In a related article, I wrote about choosing a rug, considering the rug backing. Here I write about the rug pad, which I highly recommend, especially for heat-set and woven backing rugs. I list 7 benefits of a good rug pad:
1. It creates a ‘breathing’ space so air can pass through the rug for effective vacuuming (critical for healthy living).
2. Increases the lifespan of the rug by reducing wear (cushioning the weight from above and the friction of the rug moving on the floor below)
3. Provides comfort while standing or walking
4. Provides added sound reduction
5. Creates a non-slip rug on your hard floor surfaces (option)
6. Protects your wood flooring/finish from heat-set backings. (scratching)
7. Protects your wood flooring/finish from woven backings. (dirt works it way through the rug, then you walk on the rug and essentially grind the dirt into the floor if no pad is present)
In general, don’t go cheap. I recommend a dual type rug pad; a waffle (so the floors can "breathe") pad, made with natural rubber (to go against the floor) on one side, and felt on the other. Rug pads made with synthetic PVC (polyvinyl chloride) or latex backings/pad pressed, sprayed or painted on, will cause damage and discoloration of hardwood floors. Beware of inexpensive synthetic waffle padding.
If you want a thin, non-slip pad, make sure:
•Waffle pads (mesh) should be made of natural rubber instead of PVC or latex
•Do not use adhesive backed pads, The adhesive usually damages and discolors anything it comes in contact with
•If it’s fabric, great, it can breath and the non-slip feature is available
Tip… If the floor had been recently stained or poly'd, you should wait 6 weeks before putting down a rug pad or rug to avoid lifting of the floor color. However, the bare portions of the hardwood floor will be open to UV light and will be susceptible to lightening or darkening.
Rugs are essential for healthy living on hard floors and they can really show off your flooring with the added benefits as listed above. Keep in mind that something must ‘catch’ the dirt, dust, soot, pollen, etc. flying around your room once you remove the carpet. Without rugs everything settles onto your upholstery or drapes, and they will get dirty and dingy quickly.
Get the most out of your rugs. The right pad makes the rug easy to clean and vacuum. Keep a healthy home, while you protect your floors. Get a pad for that rug!