Rugs are practical decor for just about anywhere with a floor. They’re used to protect the floor and enhance the design of any room. Rugs can also protect your feet. Using rugs to decorate outside, for example, you can protect your bare feet from splinters and rough surfaces.
A good rug can protect a floor affected by heavy traffic, while still allowing the floor to shine. Whether you have a wood, tile or concrete floor, rugs allow you to enhance rather than hide your floor. Rugs add warmth to any room. A minimalist room can still use a beautiful rug either around seating areas or to define a space in an open floor plan. A rustic room can feel the warmth with a cozy rug or a layered-rug look. A child’s bedroom or playroom can use a rug to add a warm spot to sit and read or take a nap.
Why some rugs are not safe for floors
Not all rugs are created equal. Some materials are scratchy, for example, natural fibers and recycled-plastic materials. And, some rugs have backings that may cause harm to your floors. Rugs with low-quality backings may cause a chemical reaction with the finish on your wood floor. If you take the rug up, you might find the wood under the rug has turned a different shade than the rest of the floor.
Another way rugs can harm your floors is that a non-skid backing made from plastic or plastic-rubber blend can stick to the floor leaving a residue that might damage a wood or tile floor. These backings could also deteriorate leaving particles behind that may affect the quality of the wood. Scratchy rugs, made from natural plant fibers, may break down and leave marks on your wood floors. Not caught in time, these broken fibers could leave you with an expensive problem to repair. Your floors under the rug could simply look worn-out.
But there is a solution to protect your floors to avoid this unexpected damage.
How to make a rug safe for floors
Rug pads are necessary to protect both your floors and rugs. Simply put, rug pads provide a protective barrier from any rug surface that could affect your floor’s integrity. They can provide a barrier for spills and pet accidents, offer a soft cushion underfoot, and keep the rug from sliding.
But rug pads are not all equal. Pads, like rug backings, can be made with inexpensive plastic or plastic-rubber blend that can damage your floors. They’re also made in differing thicknesses and densities depending on the use. The best rug pads should be cushioning and non-slip. The non-slip material should be a polymer-coated polyester. This product should not react with your floors.
Look for a rug pad material made of felt or a mix of synthetic fibers for cushioning, sound insulating and floor protection. Be sure the blend of synthetic fibers does not include plastic. A thick, dense rug pad is more durable and will last longer. If your rug is placed near a door, consider a low-profile or thinner rug pad so the door can pass over it without damaging the rug fibers. Also, consider a thinner rug pad if you have a very thin rug so it doesn’t look awkward on your floor.
Great rug choices for tile and wood floors
Be sure to include a non-slip rug pad since tile can be a slippery surface. When covering a large tiled area, consider a thick rug pad for extra cushioning. Try a hand-knotted cotton rug for softness, style, and warmth on your tile floors.
When covering wood floors, remember that the edges of your rug will touch your floor. Be sure to find a rug with quality backing, or find one without a backing like a hand knotted wool rug which will compliment a wood floor with a bit of warm style.
Great rug choices for outside floors
Not all rugs can be used outside, even if the area is covered. Covered patios can still hold moisture that causes mildew to form and might ruin your rug. Avoid materials that will stick to the patio surface. Choose rug pads to protect wood decks and allow outdoor rugs to dry quickly. Finally, pick a rug specifically made for the outdoors.