Protecting Your Hardwood Floors: Tips on Rugs and Rug Pads

Hardwood floors add sophistication and design to any space, but they can be hard and uncomfortable underfoot. Many people opt to put area rugs over their hardwood floors to add comfort and warmth. The question many people ask themselves, however, is ‘will the rug protect or harm my floors?’

Hardwood floors are a great investment for your home and it is important to protect that investment. A properly placed area rug can protect your flooring while also increasing the comfort and design of the space. First things first, you want to pick the correct size rug for your room. The general rule of thumb is to make sure you have about 18” of space between the edge of the rug and the wall. This is particularly important with hardwood floors. Why would you install hardwood just to turn around and cover it up?

Once you have your measurements decided upon, you will need to select a rug pad. Rug pads do a number of important jobs. They provide addition softness and comfort, they prevent the rug from slipping around, and most importantly they protect the finish of the wood floor from being scuffed and scratched. It also can add to the longevity of the rug itself. Foot traffic can wear down the rug’s backing and cause rugs to lose pile height over time if not properly padded.


Knowing the type of finish on your wood floors is also important. Polyurethane finished floors can cause less expensive vinyl rug pads to bleed. This bleeding can lead to staining or stripping of your hardwood. Also, if your hardwood floors were stained on site, it is often recommended that you wait 30 days before placing pads and/or rugs on the floor to avoid bleed.

Do not hesitate to enhance your hardwood floors with an elegant rug. Just be sure to take the proper steps to protect your floors.

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  1. Thank you for the articles on selecting a rug and protecting hardwood floors. We just purchased a rug from Plushrugs for our den and are looking for rugs for the bedroom, living room, and hallway. We will keep this information in mind when we make future selections. I am pleased with the rug purchased for the den.

  2. Can you address the most appropriate rugs /pads for hardwood floors that have a natural oil or hard wax finish? I imagine the treatment is different than that for polynomial floors.

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