"Do I Really Need a Rug Pad?"

We get this question all the time! The simple answer is, Yes.

But since quality rug pads tend to add a significant cost to your rug purchase,  we felt we owed you a more thorough explanation. So, we interviewed our interior designer rug specialists here at Magic Rugs, and here's what they had to say:

#1 Rug Pads Protect Your Rug

If you've decided to invest in a handmade rug, then you already have an eye for craftsmanship. A rug pad absorbs impact that would otherwise fall on the rug fibers themselves. Over time, a rug will experience natural flattening and separation of the fibers. But a rug pad will delay this process significantly, meaning you'll get many more years out of your cherished piece.

Rug pads also provide an element of airflow for your rug. If a spill is not completely cleaned and dried, or perhaps you live in a humid environment, a rug pad will facilitate a modest amount of airflow, which will help keep mold and mildew at bay.

#2 Rug Pads Protect Your Floor

Some rugs are made of tougher pile, such as less-refined wools or wool blends. In this case, we've seen that these types of rugs will over time wear down the polish or protective stain on wood floors. Even laminate floors will show scratching and tread marks over time.

Rug pads also protect your floor from dirt particles or other foreign objects that may find their way down into the rug fibers. In this case, the rug itself acts like a trap, causing any particles underneath to scratch and scrape at the floor below whenever the rug is walked on or moved.

#3 Rug Pads Protect You

Remember, "Help! I've fallen and I can't get up!"? It's a real thing. Handmade rugs don't come with non-slip backings. This means they will shift, slide and move -- yes, even if you anchor a corner or two under a heavy piece of furniture.

Also, without a rug pad encouraging the rug to lay flat, you'll find the corners turning up over time. These are a nasty tripping hazard as much as an unsightly way to tread your beloved handmade piece of art.

#4 Rugs Pads Are, Well, Padded!

Ever walk on a rug without padding? It's like hearing a disappointed "awwwww…" from the audience. A rug pad will simply elevate your experience with your rug. If you have cold floors, the rug pad provides some insulation. If you walk and stand all day … if you love being barefoot in your home … if, if, if. We're no doctors, but rug pads offer cushioning and comfort that makes your body say, "ahhhhhh…" That's why we often include free rug pads with our customers' purchases. We just know you'll be that much happier.

What type of rug pad do I need?

Here's the super-quick 101 on types of rug pads:

There are synthetic rug pads and rug pads made with more natural blends, such as rubber and felt.

Rug pads are priced pretty fairly, in that you're going to get what you pay for.

Synthetic rugs tend to be a little cheaper, but they don't offer as much padding or insulation. You may also find cheaper synthetics with chemicals that cause a reaction with the natural color dyes in your rug.

Natural rugs are more expensive, but they will offer more cushioning and insulation, and tend to be more reliable when it comes to slipping and you won't have the same risk of chemical reactions with color dyes.

At Magic Rugs, we offer one of each type - synthetic polyester and natural felt. We almost always recommend the felt because it is extra cushioned and the more versatile of the two. The felt is also the more versatile of the two because it has two sides - one for laying on hard floors and the other designed for wall-to-wall carpeting.

What size rug pad do I need?

Generally, you should size your rug pad 2-5" shorter than your rug on all sides. You want to make sure the edges of the rug lay flat on the floor when the rug pad is underneath. If the rug pad is particularly thick, it will make a noticeable difference. (And if you're wondering about rug size, check out our Ultimate Guide to Choosing The Right Rug Size For Any Room!)

Rug pads & Laminate floors

Yes, we recommend using a rug pad even on laminate floors! This is because all the reasons above apply to laminate floors, just as much as hardwoods. For example, you'll still want to preserve your rug fibers, the finish on your laminate, and avoid a safety hazard.

Rug pads & Wall-to-wall carpeting

Yes, here too, we recommend using a rug pad. All the reasons above apply to wall-to-wall carpeting. A rug that shifts will rub at the carpeting below, leaving a mark over time. Our customers are often surprised to learn that rugs move about, even when placed on carpeting and anchored by heavy furniture. Though curling edges and corners tend to be the most significant hazard we notice.

Be sure to find a rug pad suited for wall-to-wall carpeting. The grip required is slightly different in order to engage properly with the carpet fibers. At Magic Rugs, our all-natural felt combo rug pad can be used on hardwood floors, laminates or wall-to-wall carpeting.

If you still have questions

If you still have questions, we love to answer them! Just send us a message, drop us a line, or visit our showroom in Charlotte! Our team of interior designer rug specialists is standing by to help you!