If you already have a pad and are having problems keeping your rug in place, click here.
padding underneath your rugs will...
1 Prolong the life of your rug. Thick padding will help level peaks and valleys from uneven floor boards as well as wires routed underneath rugs. This will prevent premature localized wear from traffic over higher areas. One of the most harmful elements for an Oriental Rug is grit. Raising your carpet above floor level helps prevent dirt from entering underneath the rug and becoming abrasive.
2 Protect your floors. After several years, a rug without an underlining (or a poor quality underlining) can prevent your floor from breathing, which may oxidize varnish on hardwood.
3 Keep your carpet in place! A carpet which moves around is far more susceptible to damage. A carpet with padding will not only shift around less (easier for vacuuming), but add cushion, therefore making the rug more comfortable!
Types of Padding and Non-Skid (See bottom of page for tips on deciding what pad is right for you)
Carpet to Hard floor
This type of pad is often thicker with heavy gauge rubber stamped with treads. Specifically, these pads provide both cushion and high traction. The rubber part goes to the floor, while the grooved / rough side goes to the back of the carpet. This type of padding used to be made with jute, however recycled fibers have since replaced this. By far the best product on the market. Expect padding like this to be in the $10-24 linear ft. range* (depending on quality and custom cutting) and to last anywhere from 8-12 years depending on conditions. If you have radiant heat, double check with your floor people if this padding works for you. Both pads featured below have very heavy duty lining and must be cut with a professional grade carpet knife. Standard width come in 12ft. wide rolls. Some of these pads may be reversible for carpet to carpet applications, ask your seller for details.
Below is the reverse side a high quality combination non-skid and pad. The photograph on the left is the rubber side of the pad which goes against the floor. Note the aggressive hexagon treads which provide superior traction. The photograph on the right is the same padding (the side which goes against your carpet). One of the nicer aspects of this higher quality pad are the "peaks and valleys" which can be seen going diagonally from lower left to upper right. These three purposes: first they provide traction for your carpet to the pad. Secondly, they help trap grit to keep it away from the back of the carpet which can be very abrasive. Lastly, they also increase the cushion of the rug. This padding is approximately 1/4" thick and expect to pay around $18-24 a linear foot* depending on location and need for a custom cut. Do note, some internet vendors provide lower prices, although you will have to trim the padding yourself. This can may be difficult without proper carpet knife, large straight edge, hard cement flooring and of course, space. These pads are meant to be sized with very sharp knives, and need to have clean, straight cuts.
Photographed below is a lesser quality combination non-skid and pad. Note the left photo of the back of the pad or the "tread", which is not as sharp or defined as the pad above. The photograph on the right is what faces your carpet. Notice the surface is flat as the material has not been formed for any reason other than providing cushion. This padding is approximately 3/16" thick. Expect to pay around $10-15 per linear foot.* Do note, some internet vendors provide lower prices, although you will have to trim the padding yourself. This can may be difficult without proper carpet knife, large straight edge, hard cement flooring and of course, space. These pads are meant to be sized with very sharp knives, and need to have clean, straight cuts.
This is a thicker type of pad, however much softer than the above mentioned. This type of padding is usually not used for oriental rugs, rather wall-to-wall, however is a safe alternative if you have radiant heat. It is suggested you have this rather than nothing, however keep in mind there is no traction on the back - so it is best used with heavy furniture to help keep things in place. Expect to pay somewhere in the range of $3-8 per linear foot* (depending on quality and custom cutting) and to last upwards of 12 years depending on conditions. This is a heavy duty lining which needs a carpet knife for clean-cuts. Comes in 12 and 6ft. wide rolls.
This is the type of underlining which serves one purpose: non-skid only. This will provide minimum cushion, however provide outstanding traction. This is ideal for thin rugs which need to settle close to the floor. If door clearance is an issue for a hallway runner or bedroom rug, this thinner lining is the way to go. Be cautious for inexpensive brands, as this type of padding (rubber on front and reverse) has been known to bond to the back of rugs if not replaced in a timely fashion. Expect this type of lining to be found in the $ .75 to $1.25 per square foot* (depending on quality) price range, and be prepared to cut it yourself with regular kitchen scissors. This padding will last upwards of 4-6 years depending on conditions. These linings come pre-folded and individually packaged.
Below photographs show two typical types of waffle pads. These are about 1/16" thick and provide minimal cushion. Note the darker areas are actually holes which both lighten the material and allow your carpet to breathe.
Carpet to Carpet
This is usually a thin felt sheet not more than 1/8th of an inch thick. Sticky on both sides, it helps keep an oriental rug in place on top of wall to wall carpeting. Be cautious! should you decide to change the location of your rug, this adhesive may not come off easily! These usually go for about $.50 - $1.25 per square foot*, and come pre-folded and packaged.
Tips on deciding what pad to purchase:
1. Make sure the padding is intended for the area you need it (e.g. carpet to hardwood, carpet to carpet)
2. Decide on how soft you want your rug to feel under your feet. Thicker padding equals more cushion...
3. Double check clearances! You don't want your pad to prevent a hallway door from being opened. A padding will add height to your Oriental Rug.
How to Prepare your Padding for your rug
All padding must be custom cut to the shape and size of your rug. Make sure the length and width of the pad is slightly smaller than the carpet itself by approximately 1.5" all around. The easiest way to do this is measure the rug excluding fringe, and cut three inches off of the width, and three inches off of the length creating 1.5" overlap all around. This is done for two reasons. First, after several years of use, the padding may stretch and flatten from use. Secondly, if you cut the padding the same size of the rug, the carpet will not over hang the pad for proper settling. The carpet needs to have the upper hand in break in. Conversely, if the padding is cut too small, the height of the padding (where it starts) under the rug will make it more susceptible to premature wear as this will create a peak.
*Prices are estimated for consumer guidance, not actual prices. Linear footage is based on width of the pad. if you purchase an 8x10 padding from a 12' wide roll, expect to pay for an 8'x12' piece: e.g. Sellers normally cut 8' in, and then reduce the piece to correct 10' length. Square footage price is per square foot.