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How to stop Area Rugs from Moving Around

Updated on August 25, 2011

Different Types of Under Pad For Area Rugs

There are many options for area rug pad depending on your flooring type.
There are many options for area rug pad depending on your flooring type. | Source

Why You Need Rug Pad

When you buy an area rug it is because you need one to protect your floor and add colour or texture to your home. You invest in a rug and your floor, a rug pad helps protect both investments.

A rug pad adds a protective barrier between your rug and floor, keeps your rug from sliding and bunching up, and helps your rug last longer. There are many options of area rug pad for all flooring types.

When you are purchasing a new area rug also ask about getting pad as well. It is better to get them at the same place so you aren't having to run all over town looking for it.

Area Rug With No Under Pad

Area rug runner on carpet without an underpad. Rug has stretched out of shape.
Area rug runner on carpet without an underpad. Rug has stretched out of shape.

How Do You Know You Need Rug Pad

When you have a large rug you may not think that you need a rug pad for it. Since it is heavy it doesn't move around, plus you have a couch or table on it, why waste money on the extra expense of a rug pad?

Every time you step and walk on your rug it is moving under your feet, not the whole rug just where you foot is. It is like walking on foam, the foam compresses where you step and your rug does the same. If your area rug has a stiff or rough backing every time you step on it is scratching your hard flooring. It will act like sandpaper and do damage to the finish on your floors.

When you have an area rug on carpet the compression is greater and your rug can stretch out of shape or ripple (it stretches in small patches where you walk the most).

Small rugs become a slipping hazard without proper rug pad to keep it in place.

To check if your rug will scratch your floor do the knuckle test. Make a fist and rub your knuckles over the back of your rug, if your knuckles get scratched so will your floor when your rug moves on it. The effect of a rough backing rug with no pad on a floor is like sandpaper, after awhile it will damage your floor.

Furniture on Area Rugs

There is a proper rug pad under all these rugs, even the rug on top of the runner.
There is a proper rug pad under all these rugs, even the rug on top of the runner.

Bad Remedies to Hold Rugs in Place

As with most things there are the quick fixes that will stop your rugs from moving around and tripping you.

The easiest is to put furniture on it. A Couch, coffee table, dining room table, TV Stand, etc. These anchor the the rug in place only where the furniture touches. The rest of the rug is free to move, compress and stretch and scratch your floor.

Using tape, duct or double sided, to adhere your rug down is simple and easy, but can leave an adhesive residue on your rug and floor and can be hard to remove. Plus the tape is only anchoring down the place where it is sticking allowing the rest of the rug to move around. Tape can also pull out wool fiber and fringes.

Carpet underlay is not good for area rugs either. It is too soft, not breathable, absorbs moisture, falls apart with heavy use. It is made to be used under wall to wall carpet, not area rugs.

Tacks and nails are not a good idea period. You are doing damage to your rug and mostly to your floor. Put the hammer down! and please use underpad.

Guide For Choosing The Correct Rug Pad

Area Size
Floor Type
Rug Pad
Small Rugs (4’x6’ and smaller) or Thin Rugs
Hard Flooring (Laminate, Tile, Stone, Wood)
Thin Non-Slip pad
Medium Rugs (4.5’x6.5 to 7’x10’)
Hard Flooring (Laminate, Tile, Stone, Wood)
Any Non-Slip Pad
Large Rugs (7.5’x10.5’ and up)
Hard Flooring (Laminate, Tile, Stone, Wood)
Any Non-Slip Pad or Thick Comfort Pad
Small Rugs (4’x6’ and smaller) or Thin Rugs
Sticky Carpet Pad
Medium Rugs (4.5’x6.5 to 7’x10’)
Sticky Carpet Pad or Thick Comfort Pad
Large Rugs (7.5’x10.5’ and up)
Thick Comfort Pad
This is just a suggestive guideline chart. Always ask your area rug dealer, rug cleaner or flooring specialist what rug pad will work best for your rug and floor

Tips on Rug Pad

Rug pad should be sized two inches smaller than all sides of your rug, not including fringes so that the rug doesn't stick up and cause a tripping hazard.

Buy a good quality rug pad, higher quality lasts longer.

Non-Slip pad can be hand washed in warm water and dish soap to make it re-grip when it gets dirty.

Area rugs were not meant to be on wall to wall carpet that is why there isn't a lot of choices for under pad.

There isn't anything that will completely stop a rug from moving around on carpet.

Not all rugs may need rug pad, but always check with a professional rug expert.

Heated floors can damage rug pad. Check with area rug professional for which pad is best for heated floors.

If your rug is near where a door opens, check the clearance between your rug and door. Rug pad adds thickness and can prevent your door from opening.


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    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Bubble rugs are one of the new qualities produced by Khanna Carpet. Fearturing superior wool and finest rug construction bubble rugs are very new and modern idea by our team of artisians.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      best handknotted rugs and carpets in india

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Handwoven or Flat weave rugs are contemperory area rugs with 80% wool and 20% cotton. Reinvent the way you use rugs in your home with our diverse collection of handwoven rugs. With rich colors and beautiful patterns handwoven rugs will add a splash of life to your floor. Handwoven rugs add visual interest to your home while still complementing any décor. Our Handwoven rugs are meticulously constructed by skilled craftsmen. Our high standard of design has been a constant for over 50 years of quality rug creation and holds true in these contemporary rugs.

    • Ruglovermary profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Victoria, BC

      Staples can work, but they are not always the best solution. Staples can make a pressure points on your rug and it can stretch causing permanent ripples or bumps.

      I am glad that they work for you and your dog can safely walk across your rugs.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I have a doberman pincher . I've used everything imaginable . The rugs don't stay put . I've resorted to long staples and they work great . Rugs have been in place for a few years .

    • profile image

      Dick Lowrie 

      7 years ago

      Most of rug walk is rug on top of rug. To hold the top rug in place, I take a strip of aluminum sheeting and punch 16d nail holes in it about one inch apart, but let the nail punch through only enough to upset the aluminum to make a sharp indentation. Then turn the sheet over and do the same on the other side, ending up with a sheet which is really rough on both sides. Put this under the rug that walks and it will walk no more. But not good for hard surface floors.

      No stains. No tapes. No weights. No harm done to either rug. Not available in stores. E mail me for a sample and pricing if interested. Or do it yourself.

    • Ruglovermary profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Victoria, BC

      Rug pads do make a huge difference. Thanks for reading my hub

    • windowwellcover profile image


      7 years ago from Germany

      interesting tip about carpet rug pads.

    • floors profile image


      7 years ago from United Kingdom

      Really informative article on rug pads. Admittedly in the past I'd opted for the one end under the sofa and double sided tape on the other corners. It works but the tape wears out when it gets dusty.

      Hadn't heard of rug pads before but I'll definitely look into one now.

    • Ruglovermary profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Victoria, BC

      Here in Victoria it is sold at Carpet retailers.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Where do you buy sticky carpet pads? Haven't seen them anywhere.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      great info on rug pads. Thanks RugLover Mary!


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