In the realm of home essentials, sometimes it’s the invisible elements that play the most crucial roles. Think about your home’s sturdy foundation, reliable insulation, and efficient heating and electrical systems. Beyond providing security and comfort, these features safeguard your investment and actually end up saving you money.

The same principle applies to the often-overlooked components of your living space, such as your floors and rugs and, importantly, what goes in between them.

Irrespective of the type, What Rugs Need a Mats, they all require rug mats, commonly known as rug pads, to ensure their protection and that of the floors they rest upon.

Whether it’s the cushioning support beneath the kitchen mat by the sink, the cozy area rug in the living room, or the practical runner in the entryway (or any other frequently trodden area), your floors deserve the shield of a rug mat. Not only does this preserve the longevity of your rugs and floors, but it also adds a touch of comfort to every step you take.

What Rug Mats do

Rug & Floor Protection

Ensuring the longevity of your rugs and the well-being of your floors involves more than just aesthetics; it’s about the right rug mats or pad providing essential functions.

Non-Slip Grip:

The ideal rug mat offers a non-slip grip, securing your rugs in place and preventing slips and slides. This not only protects your flooring but also ensures a safer environment for everyone at home.

Additional Cushion:

Beyond mere protection, a quality rug mat introduces an additional layer of cushioning. This becomes particularly significant when it comes to your furniture. By creating a soft buffer between your furniture and the hard floor, these mats prevent unsightly indentations, tears, and holes in your beloved rugs.

Facilitate Airflow:

Rug mats contribute to the health and cleanliness of your rugs by facilitating airflow. This not only keeps your rug looking cleaner on a daily basis but also addresses the primary culprit of rug degradation dirt. A cleaner rug translates to a more enduring and valuable piece that might last a lifetime or even become a cherished heirloom.

Minimize Wear and Tear:

With their protective properties, rug mats act as a barrier against the wear and tear caused by constant foot traffic and furniture movements. They add that crucial layer between your rug and the hard surface, reducing the impact and preserving the quality of your rugs over time.

Sound and Heat Insulation:

Rug mats contribute to a quieter living space by offering sound insulation, a boon for apartments and multi-floor homes. In drafty, older homes, these mats can also provide an additional layer of heat insulation. In humid climates, certain mats assist in keeping both rugs and floors dry.

Stability and Comfort:

Whether your priority is stability or comfort, rug mats deliver both. They keep your rugs firmly in place while providing a comfortable underfoot experience. The choice between grip and cushion depends on the size of your rug, striking the right balance for optimal performance.

Investing in the right rug mat is not just about enhancing the visual appeal of your space; it’s a commitment to the long-term well-being of your rugs and floors.

How to Choose The Right Rug Mat

When selecting a rug mat or pad, it’s essential to tailor your choice to the specific needs dictated by the size, type, and thickness of your rug.

Size Matters:

For smaller rugs and runners, prioritizing grip is key. This ensures they stay securely in place, especially in high-traffic areas. On the other hand, larger rugs in spaces like living rooms and bedrooms may require less grip, as they’re often anchored by furniture and benefit more from additional cushioning underfoot.

Consider Rug Type and Thickness:

The type and thickness of your rug play a crucial role in your choice of rug mat. Larger rugs, though generally anchored by furniture, might still benefit from a pad that combines grip and cushion, especially if they are thinner. Thinner rugs, regardless of size, have a tendency to buckle or wrinkle, making the combination of grip and cushion a thoughtful choice to maintain a smooth and secure rug surface.

Non-Slip Rug Pads:

Enter the non-slip rug pad, crafted precisely for the nuances of thinner rugs or those prone to movement. These pads provide the necessary grip to prevent unwanted bunching or wrinkling, ensuring your rug stays in place.

Versatile Options:

The good news is that the market offers a diverse array of rug mats and pads. You can find options with strong grip and a low-profile design, striking the right balance between stability and subtlety. Additionally, there are pads that provide a combination of grip and cushion, available in various thicknesses. For those seeking the epitome of luxury, the thickest pads offer a plush cushioning experience, turning every step into a comfort-laden delight.

Ultimately, the key is to align your choice with the specific requirements of your rug, considering its size, type, and thickness. With a variety of options available, you can easily find the perfect rug mat or pad to enhance both the aesthetic and functional aspects of your space.

What Type of Rug Pad Is Best for My Floor?

The world of rug pads encompasses a variety of materials, ranging from natural fibers like jute and horsehair to synthetic counterparts such as grippy PVC and memory foam. However, the optimal rug pads typically fall into categories such as felt, rubber, or a well-balanced combination of both.


Felt is a favored choice for its exceptional cushioning properties. Ideal for low-profile rugs, it provides a thin, barely-there pad that complements the sleek aesthetic without compromising on comfort.


Rubber, on the other hand, excels in gripping both the area rug and the floor, effectively anchoring them in place. This makes it an excellent choice for preventing slips and curls, particularly on hardwood floors.

Combination Pads:

Some of the best rug pads combine both felt and rubber, harnessing the strengths of each material. This combination is particularly beneficial for rugs with varying styles or pile heights, offering a balance of cushioning and grip.

Memory Foam:

For areas like nurseries where comfort is paramount, memory foam comes into play. Its cushiony texture makes it an ideal choice for crawling or toddling babies, providing a soft and secure surface.

