Keeping your area rug safely in place is important, and you have many options to choose from today when it comes to rug pads. These not only provide extra cushion and comfort, but they anchor your rug to the floor – to ensure that it doesn’t slip out from underfoot. Yet, not all products are well-made, and there are many inferior choices on the market currently. In addition, you may prefer to use eco-friendly rug pads which are good for the planet, and also a healthy addition to your home. So, to help you understand the best type of rug pad for your particular needs, let’s look at a common problem of cheaper models, and the various materials you can choose from below.
Staining and Sticking
Unfortunately, while low-grade PVC rug pads may be the cheapest option, they also have a number of negative drawbacks. In an effort to cut costs during the manufacturing process, a cocktail of different noxious chemicals are often used to produce them. These can contain a variety of harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which can be a health hazard for you and your family. How so?
Through what is known as off-gasing, these VOCs are slowly released from the pad and into the air inside your home. Clearly, this is less than ideal, as many of these dangerous chemicals have been shown to cause cancer or other health problems. While the levels of VOCs in these products may be within acceptable toxicity limits imposed by regulations, they are still higher than you are probably comfortable placing inside your home.
In addition, these chemicals can react with the finish on your hardwood floors, sometimes causing noticeable discoloration or staining. Glossy finishes are especially susceptible to damage, though any polyurethane, lacquer or acrylic finish could be at risk. Another issue is sticking, and as the PVC in the rug pad interacts with your floor’s finish, it can cause it to become tacky.
While these problems can occur at any time, your hardwood floor’s finish is more likely to be harmed if it’s not fully cured. Be sure to avoid using a rug pad of any kind for between one to three weeks after coating, and consider bypassing inferior PVC pads altogether.
TYPES OF PAD MATERIALS AVAILABLE:
These are tremendous options, as they are good for the planet and often made from organic materials as well. If you are concerned about the environment and also the interior air quality of your home, then eco-friendly rug pads are the obvious choice. They also eliminate concerns about your hardwood’s finish being damaged, as they typically employ safe plant-based oils and special polymers which are nonreactive. Finally, they are odor-free and many types are available such as solid, cushion and felt options.
If you want a rug pad that will keep your carpet in place and provide extra cushioning too, then a felt product is a good choice. They don’t tend to adhere to the floor as securely as other materials, so felt pads are recommended for larger area rugs. Why is this? Larger rugs don’t shift as easily, making it less important for them to be as firmly anchored. Other benefits are their lack of unpleasant odor, long-lasting durability and soft finish. Felt rug pads will reduce the wear on the flooring beneath, and can extend the life of your rug as well.
Natural Rubber Pads
In contrast, if you have a smaller area rug, then natural rubber rug pads are an excellent alternative. Rubber grips the floor solidly, even better than most PVC products available today. Yet, it is a natural item which holds up well for many years, though they are typically thinner and provide less padding. Finally, natural rubber pads are safe to use on your hardwoods, as they won’t corrode the finish.
Felt & Rubber Pads
These combination rug pads give you the benefits of each material, so you don’t have to sacrifice any advantages. In terms of anchoring your rug firmly to the floor, the rubber portion will adhere well to any slick surface. Yet, the felt content ensures that the rug has plenty of padding, and this can help your rug to last longer. Also, the felt top of the rug pad can prevent common problems, such as bunching or creeping.
However, the positive features of felt and rubber rug pads don’t stop there, as they have another useful characteristic. If you are looking for a way to safely place an area rug onto carpet, then rubber and felt combination pads are the ideal solution. In this configuration, you’ll want to turn the pad upside down, with the rubber side placed against the area rug. This will allow the felt side to face down, and felt will provide traction against your carpet’s fibers.
This is the last material which is available to you, and PVC rug pads are notorious for their shoddy construction. While you will save money in the purchase price upfront, they may cost you more in the end. How so? If they end up damaging your hardwood floor’s finish, this will be far more expensive to fix than the higher cost of a better rug pad. Yet, they may also shorten the life of your area rug as well, which is another hidden expense.
However, these drawbacks aren’t the biggest concern, when it comes to using PVC rug pads in your home. As already discussed above, they can release VOCs into the air that you breathe. This is not only a health risk, but it isn’t eco-friendly either, making PVC pads a poor choice all around. For all of these reasons, when setting out to buy a solid rug pad, it is recommended that you avoid PVC options at all costs.
In conclusion, finding the perfect eco-friendly rug pad for your situation isn’t difficult, as you now know your available choices. It is best to look at your specific needs, as this will enable you to better determine if felt, rubber or a combination rug pad would be a good fit. Keep in mind, the larger the area rug, the less that grip is a factor. Instead, you may want a larger degree of cushioning, which will give your rug a plush feel. Yet, smaller rugs will need to be safely secured, and a rug pad with more grip is preferred in this case. Either way, eco-friendly rug pads are a safer and more durable option, making them the best choice to use in your home.