Do You Need a Pad for Your Outdoor Rug? (Yes – Here's why)
An outdoor rug provides a warm and cozy atmosphere to your outdoor space and brings your indoor style to the outdoors.
However, it can be a potential hazard if it moves on the floor and can get kind of gross if you don’t take proper care of it.
Just like indoor rugs, you need to secure your outdoor rug in place with an outdoor rug pad so that you don’t slip on it.
Now, outdoor rug pads are a tad different from indoor ones because they need to withstand weather and temperature changes.
Choosing the best rug pad for your rug in general is important, but getting the right one for your outdoor rug is essential.
To help you out, we've created this guide to help you learn everything you need to know about outdoor rug pads, how to choose the best rug pad for your outdoor space, and how to maintain your outdoor rugs.
Let’s dive in.
What's the difference between indoor and outdoor rugs?
Outdoor rugs are made from strong synthetic and natural materials, like polypropylene and sisal, that can withstand the harsh elements of mother nature.
In contrast, indoor rugs are made from softer materials, like wool, meant to offer warmth and comfort without needing to stand up to the outdoors.
While indoor rugs won’t do well outside, outdoor rugs can be used indoors.
Do you need a rug pad for an outdoor rug?
To put it simply, yes, you need a rug pad for your outdoor rug. Without one, you risk your outdoor rug wearing out quickly. Outdoor rugs also have a tendency to move around on their own causing a slipping hazard, so a non slip pad can help provide a safer outdoor space.
Why you should use a rug pad for an outdoor rug
There are many benefits to using one:
- Increased air circulation between the rug and the floor
- A buffer for the floor against dirt and debris
- Holds the rug securely in place
- Adds extra comfort
Let’s talk about these a little more.
Allows air circulation
A breathable rug pad allows air to circulate between the rug and floor, which helps to prevent mildew, mold, and bacteria from forming. This prolongs the life of your rug.
Acts as a buffer from dirt and debris
A rug pad will keep dirt and debris from getting trapped between the rug and floor, making cleaning both easier and keeping that trapped debris from scratching your floor.
Adds Extra Comfort
A thick rug pad adds extra comfort when walking on it. Especially if you’re outside on hard stone or concrete, that additional layer between the rug and floor can make a huge difference to make the space feel more comfortable.
A rug pad made from natural rubber grips your outdoor rug securely in place, preventing you from slipping on a moving rug. Plus, having to constantly readjust your rug is just annoying! You want your outdoor rug to stay put even if it’s windy or rainy and that’s where a non slip rug pad is essential.
What to look for in an outdoor rug pad
A quality outdoor rug pad helps your outdoor rug lie beautifully, and safely, on the floor. However, there are also a lot of rug pads out there that won’t provide the best quality or give you what you need so it’s important to know what you’re looking for in an outdoor rug pad.
Here are the main elements you should consider when shopping for an outdoor rug pad.
An outdoor rug pad should be made of materials that offer grip and can withstand outside elements. Some of the best materials to have on your outdoor rug pad are:
The #1 material we recommend for outdoor rug pads is reinforced polyvinyl because it can withstand temperature changes and harsher outdoor conditions without compromising grip or durability.
In contrast, most imported PVC rug pads are blended from chemicals like phthalates, which contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that emit chemicals in the air. These chemicals can react with your hardwood or vinyl floors causing them to discolor, stain, or get damaged.
See what one of our customers has to say about our Outdoor rug pad:
Just what we needed
We have a covered outdoor "catio". I recently purchased two outdoor rugs to liven-up the space (concrete) and to add some softness. But when it rained, the wetness seeped up. These rug pads solved this. The (recycled plastic) rugs are no longer wet, and there is no noticeable "up or down" between the rugs+pads and the rest of the floor. I did a lot of searching to find a product that was good for outdoors, for wet and for coldish. This is it!
— Catherine C.
2. Natural rubber
Rug pads made of natural rubber are eco-friendly, making them a healthy choice. Plus, they don’t hold water, meaning they’ll help drain your outdoor rug when there's a heavy downpour.
On the flip side, they’re also thin, so they'll offer less comfort than other materials when you walk over your outdoor rugs. We generally don’t recommend our natural rubber rug pads for outdoor use because they aren’t meant to withstand harsh elements.
Extra ingredients like sand and clay in an outdoor rug pad lower its quality, and a rug pad made of synthetic rubber may damage floors made of hardwood or vinyl.
Latex is an inexpensive alternative to natural rubber, and so you’ll find that most rug pads are made out of this material.
Latex doesn’t hold water, helping these rug pads to drain and prevent damage to your floor and outdoor rug.
Now, latex rug pads have an additional ingredient — clay — which makes them leave residue on the floor when used for a long time. (Which is why none of our rug pads use this material.)
Non-slip rug pads provide more grip for your outdoor rugs, which helps keep them in place and prevent sliding or slipping over the rugs. This offers you a more reliable surface for walking on and helps keep your rug from flying away in the wind!
