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Selecting the Right Area Rug for Your Hardwood Floors

Posted by Aaron Schaalma on May 29, 2015

selecting the right area rug for your hardwood floors

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There are many reasons to purchase an area rug when you have hardwood flooring. Aside from the obvious benefits of keeping your floors looking healthy and spectacular, there’s also the practical benefit of the area rug providing comfort and cushion for you on the hard surface. The most important reason for using an area rug, though, is that it is a great way to add character and extra color to any room! Review these tips for selecting the perfect area rug that will be best for your hardwood floor.

Non-Staining

One of the most important things to look for in an area rug is making sure it is non-staining. For a rug to be non-staining, the color or dyes contained in the rug will not run or bleed through onto your hardwood floors when they become damp. In most cases, the rug’s manufacturer will put a warning on the rug that indicates that the color may run through the rug if it is wet, so it is extremely important to read the label before purchasing any area rug for your floor.

Fabric/Material

Wool has been the staple for rugs for decades and, to this day, still is because it is the best fiber for rugs due to its long lasting durability. Additionally, the back of the rug is equally important because that is the part that will touch the nice hardwood floor. The worst kind of backing for your floor would be a rug with a latex backing. Latex does not allow for circulation, and it will trap moisture or gases that will warp your hardwood floor and ruin the finish. The rug you choose should be breathable. A rug with a woven backing is most ideal because it allows for airflow.

Different Rugs for Different Needs

One of the most popular uses of an area rug on a hardwood floor is for protection from furniture scratches, UV rays or sunlight that will change your floor’s color, or other situations that could cause damage. In addition area rugs can also protect your floor from dust and debris that is brought in from the outside. However, you will want to make sure you clean these rugs regularly because the dirt can make its way underneath your rug and scratch your beautiful hardwood floor. During the winter months, your rug will protect your floor from snow and moisture if you clean and dry your rug on a regular basis.

Consequences of Using an Area Rug

It is true that area rugs can protect your floor and make your room look spectacular, but one unforeseen consequence of using an area rug is the marks left behind over years of sunlight exposure. Depending on the amount of sunlight exposure and the type of wood and finish of your floor, you will see marks left behind.

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In this photo, this maple floor had a rug over it for 10 years, and because maple changes so much over time due to UV rays, there is still evidence (the darker toned is significantly noticeable) where the rug was versus where the maple floor was exposed.

Area Rug Pads – Yay or Nay?

Some area rugs come with a backing that already holds the rug in place on your floor, so you may think you don’t need an area rug pad. But, most times, these backings still don’t offer enough support for the rug, and it will begin to slide around on your floor and cause damage. This may indicate that you need a rug pad, but there are a few things to consider before you purchase rug pads:

  • Verify your floor’s factory hardwood type. While a large percentage of hardwood floors are finished with polyurethane, floor trends are starting to shift towards acrylic, lacquered or luxury vinyl. If you have a one of the three latter types, avoid plastic or PVC rug pads, which will, more often than not, have negative results on finishes that aren’t polyurethane.

  • There are rugs pads you should look for. Felt and natural rubber rug pads offer great cushioning and they ensure your rug won’t slip around on your floor. Felt can be great for cushioning, but felt pads don’t work well for smaller rugs because they won’t have the same gripping strength as natural rubber pads. Natural rubber pads have excellent longevity and the best gripping strength, and they are safe to use on any type of floor or finish.

  • Rug pads you should avoid at all costs. Any rug pad that has adhesives will hold your rug in place, but these pads are terrible for your floors. Additionally, PVC or plastic pads can ruin your hardwood floors from discoloration. Lastly, avoid synthetic rubber pads, but they can and will leave marks on your wood that will require sanding and resealing to restore your floors back to their original beauty.

Selecting the right area rug will maintain your amazing hardwood floors and make your home look great, but there can be some consequences with selecting a rug to cover your floors When you are choosing your rug, keep these tips in mind and your floors will continue looking liking new.


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