.

Choose the Right Rug Pad Size

Rug pad in the process of being cut to size

Ideally, a rug pad should be slightly smaller than your rug. This allows the edge of the rug to taper to the floor, preventing a tripping hazard. It also ensures that the pad won’t be seen. Here’s a simple formula to follow: a rug pad should be one inch less on all four sides of the rug, or two inches less for each length and width dimension. Most come in standard rug sizes but can be easily trimmed if needed. For more on what size to get, read our Complete Area Rug Size Guide.

Choose Your Rug Pad Type

Two rugs with thick rug pads underneath

The best rug pads are made from natural materials. Natural rubber and felt are the most popular choices. Felt has a great density to it, so a felt pad is helpful if you’re most interested in noise reduction. Natural rubber pads have glue-like grooves to keep your rug in place reliably.

Synthetic materials are an affordable alternative to natural ones; however, use caution when placing synthetic rug pads on some flooring types. Because of the way their chemicals react to vinyl and hardwood finishes, synthetics can cause yellowing or sticking.

As you investigate the best material to safeguard your rug, make sure you’re looking for waterproof features and whether the product description specifies the type of flooring it’s made for. Rug pads have different levels of petroleum, meaning they’ll react to carpeting or hardwood differently.

In the rolling tide of a bustling family home, your rug pad is your anchor to keep everything shipshape. If you’re sold on a protective buffer but not on a rug, read our Complete Rug Buying Guide to find the perfect pairing for your pad. Once you’re ready for purchase, shop your rug and rug pad on Overstock.com. Every order comes with free shipping*, no price minimums.


*Not eligible in Alaska and Hawaii.