Since the rugs are held in place, vacuuming them also becomes faster and easier.
A non-slip rug pad can help prolong the life of your rug because it allows the rug's fibers to spring back after being walked on, protecting it against losing its color, density, and overall appeal.
Since outdoor rugs are made from tough materials to withstand the weather, they can damage hardwood, laminate, or vinyl floors with scratches. A rug pad acts as a buffer between the rug and the floor, so your floors remain as impeccable as when you installed them.
Most outdoor rug pads aren’t made for comfort. They’re built more for things like helping to drain water that collects on the outdoor rug.
However, you can use a felt and rubber rug pad in an enclosed outdoor space — like a patio — to offer that comfort while holding your rug in place.
The problem with using a thick rug pad made of felt or wool outside is that it may absorb moisture, something that can then damage your floors and rug if you don’t frequently dry it. Be sure to only use one of these rug pads if the area is fully covered as though the rug were inside.
An outdoor rug pad should be around an inch smaller than your rug on all sides. However, if you get your rug pad with us you don’t have to worry about this because we custom cut all our rug pads to perfectly match your rug.
Just enter your rug’s actual dimensions and we’ll do the calculations for you so you get a perfect fit.
A quality outdoor rug pad should be porous to drain water better, especially after a heavy downpour.
A waffle-type rug pad is an excellent option because it’s water-resistant and can absorb a fraction of its weight — a feature that helps to drain water that collects on your outdoor rug.
Mold and mildew resistance
A waffle-type rug pad allows air to circulate between the floor and rug, preventing mold and mildew from forming.
Some outdoor rug pads have a UV-resistant coating that helps to protect them from fading and discoloration.
If you buy rug pads without a UV-resistant coating, they'll be easily damaged by the sun — especially during sweltering summers. (Keep in mind, your rug pad will be under your rug, so you generally shouldn’t have to worry about this too much, but if your rug pad is ever exposed to the sun, UV resistance will be very useful.)
FAQs about outdoor rugs and outdoor rug pads
Can you leave an outdoor rug outside?
Yes. You can leave an outdoor rug outside because it’s made from material like sisal, polyester, or polypropylene — all of which can withstand harsh weather conditions.
Can you leave an outdoor rug out all year?
Yes, they’re made to withstand changes in temperature and climate. However, it’s advisable to store them away when there are extreme weather conditions like in the winter especially if you don’t plan to use your outdoor space much.
Can you leave an outdoor rug in the rain?
Yes, especially if it’s made from water-resistant material like polypropylene. However, if it rains heavily and your rug gets soaked, hang it to dry so it doesn’t store the moisture and leave your rug and flooring vulnerable to mold, mildew, and discoloration.
Are outdoor patio rugs a good idea?
Yes. They bring color, warmth, and comfort to your outdoor space.
What is the point of an outdoor rug?
An outdoor rug:
- Adds color to your outdoor space
- Protects the floor against damage from stains, scratches, and discoloration
- Offers comfort and protection
- Covers up damaged floor areas
Does an outdoor rug ruin your deck?
No. An outdoor rug doesn’t ruin your deck if it's regularly cleaned and hanged to dry when it gets soaked from rainwater. An outdoor rug pad will also help to keep your deck safe from any scratchy outdoor rug backings.
Are outdoor rugs bad for concrete?
No. Outdoor rugs protect concrete floors from chipping and stains caused by mold and mildew.
How do I choose an outdoor rug?
We recommend choosing an outdoor rug by size and material.
Depending on how you want to decorate your outdoor space, an outdoor rug can cover the whole patio or deck, or just the sitting area.
If you’re going to cover only the area you've placed furniture, the rug should be two inches wider than the table. As a rule of thumb, for a square, rectangular, or oval table, use a rectangular rug. For a round table, use a round rug.
Your outdoor rug should be made to withstand outdoor elements like rain, sun, and snow with tough synthetic materials — such as polypropylene or polyester, or natural materials such as sisal or bamboo.
Make sure to keep an outdoor rug made of natural materials in a closed space to prolong its life.
What is the best outdoor rug?
The best outdoor rug is made to withstand harsh outside conditions and temperature changes with durable synthetic materials, like polypropylene and polyester.
It also has a UV-resistant coat, mold and mildew resistant treatment, and offers comfort.
How do you waterproof an outdoor rug?
Spray the whole rug with Thompson’s WaterSeal Fabric Seal or Scotchgard. This will provide a barrier between the rug and any moisture, protecting it from any potential water damage or mold.
How long does an outdoor carpet last?
About 10 years. An outdoor carpet can last for more than ten years if it’s maintained properly.
How do I keep my patio rug clean?
There are many ways to clean your patio rug. Here are our top picks:
- Vacuum it to remove smaller debris, dirt, and dust
- Wash it with a garden hose to remove larger debris, then hang to dry
- Spot clean tough stains
- Shake it out or sweep it to remove dirt that collects in the fibers
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