Do I Need a Rug Pad on Hardwood Floors?

Last Update:

We use affiliate links and may receive a small commission on purchases. Learn more

rug pad on hardwood floors

If you have an area rug or are currently shopping for one, you may be wondering if you need a rug pad, too. The answer is yes.

Rug pads are not only highly practical, making your rugs stay put and feel cushier, but they also protect your hardwood floors. However, all rug pads are not created equal, and some can even cause damage.

Here’s what you need to know about picking the ideal rug pad to protect your hardwoods.

Should You Use a Rug Pad on Hardwoods?

Yes, you should use a rug pad on hardwood floors. The back of rugs are often rough and, over time, can scratch up your hardwood floors, cause discoloration, or chip away at the protective finish. A rug pad will prevent this.

A rug pad can also prevent stains on the floors caused by spills on the rug.

What are the Best Rug Pads for Hardwood Floors?

The best rug pads for hardwood floors are those made specifically for wood flooring. The two most common materials in wood-safe rug pads are felt and natural rubber. You can find a bunch of rug pad options with these materials.

For small rugs, you’ll want to use a non-slip rug pad. For more oversized area rugs, you’ll want to choose a rug pad that offers a cushion.

Your rug pad should be slightly smaller than your rug so that it doesn’t show. For instance, if you have an 8×10 rug, you’ll want a rug pad that is approximately 7’10” x 9’10”.

What Rug Pads Should I Avoid for Hardwood Floors?

All rug pads are not created equal. While some rug pads will protect your hardwood floors, others will destroy them.

Avoid putting rug pads made from the following materials on your hardwoods:

  • PVC
  • Plastic
  • Foam Backed
  • Latex

These materials can have a bad reaction to your floors, causing prominent discoloration. Sometimes these materials can even attach to your hardwoods, leaving a permanent stain.

Frequently Asked Questions

faq rug pad on hardwood floor

Are Gorilla Grip rug pads safe for hardwood floors?

Some of the Gorilla Grip rug pads are safe for hardwood floors. Make sure you read the label carefully and only purchase those specifically meant to be used on hardwoods and not just hard surfaces.

What thickness rug pad should I get?

You should base the thickness of your rug pad on your personal preference and the thickness of your rug. For thin rugs, you can go up to ¼ inch thick on the rug pad. For thick, plush area rugs, consider going up to ⅜ of an inch on thickness.

In general, for smaller rugs, you’ll want to choose a thinner non-slip rug pad, and for more oversized rugs, you’ll select a pad that offers to cushion.

What steps should I take before choosing a rug pad to place on my wood floors?

Before you buy a rug pad, make sure it’s a safe material to be used on hardwoods. Two safe options are felt and natural rubber.

You should also read reviews to ensure that no one has had a bad experience with the rug pad you’re interested in.


If you’re getting a new rug and want to protect your hardwood floors, you should purchase a rug pad. A rug pad will protect your floors from discoloration and scratches.

Be sure to choose a rug pad that is made specifically for hardwood floors and not just hard surfaces like tile or vinyl.

Photo of author


Katie Barton lives with her husband and three daughters in an 1800’s style log cabin in southern Ohio. She thinks cleaning is relaxing and is considered the organizing go-to person by her family and friends. She runs the blog Cabin Lane where she shares about cleaning, decluttering, and minimalism. See full biography here.

Leave a Comment

fourteen + eleven =