Finding that perfect rug for your home or office can feel like the end of the rug buying process, but it is important to never forget pad for your rug and floor below it. The right kind of pad will help to keep your rug looking great, keep it from slipping on your floors, and even protect the floors themselves. The important question to ask is “What is the right pad for my needs?” Here are a few tips, straight from the professionals at Serafian’s.
1 – Always Use Natural Rubber
A lot of pads in the marketplace use a synthetic rubber. This is less expensive to produce and can cost a little less, but unfortunately, these pads can have some unintended consequences on your floors. With time, pressure, and heat, these synthetic rubber pads can “sweat” a sort of oil that can stain your floor beneath the pads. They can even chemically bond to some floor finishes, leaving a huge difficult mess to clean after they are removed. For these reasons, we always recommend using natural rubber pads. If you are uncertain which your pad uses, consult a professional.
2 – “Sticky” pads can work for wall to wall carpet, but can leave a difficult to clean residue
Certain pads are designed with a “Sticky” glue that will help them keep a rug from moving. These are designed specifically for carpet and can quickly and easily cause damage to hard surface floors. However, it is important to keep in mind that these pads can leave a sticky residue on your wall to wall that once removed can attract dirt and dust. Professional carpet cleaning could be needed to remove this residue from both your wall to wall carpet and the back of your oriental. As long as this doesn’t bother you, “Sticky” pads can work well for your floors.
3 – A pad should be cut to be a little inside the measurements of your rug
Over time, pads tend to stretch out a little. As such, it is a good practice to cut any pad a little smaller than your rug. We recommend at least 1 inch inside the measurement of the rug around all sides.
4 – “Solid” pads provide much better protection than “Waffle” pads
One of the main reasons to have a pad under your rug is to protect the floor beneath it and unfortunately the “Waffle” style pads with holes in the construction just don’t provide that protection. With time, dirt will work its way through your rug and grind away at the floor underneath. A “Solid’ pad constructed with no holes will prevent this from happening. A waffle pad will allow that dirt to grind away at the floor and can even ultimately sand the surface of your floor, leading to expensive floor refinishing.
5 – Never ever use horsehair pads
Horsehair pads are almost never used in the modern rug industry, so there is little risk of coming across one these days. However, if you happen across one, it is best to throw it in the garbage before using it on your floor. Originally touted for their long life span, horsehair pads have the unique problem that they attract moths. Once infested, these pads can cause years of headaches trying to eliminate the moths. For this reason, we recommend never using a horsehair pad.
6 – The pads designed to be used under your wall to wall carpet won’t work for your rugs
A lot of folks think that the rugs pads that are used under wall to wall carpets are just as effective for your oriental rugs. Unfortunately, their construction is too soft for oriental rugs. The squishiness of these pads can cause the foundation of your rug to stretch and even possibly tear. A more robust and stiff pad is ideal for your rug.
7 – All pads eventually wear out and need to be replaced
Most pads are made to last 4 to 5 years. Some of the best pads in the marketplace will last closer to 10 years, but eventually, all pads need to be replaced. As a rule of thumb, when your pad starts loose its gripping power, it is time. Occasionally look at the underside of your rug, if you can clearly see the rubber on your pad becoming a fine powder, your pad has aged enough, and a replacement might be necessary.
8 – If your rug is going under furniture, a thinner pad works better also, use furniture cups and even possibly put tile under your pad
The weight of furniture can cause the foundation of your rug to stretch and become uneven over time. If the furniture is heavy enough it can even punch holes in your rug. With this in mind, when furniture is going on top of your rug, we recommend a thinner pad for under it. An important side note, even with a good pad underneath, it can be necessary to use furniture cups to help distribute the weight of your furniture into the rug. Also, it may sound a little strange, but if your rug is on a wall to wall carpet, we often recommend setting small tiles (say 4”x 4”) between the floor and pad beneath the legs of your furniture. This will create a more solid foundation for your rug, helping to prevent the foundation from stretching due to the weight of the furniture.
9 – If you have a tile floor, a thicker pad is better for your rug
The grout lines in tile can eventually cause your rug to wear unevenly. With time, you will even begin to see the line of the tile wear into the body of your rug. This is best prevented with a pad that is a little thicker and less prone to settling into these lines. If you have both heavy furniture and tile, talk to a rug professional to find out which pad is right for your situation. In those cases we generally recommend the thicker pad, but it is important to factor in all the variables of your particular space before deciding which is right for you.
10 – Radiant heat floors can affect the life span of your pad and even cause some pads to stick to your floor
While very energy efficient, radiant heat floors will cut the lifespan of a rug pad down to about half of normal. If possible, turn the heat down a little. Even a few degrees will help your pad to last longer. Fortunately, the rug itself will help to insulate your home more, reducing the need to set the temperature higher. Also, it is very important is the case of radiant heat floors to use exclusively natural rubber as the synthetic we talked about earlier will be very prone to reacting to the heat from your floor.
By: Matt Gabel
Matt Gabel is the Retail Manager at Serafian’s Oriental Rugs. He has been working closely with rugs for over 25 years. Serafian’s offers free pick up and delivery in the Albuquerque metro area. For more information, call (505) 504-RUGS or go to serafians.com