Non-slip, cushioned, latex or cotton rug pads serve a very important function while staying safely tucked away from sight. But you may have noticed that they can sometimes be more expensive than the colorful area rug you've chosen that fits perfectly in your room and suits your style.
Good rug pads do a few things. They keep a firm footing beneath area rugs so you don't slip while holding the morning paper and coffee. They also provide a soft cushion beneath your feet. The extra layer protects the floor beneath the rug and reduces wear in high traffic areas. Although they serve several functions, you shouldn't have to pay a lot for a good rug pad. There are a few alternatives to expensive rug pads that will keep your original flooring in pristine shape, give your area rug a bit of cushion and keep it from slipping out from under your feet.
Why Rug Pads Work
While it may seem the rug is protecting the floor underneath, it actually can cause some damage. Dirt and grime can collect beneath the fibers of your rug, whether it is closely woven or loose knit. These tiny little fragments of fibers and filth can create small abrasions that scratch hardwood flooring and some tile. They also wear down the carpet you are attempting to protect. Additionally, a pad will help to keep the dye from a rug from staining the underlying carpet. If you have a spill, a pad can control the damage somewhat by preventing the contents from seeping through the area rug and onto the flooring beneath. A pad can also cut down on noise and echo levels in a large room.
Cut-Rate Cushy Pads
A felt pad can run a few hundred dollars. Felt pads online will run about $70 for a 5' x 8' pad at ¼ inch thickness. However, you can cut that price by a third if you make your own. Many of the big box home improvement stores sell non-slip rug padding and cushy felt pads by the yard. These can keep your rug from bunching up and slipping. Cut these pads one inch smaller than the size of your rug to keep it from peeking out and spoiling the look.
DIY Basic Non-Slip Solutions
Carpet tape and tacks meant to keep your rug in place can mess up your floor and typically do not last beyond a few cleanings. A simple DIY fix to a runaway rug is to put a bead of 100 percent silicone caulking around the underside of the rug. Check a corner first before tackling the entire rug to be sure it doesn't damage the rug. Use a putty knife to smooth the rope of caulking so that it has a more even surface when you flip it over. This can also help keep edges from curling ever so slightly and toes from catching on the upturned corners.
Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years of experience writing for a variety of clients, including The New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal Home section and other national publications. As a professional writer she has researched, interviewed sources and written about home improvement, interior design and related business trends. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Her full bio and clips can be viewed at www.vegaswriter.com.