Area rugs can have many uses in your room. They can add great texture to your room when used over hardwood floors. Rug padding, whichever one you chose, helps keep the area rug in place, not allowing them to bunch up preventing ventilation under the carpet. This air movement helps prevent mildew from forming under your area rug.
The first thing you need to do is determine which pad, if any, you need to use. Pads for area rugs comes in many types and have many uses. Some of the available pads are gripping pads that don’t let the rug skid, felt for extra softness (in some areas felt can make a rug slide or move around unless you have a heavy piece of furniture on it), polyurethane, or sponge rubber. Polyurethane and sponge rubber are the least used. Sponge rubber can leave marks on the hardwood floor and polyurethane can decrease the airflow under the floor causing possible damage to the hardwood floor. Each of these pads has a use and reason for this use.
Gripping pads are popular for many reasons. They are very thin and give no additional cushioning to the area rug. The rug should be very dense to make up for this type of pad. The pad has a waffle pattern with lots of holes. The surface of this pad has a lot of grip and will keep area rugs in place. In low traffic areas, this pad is very useful for a thin silk or similar area rug since a thicker pad would cause the rug to move around and present a tripping hazard as well as not allow the thin rug to lie properly on the hardwood floor.
The second thing to think about is what room will be best for the different types of rugs. Will your rug go into a Bedroom, Family Room, or what purpose will it serve in your decorating plan. All these decisions make a difference as to what size will work best for you in a particular area. This decision also will help you know which pad is best for this area as well as what size rug or rugs you want to use.
Consumers using silk rugs have a tendency to place them areas of high traffic and soil buildup. Unlike most area rugs, silk rugs cannot be steam cleaned because of the delicate silk. The texture can become distorted and the fiber water damaged from the cleaning. They can only be cleaned with a special dry cleaning solvent by hand. This process will not remove the heavy soils and stains that occur in a high traffic or soil area. After a relatively short period of time you will have a very expensive area rug that will not look very good. If you still want to place a silk rug in these areas, it is recommended that it be solvent cleaned every 3 months and to turn it to change the traffic pattern. This will expand the pretty part of its life. NEVER place it by your front door. The rain or snow moisture will permanently damage the silk. Wherever you place it, a thin gripping pad under it will keep it from sliding and help slow down the wearing of the silk.
If you are placing a rug in your Family Room, Great Room, or any large area, using one large area rug might just be what you might need. The only alternative is if in a very large room you might have several distinct seating areas. In this type of decorating, you would use several smaller rugs to tie in your area. If the area rug is thick, you should place a felt carpet pad under it to give a softer feel on the hardwood floor and protect it from foot impact that happens every time you step on the rug as well as hardwood floor damage from the weight of heavy furniture.
Some Bedrooms also have hardwood floors. If you want to use area rugs in bedrooms here are a few suggestions. In an average size bedroom a smaller area rug can be placed on either side of the bed and possibly at the foot of the bed, depending on the layout of your other furniture. If you have a large heirloom area rug that Grandma gave you, it can be equally spaced under the bed and extend out on all three exposed sides of the bed, again depending on the size of the room and placement of your other furniture. The type of pad you use for Grandmas’ rug depends on the rugs thickness and its condition.
Your Master Bedroom can be a decorating challenge. Like any other large room there are several options. Grandma’s large heirloom rug can go under the bed or be a focal point in any room. This also depends on the size of the area rug. Any area rug can be placed on either side of the bed and another can be placed in the center of your seating area, should your master bedroom have one. Depending on the thickness and condition of the rug determines if you use a thin waffle gripping pad or thicker felt pad over the hardwood floor.
Most area rugs can be steam cleaned for maximum results. Just be sure that your cleaner uses a low moisture, quick dry method so the backing doesn’t get wet. Properly cleaned, this should never happen and is a very safe and effective method to have the area rug cleaned on top of your hardwood floors. After the rug is cleaned, turn a corner over and be sure it is dry. It always should be.
One last note, a little off the immediate subject. Area rugs can be used over wall to wall installed carpet for decorative effect. The carpet acts as your pad. If it happens to move around, place the hook side of Velcro on the back of the area rug and the carpet acts as the soft side. The carpet shouldn’t move around and is easily removed with no damage to either carpet.
I hope you enjoyed this article you understand some of what you need to know about placing area rugs on hardwood floors.