Rug Pad Buying Guide

Rug pads are versatile flooring accessories that provide everything from added comfort to sound reduction. When searching for a rug pad that meets your needs, it's important to look at details like thickness, materials, and size. Consider these key categories as you search for the best selections. 

What is a Rug Pad?

Before you start the search for a rug pad, it's important to know why these selections are crucial to your safety as well as the rug's longevity. For starters, they increase a rug's lifespan by preventing issues like shredding and breakage, especially along the trim. Depending on a rug's base, the pad may also ward off mold or mildew. They also act as a secure floor accessory that helps put a stop to tripping, an essential feature for households with children or elderly family members.

Thickness

A rug pad's thickness can alter its height as well as its comfort level. Flat pads work well with both thick and low-pile rugs, but they're especially helpful when dealing with taller piles. For plush shag pile rugs, their level surface provides great grip and surface protection without pushing an already tall rug further off the ground. In contrast, plumped-up selections give flat or low pile rugs added height. Some of the thickest padding options reach upwards of half an inch and provide soft shock absorbers for knotted as well as braided styles. When dealing with natural or resilient materials like wool, the added padding gives already strong fibers a base to quickly spring back into shape.

Materials

Materials shape how a rug pad performs under normal conditions. Many selections combine both natural and synthetic materials to create specialized blends based on their usage, location, and selected features. Natural mediums provide a strong surface without harmful chemicals or dyes. Synthetic options offer affordable solutions that retain their bounce after years of use.

MaterialWhat Is It?What Does It Bring To Rug Pads?Best Suited For 
Natural 
   FeltFelt is comprised of natural fabrics that are intertwined into a solid block of material.This option not only acts as a cushion, it also muffles sound from steps or movements. Depending on the materials used in its construction, this choice can resist moisture as well as stains. When placed under assorted indoor rugs, these choices focus on protection as well as comfort.All Flooring Types
   RubberIn its natural form, rubber comes in a liquid and hardens into a high-impact material. Rubber rugs pads have the ability to grip any surface. When it's time for quick cleanups, these choices can be taken care of with just a cloth and water. An eco-friendly choice, natural rubber offers a great non-slip surface, especially when used near exterior doorways.Natural Rubber:
Hardwood
Laminate
Tile

Natural or Hybrid Blends:
Tile
Concrete
   WoolThe fabric comes from animals such as sheep. In its original form, this medium retains warmth as well as its shape.A wool pad is great for cold or cooler areas of the home. Its ability to act as insulation helps the rug itself maintain an even temperature. Rug pads featuring other natural materials may include a small portion of wool to maintain consistency.All Flooring Types
   Plant StrandsStrands from plants like reeds or jute offer a strong fiber that resists breakage or staining.Plant strands are often combined with other materials to create durable pads. These plant based products can also give flooring added protection from changes in climate or moisture levels.All Flooring Types
Synthetic
   PVCPVC, or vinyl, is basically plastic.  This lightweight choice is affordable and supple.You can easily shape this material to fit any style of rug. It is water resistant and holds up under warmer temperatures. The material is safe for use with both indoor and outdoor rugs.Tile
Laminate 
Concrete

Special Features

Choosing the best rug pad often depends on which special features you're looking for. Individual pads may incorporate several features based on the mix of materials and overall thickness. Soundproofing is one of the most popular choices because it reduces noise, especially in large spaces. Pads utilize thick materials like felt to cushion footsteps and decrease the sound levels when dealing with older hardwood flooring.

For more versatility when changing your area rug placement, look for reversible pads. Typically, these have one side that works well on hard floors, and the other side is better for use over carpet.

Finding The Perfect Fit

Finding the right fit is essential to using a rug pad to its full potential. When selecting a rug pad, start by looking at the floor that will be under it. While some flooring will take to any type of padding, others take better to selected materials. For example, wool or plant-based products work well on vinyl flooring and prevent marks from reaching the surface. Natural fiber rugs can benefit from rubber or PVC pads that increase traction.

Check out the shape and size of the rug. As a rule, the rug itself should completely cover the pad on all sides and include a slight overhang. If a rug pad is slightly larger or in a different shape, cut it to ensure the best placement. If you have to make a cut, sit the rug over the pad as it would appear in the room. Use a marker to make guidelines along the bottom of the pad, and then pull the rug away. With a carpet knife or similar blade, make a smooth cut around the pad.

When you're looking for the best rug pad, the answer often lies in the materials that make up its composition. Paired with the right features and thickness, these choices give rugs added grip and smoothness. Discover the best natural and synthetic rug pads now.