Rug pads are an essential buy if you have hardwood floors. Choosing the wrong rug pad can cause irreparable damage to your flooring. A chemical reaction between the polyurethane finish and a rug pad’s material is a common cause of stained, severely discolored floors in homes where the owners were unaware of the implications.
They sometimes sell many products with misleading labels, such as use is acceptable on wood floors or hard surfaces even though you should never use them on a poly-coated wood floor.
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Materials Selection for Rug Pads
Most rug pads designed for hardwood floors have comfort and safety from slipping highlighted in the advertising. When purchasing a rug pad, ensure the materials they’re made from won’t ruin your flooring, as that’s your top priority.
Then check their density to ensure punctures or dents won’t damage your floors. Also, consider how a rug pad will affect safety and how much grip it will provide. Finally, pick a rug pad to rest on. Pads made entirely of felt are an excellent choice for padding.
Rebond Rug Pads
Rebond padding, created from recycled foam scraps between 3/8″ and 7/16″, is a low-cost, short-term flooring solution. Still, I recommend caution. First, double-check with the store to ensure the rebond doesn’t have the flame retardant butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT).
In addition, you can use carpet tape to secure the rug and pad together by cutting the pad an inch or two smaller than your area rug. Note that the floor’s finish may become discolored with this rug pad.
Poly Rug Pads
Polyurethane padding is a good choice. It provides a lot of padding and is suitable for multiple uses. They press together various fine fibers to create poly rug pads to form a very thin roll.
Fiber Rug Pad
Recycled polyester fibers are used to create fiber padding. This kind lasts a long time and is excellent for placing under area rugs because it prevents them from shifting around, but it could be more comfortable. You can purchase either synthetic or recycled textile fibers.
Why Do Rugs Damage or Warp Hardwood Floors
The following are some reasons rugs can severely damage hardwood floors:
Ruggables Made Of Cheap Substances
To keep their prices low, manufacturers use materials with a shorter lifespan to create low-quality rugs. However, corrosion and damage to the floor may occur over time if materials or chemicals are present.
Use Of Unrefined Components
The rug’s finish quality is usually subpar, with inexpensive options. Rough rug pads can quickly leave scratches all over the ground, especially if your hardwood floor also has a raw coating.
What Characteristics Make Rugs Safe For Hardwood Floors
We can add ruggables to hardwood flooring without fear of damage. Why?
They are easily removable and washable. In addition, they make these ruggables from non-toxic, thus damage-free materials and feature ultra-soft rubber pads.
They comprise a high thread count, so the rugs won’t fray and won’t stick to the hardwood floors, won’t slide around, and won’t leave a trail of tiny scratches.
We can use ruggables on hardwood floors without fear of damaging the hardwood floors. If you follow the directions, your floors are safe when using ruggables.
Some of the best ways to prevent ruggables from scratching hardwood floors are:
Using Heavy Pads
One of the most recognizable characteristics of ruggables is their notoriously slender build. In addition, thin mats can leave uneven scratches on hardwood flooring. These days, plush ruggables with a deep pile are readily available, and the weight makes them ideal for use on solid wood surfaces. They do double duty of firmly anchoring the rugs and reducing the jarring effects of accidental falls.
In Time Vacuuming
Avoid having dirt or dust accumulating at the rugs’ bases. You can remove dust and other debris by vacuuming the tops and undersides of rugs.
Over time, the litter will discolor the floor coverings or leave tiny scratches. Then, the constant friction between the surfaces can cause severe damage to the floors.
Can You Machine-Wash Ruggables?
Famous for being slimmer than traditional rugs, ruggable has become a popular flooring option. The rugs typically have two lightweight layers that alternate in design and come from recycled thermoplastic.
As a result, we can wash most ruggable rug pads in a machine with no problems. However, it is essential to double-check the machine-washability features by reading the enclosed instructions and guidelines.
Ruggables will only become appropriate for hardwood or other floors just because you wash them. Remove the covers and throw the Ruggables in the washing machine like a blanket.
After washing, replace the covers over the pads as before. There will be no contact between the covers and the hardwood floors other than at the edges. Thus, you need not worry that the chemicals in the liquid soaps and detergents will deteriorate the decks or floors.
You should avoid using rug pads made of foam, rubber, latex, plastic matting, vinyl, or lack proper ventilation. The plasticizers in some PVC (vinyl) rugs can discolor the finish or the wood. Besides not looking good, the damage is irreversible.
Synthetic rubber rug pads with anti-skid backing are also unsuitable for hardwood floors. A typical example is an anti-slip synthetic rubberized product commonly used for drawer and shelf linings. It will permanently mar your hardwood floor with an ugly crisscross, grid, or egg crate pattern.
Unfortunately, some carpet and flooring stores advise their customers to use this padding. The product above claims to be suitable for use on “hard flooring surfaces” on the packaging. It would be best to use this pad if you know it won’t damage your floor finish.
To remove the “rug pad stain,” your entire floor will need to be sanded and refinished, which is a huge undertaking that can take weeks or months. Rugs designed in bathrooms often have a rubber backing that can discolor linoleum and vinyl, and hardwood floors also become permanently discolored.
Finally, it would help if you did not pair a rigid pad with tough cleats or grippers. The permanent indentations they leave in wood may deter some people from using them near doors and windows, but they are still popular.
To get a custom ruggable, you must bring exact measurements for a perfect fit. You should first find out how wide the rug is and then measure along the edge binding.
The second step is to determine the rug’s size by measuring its length. Finally, add binding, but leave off the fringe and tassels. In theory, this should give you a number that is identical to the dimensions of your rug. Give these figures to the store clerk and ask for the rug pad to be trimmed down on all four sides to fit your floor.
What to do if The Rug Pad Is Larger Than The Rug Cover
Each ruggable pad is purposefully made slightly smaller than its cover for a comfortable fit. So, ruggable rugs should be fine with sizing. If the rug pads look like they will be too large, lay them out to verify the size.
If the protrusion exceeds four inches, notify the manufacturers about the discrepancy and ask for compensation. Rubber pads from distinct sets may need to have their diameters rounded down to fit under their respective covers if you use a mix-and-match approach.
If you want to keep your ruggable from curling, be careful when sliding it under a couch or other piece of furniture.
Let rugs air out at room temperature after washing them. Keep them inside in the blistering sun to dry. The water in the ruggable layers can gradually evaporate using a steamroller.
Ruggables’ rug pads and covers get fabricated from 100% non-hazardous and recycled materials like thermoplastic rubbers, non-toxic polyurethane, etc. Pads of lower quality or those made from inappropriate materials will need to be replaced frequently, or they may cause permanent damage to your floor.
Depending on which rubber pads you use, confirm they’re made from quality products before purchasing. The primary reason wooden floors get damaged is because of the synthetic rubber (cheap rubber) used in most pads.
Most ruggables do not affect the finish of the wooden floors. However, to be safe, it’s a good idea to wash your rugs regularly and keep them in pristine condition. We should keep away rugs from sources of direct heat and chemicals, among other precautions, to ensure everyone’s safety on the floor.
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John Thompson, Writer and Commentator, EvolutDesign.com
Soldier, writer, researcher, consultant, and bon vivant, John Thompson is the author of numerous columns, op-eds, reports, briefs, short stories and books as the “Felicity Files” and “Spirit Over Steel: A Chronology of the Second World War” (version III). Often found hunched over his computer, or in his garden, and now often found doing both. His diverse talent has led him to work in industries and projects such as energy, security and home construction and renovation.