An area rug can only damage your hardwood floor if it doesn't have a proper rug pad underneath it.
Choosing a proper rug pad is as important as choosing a good area rug itself. Poor rug pads can scratch your floors and damage finishes, They could also transfer the color to the flooring, leading to discoloration or staining.
Good-quality pads can make vacuuming smooth, reduce wear-and-tear, and protect hardwood flooring.
The rug pad has many benefits. For starters, it prevents the area rug from slipping by holding it in place. It also absorbs most of the shock from foot traffic, preventing the fibers from being crushed and adding to the rug’s longevity. A rug pad also prevents grime and dirt from accumulating under the rug. A waterproof rug pad can also protect the hardwood against spills.
Adding a rug pad under an area rug also increases the thickness of the area rug, giving it a comfortable plush feeling.
How to choose the right rug pads.
You can choose different types of rug-padding material to protect your floors. You can select from one of the following: polyvinyl-based pad, natural-rubber pad, synthetic-latex pad, felt pad, and felt-rubber hybrid pad.
Make sure you choose a rug pad based on the texture and thickness of the rug. A braided cotton area rug may need only a thin pad to protect the wood floor and prevent slipping. On the other hand, a wool rug can scratch the floor, and a thick rug pad of natural or felt rubber will help prevent this.
Natural-fiber rugs don't have a cushion underfoot, so they require natural rubber pads or thick felt pads for comfort. Silk rugs also require a thicker rug pad to protect them from wear and fading.
In conclusion, PVC pads are not suitable for hardwood floors. Synthetic latex is a good option for short-term use but can cost more in the long term due to more frequent replacements. Natural rubber is a good eco-friendly choice with solid performance and can fit any size rugs. Felt pads provide additional comfort but are only fit for larger area rugs because of their lack of grip. The hybrid felt/rubber pad provides the best performance at the highest price for those who would like to match high-end rugs with a high-end rug pad.