Best Rug Pads for Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood flooring looks incredible, but you need to take excellent care of it for the lasting service life. You’re investing your money in flooring, and that’s not that easy when it comes to choosing the right rug which can protect the flooring. Look for the one that has padding so that you get better protection for your hardwood flooring and also for your family from slipping down at any moment.

1. Do You Need a Rug Pad?

Right off the bat, the answer to the question is YES! Below, I’ll explain why.

2. Benefits Of a Quality Rug Pad

Rug pads are not just an upsell for the rug sellers. They bring several benefits to both your floor and your area rug.

The most important is that the rug pad will keep your rug from slipping and getting bunched up. Sliding rugs are a potential tripping hazard for everyone, especially kids, pets, and limited mobility. With the right pad, the rug will stay flat even on a smooth surface.

The second benefit of the rug padding is that it protects both your floor and rug. The padding will give a cushion to the rug, just like it does for carpet. It keeps the rug from wearing out permanently. Some rugs pad are abrasive to the floor, so always check the padding before buying.

It also adds insulation to the floor. This is a smaller benefit since the rugs usually aren’t over your whole home, but it provides insulation against the cold floors and sound.

3. What Are The Kinds Of Carpet Padding?

There are countless types of carpet padding, so deciding which one to use may seem a little daunting. The good news is that many carpet manufacturers will tell you which paddings go best with your carpet, so get that list, and your range of choices will probably be less intimidating.

It is crucial to choose a carpet padding that fits your lifestyle and is compatible with your carpet type.

Let’s look over some of the pros and cons of the most popular carpet paddings.

Frothed Foam Pad

Frothed foam carpet padding is exceptionally durable and can last for more than one carpet’s lifetime. When having your carpets replaced, you may not even need to have your padding replaced if you have a frothed foam pad. They are durable, long-lasting, and comfortable, making them an excellent choice for homeowners.

The downside to frothed foam pads is that they tend to be on the pricey side, so if you are looking for a low-budget carpet padding option, this may not be the one for you.

Rebond Pad

Rebond padding equally balances quality and cost. It is made from recycled materials and, for the price, does a stable job supporting your carpet. One quick note regarding rebond padding is that some carpet warranties are made void if you choose this type of padding. Always check your warranty before making purchasing padding.

Waffle Rubber & Flat Rubber Pad

Waffle and flat rubber padding are very similar to rebond but tend to be more expensive. These filling types are often used over concrete, so they are not ideal for residential homes with wooden flooring. Because there are higher performing carpet pads at a lower price, waffle and flat rubber pads are not accessible.

Prime Foam Pad

If the carpet you are purchasing comes with free padding, prime foam is most likely what you are getting. Prime foam pads don’t hold up well in residential settings and won’t last for more than a couple years if you install it in a heavily-trafficked area

Memory Foam Pad

Memory foam pads are incredibly comfortable to walk on, making them an excellent choice for families with toddlers or people who suffer from bad joints. Memory foam carpet padding is more convenient than rebonding, but is generally less durable and won’t last as long.

Fiber Pad

When it comes to fiber, you can choose between synthetic and natural fiber carpet padding. However, we’d recommend choosing a synthetic fiber pad over natural fiber (jute and felt) as natural fiber padding is more susceptible to mold.

Some carpet warranties will call specifically for fiber padding, so it is good to know the best type. However, if your carpet doesn’t call for fiber padding, take the opportunity to go with a different kind as it will last longer and be more comfortable to walk on.

4. What Size Rug Pad Do I Need?

Src: Pexels

It’s based on the size of your rug. Here are some standard rug sizes, and the size of the rug pad you’ll need:

If you go with the natural trend, the rug pad required is 2″ shorter in length and width. This makes a rug pad that is 1″ shorter on all four sides. Of course, you can always cut a rug pad that’s greater than the size of your rug, and then trim it down, but don’t go with a smaller one.

Here are some points to consider.

Rug SizePad Size


Small rugs

3-foot by 5-foot and shorter rugs go hand in hand with a thin non-skid rug pad. If the rug is placed where many people pass through, the thin non-skid pad will come in handy to prevent slipping.

Large Rugs

Large rugs, probably 8-foot by 10-foot that are not prone to slipping, can be accompanied by a ¼ inch rug pad or one that doesn’t have the non-skid feature. An excellent example of this is the felt pad. The felt helps in putting the rug in place. 

Thin Rugs

The recommended rug pad to purchase here is one that combines the felt and rubber features.

 Thick Rugs

¼ inch rug pads are recommended for these types of rugs.

5. Material For Rug Pads

These are a few materials you can choose for a rug padding:

  1. PVC
  2. Felt
  3. Rubber
  4. Felt/ Rubber combo
  5. Polyester/ Vinyl

PVC Rug Pads

PVC rug pads are generally less expensive than others but can cause some problems with the floor. The plastic chemicals do not interact well with vinyl or hardwood floors, causing discoloration or voiding the floor’s warranty. They do make cheap non-slip surfaces.

Felt Rug Pads

Felt pads are excellent for an extra cushion and support but do not do well at keeping the rug in one place. With more substantial, more massive rugs this will not be so much of a problem. Their thickness gives some added protection to your floor and more insulation under your feet. Felt pads are considered higher quality since they are excellent “shock absorbers” to provide your rug protection.

Rubber Rug Pads

Rubber pads are thin and sticky. They provide a minimal amount of cushion and insulation; nothing compared to felt. However, rubber only pads are perfect for smaller rugs where their critical job is keeping it in place. They’re low profile, so all you see is the rug; this is especially important for thin and small rugs.

Felt And Rubber Rug Pads

Felt and rubber are the best of both worlds. They give more grip like a rubber pad and the comfort and protection of a felt one. Combined pads place felt on the top, to prevent abrasions on the rug’s underside and rubber on the bottom to keep the rug from slipping. For most people with decent quality or better rugs, I think felt, and rubber is the way to go.

Polyester And Vinyl Rug Pads

Polyester and vinyl are usually used for rug to carpet padding. This material does well for preventing the rug from bunching on the carpet but also not damaging the carpet beneath.

6. Considering Pad Thickness And Density

The thicker pad is not always the best rug padding. It can be even worse for your home. Thick paddings are not durable and will also cause installation problems. Most retailers know the padding thickness you need. Mostly carpets call for 7/16″ pad.

The pad’s density is mostly measured in pounds, but sometimes you’ll see it listed in ounces. The range for ounces isn’t as straightforward because you usually only see it listed with fiber or rubbers pads, and these have completely different durability properties. Don’t confuse yourself trying to convert ounces to pounds or vice versa. Pounds and ounces, in this case, are entirely different measurements and can’t be compared directly.

7. Other Tips

  1. Always buy new carpeting and cushions together: never combine old and new items or reap all the benefits.
  2. The only way to know which carpet padding is best for you is to test them out yourself: Go to the store and touch them, walk on them, see if they are the ones you want.
  3. Always consult the manufacturer or other professionals to know which cushion will work best for your particular carpeting and its location.
  4. Don’t skimp: if you’re going to spend all that money on plush floor coverings, make sure you invest in their protection and underlying comfort.
  5. Have it installed correctly: Carpeting requires trained installation for the proper stretching, stapling, and smoothness. Therefore, the same should be done for your cushions as well.

I hope that I helped you in your quest to find a perfect rug padding. If you think that I missed any important and key points, I would love to hear from you. Feel free to get back to me in the comments section below.

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