December 17, 2020

Are Rug Pads a Waste of Money? 

Vintage Persian rugs on an antique pine floor

Rug pads. You know they exist, but are they really necessary?

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably just invested in a new-to-you rug. Congratulations! Vintage and antique carpets are special, and once you’ve found the one, you will want to do everything you can to treat it right, from rotating it every few months to avoid uneven wear to spot cleaning with clear baby shampoo. While generally low maintenance, it’s important to understand how to care for your one-of-a-kind piece. 

As you might have guessed by now, no, we do not think that rug pads are a waste of money. In fact, using the right rug pad with your vintage rug is necessary. In today’s post, we’re talking about the benefits of rug pads and sharing a few rug pad recommendations that will help you protect that gorgeous new investment. 

Benefits of Rug Pads 

First things first, rug pads help prevent rugs from sliding around on the floor, and this is especially important if your rug sits on hardwood or tile. Adding a non-slip layer underneath your rug can help prevent slips or falls because your rug is less likely to slide around. 

Aside from the obvious safety benefits, using a rug pad will actually help protect the longevity of your rug! Think about it –– if your favorite wool sweater was laid out on the floor in your hallway, you’d probably slip on it. You’d also probably ruin your sweater. Yes, rugs are more durable than a sweater, but the friction caused by rubbing against the surface beneath it would wear away at the surface over time and lead to tears or holes. Yikes! In true win-win fashion, rug pads also help protect the floor surface beneath the rug, shielding it from dust and other particles. 

Another ancillary benefit that’s especially helpful for condo or apartment-dwellers is that a rug pad adds an extra layer between your floor and your neighbors’ ceiling. Sound transfer is a complex challenge and a rug pad (or rug, for that matter) is not going to be an end-all fix, but it can help dampen echos and impact-related noises like walking. 

Large Turkish rug in a loft-style living room

What Kind of Rug Pad Do I Need? 

When you’re ready to buy a rug pad, there are a few things to consider. It’s of course essential to order one that’s the right size. Vintage rugs don’t often come in the more “standard” sizes that new rugs do. Let’s say you’ve found your dream rug at District Loom –– like Atlas, which measures 8’9”x11’10”. It’s bigger than an 8x10, but smaller than a 9x12. 

Your rug pad should ultimately be an inch or two shorter than the rug on all sides, which is tough when your rug is a non-standard size. Using a too-small rug pad would also be a bad choice, since the edges of your carpet would stay slippery. Luckily, most rug pads are designed to be trimmed! We recommend going slightly larger than you need so that you can trim your rug pad to the exact size you need. Think of it as the cheapest custom piece you’ll ever buy for your home. 

As for the materials, there are both synthetic and natural options, and the materials you choose will also depend on what surface your rug will rest on (carpet, hardwood, or tile). One side is usually designed to grip the floor, and the other side is usually made from felt or something more cushioned. 

We recommend a rug pad like this one, which comes in a variety of sizes and is relatively affordable. Rug pads do need to be replaced every few years, so affordability is not a bad thing here. 

Don’t Buy These

The thin, honeycomb pattern mats –– usually the cheapest option, like these –– are a no-go. They’ve been known to leave a residue on the floor below your rug, and can actually do more harm than good. 

The vintage Persian and Turkish rugs we sell at District Loom are generally low pile. We recommend steering clear of overly cushioned or thick rug pads, as these can actually turn your rug into a tripping hazard. Kind of the opposite of rug safety, right? 

Is there a topic you’d like to read about in a future journal entry? Let us know in the comments below, or send us a dm on Instagram!



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