PVC for Outdoor Use:

When it comes to outdoor rug pads, PVC (polyvinyl chloride) takes the lead. This synthetic, plastic material withstands rain and the elements, ensuring durability in outdoor settings. However, it’s crucial to note that PVC releases volatile organic compounds (VOCs), making it unsuitable for indoor use.

Consider Rug Style and Pile Height:

To determine the most suitable rug pad for your needs, consider the style and pile height of your area rug. Low-profile rugs pair well with thin, barely-there pads, while rugs with shag or heft can accommodate thicker pads. It’s essential to strike the right balance—avoid overly thick pads to prevent them from becoming trip hazards.

Special Considerations:

If you’re dealing with hardwood floors, a felt-rubber pad is generally a safe bet. However, it’s crucial to note that felt doesn’t fare well with water. For areas prone to splashes, like bathrooms, kitchens, or pool areas, opt for an all-rubber construction to ensure longevity and performance.

In essence, selecting the right rug pad involves a thoughtful consideration of your area rug’s characteristics and the specific needs of your living space.

How to Use a Rug Pad?

When it comes to placing rug pads under your area rugs, there are important considerations to ensure a seamless fit and optimal performance.

Choosing the Right Size:

Rug pads come with finished edges, while others are trimmable to customize the fit for your room and area rug. If you opt for a trimmable variety, it’s advisable to purchase one slightly larger than your rug. This way, you can tailor it perfectly, ensuring that the rug pad remains completely hidden underneath your rug.

Customizing the Fit:

When placing the rug pad, it should be approximately 1 to 2 inches smaller than your rug on all edges. For round or oval rugs, maintain an even gap all around. To customize the fit, use a felt-tip marker to mark where to cut, and employ sharp, heavy-duty scissors for precise trimming.

Door Clearance Considerations:

In scenarios where the rug pad is used under a doormat or in a bathroom with swinging doors, it’s crucial to ensure that the rug and pad don’t block or bunch up when the door swings open. Before making any cuts or adjustments, test the loft of the rug and pad together to guarantee clearance during door opening and closing.

Dealing with Accidents:

Households with pets and children are more prone to spills and accidents. In the event of a spill on your rug, swift cleanup is essential. Felt pads may require extra blotting and spot treatment, while rubber memory foam pads, being water-resistant, can be easily wiped clean with a paper towel.

Routine Cleaning:

The frequency of routine cleaning depends on the foot traffic the rug receives. Vacuuming is suitable for solid material pads like felt and memory foam; consider doing it every 1 to 2 years. For non-solid pads, shaking them out is an effective cleaning method. Additionally, it’s advisable to clean the floor beneath the rug and pad at least once a year, as you would typically clean the surface of the floor.

What is The Best Material for a Rug Pad?

Not all rug pads are made equal, as a quick Google search will reveal a myriad of options, many crafted from materials like felt or touted as “eco-friendly” synthetics. According to antique rug expert Omri Schwartz from Nazmiyal Rugs, the prevalent choices for rug pads include horsehair, felt, rubber, or jute, each offering unique advantages.

Schwartz points out that some rug pads may blend materials like rubber for grip and felt for cushioning, while others may incorporate additional padding to give a rug more substance. However, he advises against using an excessively plush pad under a thin or flat woven rug, as the noticeable difference in thickness could appear awkward and even pose a tripping hazard. Selke highlights the significance of considering the thickness of the rug when selecting an appropriate pad. She suggests, “For instance, if you have a rug with a higher pile, opt for a heavyweight or dense rug pad.” On the other hand, for thinner rugs, it’s advisable to choose a low-profile pad.

Regarding materials, experts generally lean towards a blend of felt and rubber for an optimal pairing. Hyman advises that while you can find 100 percent felt rug pads, a composite with natural rubber tends to be superior. He cautions against using “non-stick” pads made of thin gridded rubber, as over time, they can meld with the underside of the rug, causing potential damage to both the rug and the underlying floors.

How Do I Trim a Rug Pad?

When purchasing a rug pad, it’s recommended to choose one that can be easily cut to the correct size. Hyman suggests getting a pad slightly larger than your rug to allow room for customization. The goal is to have the rug pad completely concealed under the rug, with approximately one inch less than the rug’s overall size on all four sides.

To accurately size and trim the pad, start by using a ruler to determine the length and width of your rug. Mark the trimming points with a felt-tip pen and use a pair of sharp, heavy-duty scissors for cutting. Hyman advises, “Subtract 2 inches from your rug’s measurements, and that will give you the dimensions of the rug pad.” For example, if your rug is 7’7″ by 10’2″, aim for a 7’5″ by 10′ rug pad.

It’s crucial to remember that you can always go smaller but not bigger, so it’s wise to measure twice and cut once. For round, oval, or irregularly shaped rugs, Selke suggests tracing the rug’s shape onto the pad and then carefully trimming it by sight to a smaller size.

How Long Do Rug Pads Last?

Schwartz emphasizes that despite what you may hear, all rug pads have a limited lifespan and will eventually break down. He suggests viewing rug pads as disposable and temporary items, cautioning against overpaying for them. Instead, consider them as functional for a certain period rather than investing in an expensive pad with the expectation that it will last indefinitely.

For optimal performance, experts generally advise replacing rug pads every three to four years. Two opportune moments to refresh with a new pad are when acquiring a new rug or after having your existing rug professionally cleaned. This approach ensures that your rug pad continues to provide the necessary support and protection for your rugs over time.