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Do rug pads damage hardwood floors?

Do rug pads damage hardwood floors?

There is no doubt that rug pads are an absolute necessity at home.

You definitely need one to protect the floor as well as to keep the area rug or carpet and furniture from sliding.

Unfortunately, not all rug pads are meant for hardwood floors.

In the market today, there are many cheap and inferior-quality rug pads that can cause severe damage to your hardwood floor.

For instance, rug pads that are coated with adhesives in order to enhance their grip on the floor may seriously damage a newly refinished wood floor. Other types of pads may leave unsightly discoloration marks and stains on the floor.

The good thing is that there are different types of rug pads. So you should carefully choose one that is safe for your floor.

Let’s look at the different types and see which one is best suited for hardwood floors.

Do rug pads damage hardwood floors?

Some rug pads can damage hardwood floors, specifically rug pads made from plastic. Rug pads made from natural materials like rubber will not damage hardwood. Additionally, rug pads made from felt won’t damage your hardwood floor. However, a plastic rug pad will scratch and mark hardwood floors. It might also have a toxic adhesive backing that stains your floor. 

In order to comprehensively answer this question, we need to first understand the different types of rug pads and whether or not they are safe to use on hardwood floors.

Types of rug pads

Rug pads can be classified into different types based on the material they are made of and their density. Most are made of memory foam, felt, rubber, jute, or hair.

1. Natural rubber pads

Natural rubber rug pads are a better alternative to the popular plastic and PVC padding for area rugs.

Do rug pads damage hardwood floors

This is because they have a firm grip but do not stick to the floor. This makes them safer to use on most floor finishes including hardwood floors since they do not stain, strip, or discolor the floor.

Most importantly, natural rubber rug pads do not contain plasticizers that are a health risk to humans and pets.

2. Felt rug pads

Felt rug pads are recognized as the safest for hardwood and laminate floors.

Felt rug pads

This is attributed to the fact that they are soft and have thick durable cushioning.

The cushioning provides a protective layer to the floor against damage from the carpet and scratches from furniture legs.

The softness of the felt pads also prevents abrasions on the hardwood floor from the rough backings of the carpet.

Moreover, these types of pads provide a cushier feeling under your feet. They also soundproof your house, which good for your neighbors especially when you live in an apartment.

3. Plastic rug pads

Plastic rug pads are more affordable than natural rubber and felt rug pads.

However, their major drawback is that they don’t work well with most flooring and especially hardwood floors.

They tend to be too thin such that they don’t offer much cushioning to protect the floor.

In addition, most plastic rug pads are coated with adhesive so that they can have a firmer grip on the floor. This adhesive backing tends to stick on the floor, which damages it and leaves stains and discoloration marks.

Moreover, these rug pads contain toxic chemicals like Phthalates that could be harmful to people living in the house and the environment.

See also: Best floor adhesive remover

Do I need a rug pad on hardwood floors?  

Do I need a rug pad on hardwood floors

Of course, you do need a rug pad for your hardwood floor.

The rug pad will help to protect the floor from being pressed against by the carpet and prevent it from being scratched by furniture.

Also, hardwood floors tend to be quite slippery such that a rug or carpet may not stay in place and people might slip and fall. Thus, placing a rug pad will provide a non-slip surface so that the carpet doesn’t move and make the floor safe.

You will also enjoy the extra soft cushioning under your feet, which is very comfortable to walk on.

Moreover, hardwood floor tends to transmit sound easily so placing a rug pad minimizes noise on the floor. If you live in an apartment, the neighbor below will thank you for this.

See also: Best chair mat for thick and high pile carpet

What kind of rug pads damage hardwood floors?

Rugs pads are meant to provide a protective layer for your hardwood floor.

However, hardwood floors tend to be very vulnerable to scratches, stains, and strips. Thus, you need to choose the rug pads very carefully.

As we earlier noted, plastic rug pads are the worst to use on the hardwood floor.

Most of them lack a non-slip backing so they move a lot on the floor and leave scratches behind.

On the other hand, the plastic pads with adhesive backing tend to stick on the floor instead of gripping, which causes unsightly marks and stains.

Moreover, they contain toxic chemicals that often stain and ruin the hardwood floor finishing. Even worse, the chemicals are harmful to human beings and pets.

See also: How to prevent area rug from moving on carpet

What kind of rug pad is safe for hardwood floors?

Natural Rubber Rug Pad

By now you have an idea of what type of rug pad is the best for hardwood floors.

There is no doubt that felt and natural rubber rug pads have little to no effect on wood or laminate floors.

Natural rubber pads for instance do not have any adhesive yet they have a firm grip on the floor and do not stick. For this reason, they do not stain or damage hardwood floors.

A perfect example of a natural rubber rug pad is this RUGPADUSA Super Lock Rug Pad that is designed to protect hardwood and laminate floors. It doesn’t stain your floor and has a very firm grip without sticking.

Felt rugs pads as we talked about earlier are also safe for hardwood floors. They provide a thick cushion for your carpet and furniture in order to protect the floor. Felt also does not stick to the floor or stain it.

100% Felt Rug Pad

This RUGPADUSA 100% felt rug pads come highly rated for nearly all floors and finishes including hardwood. The felt is very dense and thick so it provides a durable cushioning to protect the floor from scratches and adds extra comfortable under the carpet without extra bulkiness.

A combination of felt and natural rubber also produces a rug pad that does not stick on the floor; hence, very safe to use on hardwood floors.

For instance, this Mohawk Home Felt Rubber is slip-resistant with a rubber backing that enhances its grip on the floor and a fiber top side that grips the rug to ensure it stays in place.

Felt Rubber Rug Pad

See also: Best entry mats for hardwood floor


A rug pad makes a big difference under your area rug or carpet to keep it in place. It also helps to protect the floor from damage caused by sliding furniture.

But, do rug pads damage hardwood floors? From the above discussion, we have seen that only plastic rug pads have the possibility to damage your hardwood floor. This is because they tend to slip on the floor and cause scratches and some have adhesive backing that sticks on the floor and leaves marks and stains.

The most appropriate rugs pads for hardwood floors are those made of natural rubber, felt, or a combination of the two. See some of the examples we have given above.