Finding the right rug pad to adequately tether your area rug to the floor is important. Why is this the case? When placing an area rug on a slick surface like linoleum, ceramic tile or hardwood, they have a tendency to move and shift under your feet. This can cause a fall risk, especially for children or the elderly, and the last thing you want is a serious accident inside your home. In addition, rug pads can keep your area rug from bunching up, which will help to extend it’s useful life and avoid unsightly creases.
Yet, picking out the right type of rug pad isn’t always easy, as there are many different types available on the market today. Each one has specific advantages, but some have detrimental qualities as well which must be addressed. Further, if you want an eco-friendly option, then you must educate yourself on the various choices, as some are better for the environment than others. Currently, your available material options are PVC, natural rubber, felt or a combination of rubber and felt. So, to help you learn the specific characteristics of each of these types, let’s look at them in more depth below.
PVC Rug Pads
Pads made from this material are widely available, as it is typically the cheapest alternative. While saving money on your rug pad purchase may be a factor in your decision, there are a few reasons that it is so economical. Unfortunately, low quality PVC is not eco-friendly, due to one factor in particular. What is this? Cheap PVC is often not truly PVC at all, but a soybean based product which requires additional chemicals to stabilize its molecular structure. This process involves the addition of plasticizing agents – which are not truly safe to use on your hardwood floors. How so?
Low-end PVC rug pads which have had plasticizers added into their makeup, have a tendency to stain your hardwood floor’s finish. The substances within the pad can interact with the coating on the hardwood, and these can result in a yellowed or discolored spot on your beautiful floor. For this reason, cheap PVC rug pads aren’t a good choice, if you have high quality hardwood flooring that you want to protect. You certainly don’t want to harm the polyurethane coating on your floors, which can be difficult and expensive to repair.
However, there is also a second drawback of cut-rate PVC pads, as they aren’t an eco-friendly choice. Due to the manufacturing process, these items use a significant amount of fossil fuels in their production. This means that they can contribute to harmful emissions into the atmosphere and they rely upon a non-renewable resource as well. In fact, the EPA has recognized this fact, and it recommends that PVC rug pads be avoided in federal buildings whenever possible.
Rubber Rug Pads
A more environmentally responsible choice is a natural rubber rug pad, which is made from rubber trees. This is an endlessly renewable material, which is far better for the planet than PVC products. How is it made? The sap from rubber trees is collected and formed into rubber, and this process uses a small amount of fossil fuels to complete. Rubber trees are predominantly found in the southeast Pacific region, making transportation the only major concern when it comes to the environment. As fuel to carry the raw material on a ship or truck is petroleum based, this can be the primary impact of rubber rug pads on the environment.
Keep in mind, that rubber rug pads require nearly no chemicals to produce, making them a good addition to your home. If you want to minimize the number of chemicals that you introduce into your interior living space, then natural rubber is a viable choice. Also, some versions are synthetically made today, so it is important to look closely at the label if you want to use a natural option.
Felt Rug Pads
This type of pad is popular for larger area rugs, as it provides a medium amount of traction. Larger rugs have more surface area, and are therefore less likely to shift when people walk upon them – so a moderate amount of grip is sufficient. Felt has a few positive features, including more padding than any other option. If you are concerned with the amount of cushioning under your rug, then felt is the best choice. Yet, certain types of felt contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which you may want to avoid, as these aren’t good for your health.
Felt and Rubber
A combination of both felt and rubber is also available, and this gives you the benefits of each material in a single product. You’ll get the additional padding which felt provides, along with the eco-friendly properties of natural rubber. Be careful though, as many combination pads use synthetic rubber instead, to reduce the overall cost.
Also, if you want to place your area rug upon carpet, a combination pad is an ideal solution. Why? By turning it upside down so that the rubber portion is touching the are rug and the felt side is facing the carpet, you’ll get superior traction. The felt will firmly hold your rug in place against the carpet, and you’ll be able to keep it from constantly moving.
In summary, the process of choosing the correct rug pad for your needs can be involved. Fortunately, the information just covered above will give you the facts that you need to make the best purchase for your situation. Cheap PVC pads have a number of negative features, including a higher impact on the environment and the risk of damaging your hardwood floor. In contrast, if you value the environment and want to maintain a healthy home with a low chemical content, then natural rubber or combination pads are likely the best fit. They won’t stain your hardwood floor’s finish or bring harmful VOC’s into your home, which are benefits that bear careful consideration. So, if you are in the market for a rug pad, why not anchor your area rug with a natural rubber product – to create a safe and healthy home for you to enjoy?
Finding the right rug pad to adequately tether your area rug to the floor is important. Why is this the case? When placi...