Do I Really Need a Rug Pad? How Do I Choose the Right One? – Your Top Questions Answered

By: Diana Rodriguez-Zaba
Updated on: April 29, 2020

Have you recently purchased a beautiful rug to act as the centerpiece of your living room? Maybe you bought a rug for your entryway to protect your new hardwood floors from dirt and grime.

You know your reason for purchasing a rug, but you might find yourself asking, do I need a rug pad?

As one of the most established area rug cleaning companies in Chicago, IL, we know a thing or two about rugs, so let’s cut to the chase: yes, you do. And the reasons why may surprise you. 

From understanding what a rug pad is to choosing the best one for you, here’s everything you need to know about why you do need a rug pad. 

What is a Rug Pad?

A rug pad acts as a sticky foundation between your rug and your floor, most commonly known to keep your rug from moving from its intended place. 

However, there are many other benefits of purchasing a rug pad, so let’s answer your burning question: why do I need a rug pad? 

Why Do I Need a Rug Pad?

There are many benefits to using a rug pad. Doing so helps…  

  • Reduce wear and tear on your rug
  • Prevent your rug from fraying
  • Extend your rug’s “life” by absorbing the majority of foot traffic impact
  • Prevent damage by keeping the bottom of your rug from scuffing and scratching your floor
  • Minimize slips and falls
  • Add an additional level of comfort
  • Decrease noise levels when walking on the rug

While rug pads do help your rug “live” longer, you’ll still want to reach out to a certified cleaning company and have your area rug professionally cleaned. Doing so helps revitalize the materials and fibers of your rug.

So now you know why it’s important to have a rug pad, but how do you choose the right one? 

How to Choose and Use a Rug Pad 

While picking out your rug pad may not be as fun as choosing your new rug, there are many factors to consider that will impact the performance and functionality of your rug, as well as the overall safety of those who interact with it.

What Material Should My Rug Pad Be?

Felt rug pad
Felt rug pad

When choosing your rug pad material, you’ll want to consider the type of flooring you have and the cost you’re willing to pay. 

Natural rubber and felt are not only the most popular rug pad materials, they are also the most expensive—but for good reason. Natural materials don’t have damaging chemicals that can harm your rug and floor. 

Natural rubber helps keep your rug in place with its grippy features—so it’s ideal for hard floors—and adds a slight cushion for protection and comfort.

Natural felt is thicker and helps reduce noise. However, since there isn’t a strong gripping element, it is better for rugs that will be placed under furniture. 

While an area rug is often one that lives underneath furniture, you do need a rug pad under an area rug, even if it is on carpet. In fact, there are rug pads designed specifically for rugs that will lay on top of carpet. Often made of polyester and vinyl, their unique design works to keep them from bunching, causing an uneven surface. 

If you are looking for a budget-friendly option, you will want to choose a rug pad made from synthetic materials. However, it is a good idea to check with your floor manufacturing company to determine what chemicals are ok to have on your floor.

So, what rug pad is best for hardwood floors?

If you have hardwood floors, it is best to shy away from synthetic materials and go all-natural. The chemicals found in synthetic rug pads often react negatively on hardwood floors, causing a change of color or residue.

How Thick of a Rug Pad Do I Need?

rubber rug pad
Rubber rug pad

While you may be tempted to choose the thickness of your rug pad based on comfortability and how “squishy” it feels, there are a few other things to take into consideration. 

Thinner pads are less expensive, and they work well under thin rugs, especially when your main goal is to prevent slippage. On the other hand, while thicker pads are more expensive, they provide greater protection for both your rug and floor. Thicker pads work best under thick rugs where protection is your greatest concern.

When choosing your thickness, it’s also important to consider where the rug will be placed. If, for example, your rug is going in an entryway, you’ll want to make sure your rug pad doesn’t make the rug so thick that the door can no longer open without scratching the surface of the rug. 

What Size Rug Pad Do I Need?

The size of your rug pad is less subjective than the thickness. A rug pad should always be smaller than your rug to prevent tripping and to keep the pad from being seen. The best size is one inch smaller than your rug on all sides. And while rug pads often come in standard sizes, they can easily be trimmed with regular scissors to your desired dimensions.   

Which Side of The Rug Pad Goes Down?

So now you have your rug pad in the ideal material, thickness, and size, but when you get it home you can’t seem to figure out which side goes down.

No worries!

The grippy or sticky side should be touching your floor, leaving the non-stick side up to directly meet the bottom of your rug. 

If you are still unsure which side is which, read the directions on your rug pad for determining which side is up. 

Need a Rug Pad Replacement in Chicago? Count on Us! 

As you’ve just read, rug pads provide numerous benefits to your rug, your floors, and the people who interact with your rug. Hopefully these benefits answer your question: do I need a rug pad?

Yet, as effective as they are, rug pads don’t last forever. Fortunately, we provide rug pad replacements. If you’re in the Chicago area and have questions about your rug pad or are in need of a replacement, contact us today!