Rug Padding FAQ

What You Should Know About Rug Padding

Q » Do my rugs really need pads under them?

A » Pads are strongly recommended for these three reasons:

  • Pads keep your rugs from slipping out of place.
  • Pads control curling, bunching and wrinkling.
  • Most important of all, pads greatly reduce rug wear.

Q » Can’t I omit rug pads when the rugs are laid over wall-to-wall carpeting and not bare flooring?

A » Not really. Area and Oriental over wall-to-wall carpeting still have problems. They want to creep curl and wrinkle into bunches that not only look unpleasant but can catch your feet and trip you. The right kind of area rug pad makes area rugs stay put, keeps them flat and greatly reduces wear, especially on the edges and ends, which are the must vulnerable areas of an area rug.

Q » Isn’t the main function of area rug padding to provide a soft cushioned feel?

A » No. The most important thing good rug pads do is to protect the life of your rugs, preventing premature wear which shows up in heavy traffic areas as “troughs” or “valleys.” Rugs are meant to be used on a hard surface, and a pad should be sturdy so that it acts as a “shock absorber” for foot traffic. The more cushion you have, the more strain you will cause to your rugs. Mechanical wear tests have repeatedly demonstrated that solid rug pads lengthen the life of your rugs substantially.

Q » But I like a soft, luxurious feel.

A » Of course. Area rugs laid directly on bare floors will wear out quickly. But a feel that’s to soft and squishy means your area rugs are still in danger. Soft area rug pads such as foam permit to much flexing of your area rugs, destroying the rug foundation and backing causing seams to rip open on area rugs custom made from wall-to-wall carpeting. Soft area rug padding also accelerates damage from furniture legs and foot traffic, particularly heels. Think of it this way, you can write on a pad of paper but it’s impossible to write on a piece of paper over a pillow because it will tear and puncture.

Q » What’s the best type of area rug pad?

A » The strongest and best performing pad is a dense, non-woven, needle-punched, solution-dyed, hypo-allergenic (no plant or animal fibers) felt made of 100% synthetic fiber. This type of padding does not aggravate allergies, does not break down chemically, resists mildew and rot and insulates against cold floors while providing maximum structural protection to your area rugs. You can’t rip this pad apart or punch through it. It lasts at least 10 years while continuously controlling and protecting your rugs.

Q » How long does a good rug pad last?

A » Cheap foams harden, decompose and crumble over a short period of time, long before tough, dense, non-woven padding that lasts at least 10 years absorbing the shocks of foot traffic and protecting your rugs from damage.

© Lisa Wagner, Certified Rug Specialist, used with permission of Rug Care Central