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Will an Area Rug Damage Your Hardwood Floor?

5 reasons why it might not be the best idea

By Blake Lockwood | Curated by Blake Lockwood | Reviewed by Blake Lockwood

Blake Lockwood, the seasoned interior designer behind Decor Snob, has made a name for himself with over 30 years of industry experience. As a member of esteemed associations such as the NCIDQ, CIDA, NAAB, and CCIDC, he upholds high standards in his work.  His content is always people-first, reliable, and engaging.

area rug on wood floor in living room

Worried that your area rug will damage your hardwood floors? I once wondered the same thing myself until I found these tips for protecting hardwood floors from area rug damage.

Cheap area rugs can damage floors by scratching them and dulling the finish. To protect your hardwood floors invest in quality rugs and use the right rug pads. Felt and rubber pads are great for keeping area rugs from sliding without causing damage to the wood.

Keep reading to find out more about why some area rugs can damage hardwood floors and how you can avoid this. Damaging the hardwood floors with an area rug is an avoidable mistake.

Why Do Some Area Rugs Damage Hardwood Floors?

The main reason why some area rugs cause damage to hardwood floors is that they are made with cheap synthetic materials which scratch up the finish on the wood. Sometimes it is not the rug itself, but the rug pad which causes the damage to the floor. Rug pads are used to keep area rugs from sliding around, but the sticky material can have negative effects on the flooring.

Where most people go wrong and end up damaging their floors is that they try to forego purchasing an area rug pad altogether. If the rug is heavy enough and held down with furniture then it may seem unnecessary to use a rug pad, but the truth is that all the slipping and sliding around of the rug can corrode the wooden floors. Scratches, stains from the fabric dye, and adhesives are all unfortunate side effects of not having the right rug mat for your area mat.

Cheap rugs are often treated with adhesives to help them stick to the floor, and the cheap adhesive can ruin the finish, cause discoloration, or stick to the floor completely. Investing in a high-quality area rug pad will not only protect you from potentially slipping and falling on the rug, but it will also help protect your hardwood floors from unnecessary damage.

What Kind of Rug Pad Is Best For Hardwood Floors?

There are rug pads that are specially designed to be used on hardwood floors. These specialized rug pads are made with a blend of materials that is safe for use on wooden floors. Felt and natural rubber are the best materials for a rug pad for wooden floors as these materials are non-corrosive and will naturally cause enough tension to keep the rug in place without the use of sticky adhesives.

You should also be sure to use the right size of rug pad under the area rug. Area rugs are designed to be very large, so a large rug pad is also necessary. The padding should be just shy of the edge of the rug, so that it almost reaches the edges, but is not visible. Most rug pads are able to be cut to the exact size you need.

Why You Need a Rug Pad for Hardwood Floors

Without a rug pad, your area rug could damage or ruin your hardwood floors. Here are a few of the main reasons why you need to use a rug pad for an area rug on hardwood floors.

  • Using a rug pad helps protect the surface of the wood from discoloration. Some rugs have strong fabric dyes which could leak into the surface of the wood due to humidity, heat, and other factors. Another factor that could cause the surface of the hardwood floors to discolor is if there is any sort of adhesive used on the underside of the rug which could stick to the finish and cause it to corrode.
  • Rugs slide around and can cause a tripping hazard. Using a rug pad keeps you and your belongings safe.
  • The rug pad has some additional benefits to the room such as adding more cushioning to the carpet for a warmer, softer surface and helping soundproof the room.
  • It is not just the floor that can benefit from the use of a rug pad. Rug pads also help to protect the rug from damage. It has been proven that rugs that are used with rug pads last longer than rugs without rug pads.

Area Rug Damage on Hardwood Floors is Avoidable

Area rugs can cause damage to hardwood floors. This can be from being made with cheap materials, having a sticky adhesive on the bottom, or other factors. Chemicals in the area rug can affect the finish of the hardwood floors when the gases are released. Discoloration, scratches, and stickiness are all negative effects that area rugs can have on hardwood floors.

The best way to protect your hardwood floors from damage is to use a high-quality rug pad which is the appropriate size and specially made for hardwood floors. Felt and rubber are the best materials for a rug pad for hardwood floors.

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