Engineered hardwood is easier to fit, more readily available, and not as prone to shrinking or warping as solid hardwood flooring.
But because it gets its good looks from a handsome top layer of hardwood, it still needs a bit of TLC – especially when it comes to protecting it from the wear and tear that an area rug can inflict on wooden floors of all kinds.
So, if you're after a rug or runner for a room with an engineered wood floor, you're best off placing a rug pad under it. Here's why – as well as a close look at which is the best rug pad for engineered hardwood flooring.
Why you need a rug pad on an engineered hardwood floor
Engineered hardwood consists of a softwood or multi-ply core topped with a layer of solid wood. So, once it's fit, it shares the properties of a solid hardwood floor.
That means if you place a rug on an engineered hardwood floor without a non-slip rug pad you'll create quite the tripping hazard in your home.
Plus, as a rug that hasn't been anchored down slips and slides over an engineered wood floor, it can scratch its surface and bleed dye into its finish. While you can fix these blemishes by having your engineered hardwood refinished, that's certainly not cheap – or particularly convenient.
A quality rug pad is an easy and affordable way to anchor an area rug to an engineered hardwood floor and nip all these problems in the bud. It will also add a layer of cushioning under your rug to provide the extra bit of comfort that helps make a house a home.
This extra cushioning doesn't just provide a comfort boost, either. It prolongs the life of your rug by taking strain off its fibers, as well as providing an extra layer of soundproofing and insulation.
Plus, a non-slip rug pad will secure your area rug to your engineered wood floor so firmly that you can vacuum right over it like a carpet rather than having to lift it up every time you hoover.
What kind of rugs are safe for engineered hardwood floors?
Not all rug pads play nice with engineered wood flooring. In fact, going for the wrong one is a surefire way to ruin your flooring's finish.
Be sure to avoid cheap, imported rug pads made from synthetic plastic. These plastics "off-gas" chemicals that will discolor and damage your engineered hardwood's finish.
Cheap, imported rug pads don't actually secure an area rug to the floor through friction, either. Instead, they hold your rug in place through chemical adhesives that literally stick to your floor. As this adhesive deteriorates, it ruins your floor's finish.
What's more, cheap rubber rug pads are often manufactured in countries with much more lax quality controls than in the US. These pads will often be made with phthalates, a class of chemicals that US manufacturers are prohibited from using because they're toxic to humans and animals. Probably not the kind of thing you want to be walking on every day!
So, be sure to steer clear of rug pads made from synthetic rubber and instead opt for one made from quality, natural rubber or an organic material.
The best rug pads for engineered hardwood floors
Each of these quality rug pads are made in the USA from materials guaranteed not to harm your engineered hardwood flooring or release any toxic chemicals into your home.
All three also come with a 10-year warranty, free delivery and returns.
Have a stubborn slippery rug or runner on an engineered hardwood floor? Our Super-Lock Natural is the rug pad for you.
The best-gripping rug pad in our range, the Super Lock Natural has over a pound of natural rubber per square yard, holding any rug fast in even the most high-traffic areas. Its waffle design also allows your flooring to breathe and lends a comfortable level of cushioning.
And because it has such a low profile, this natural rubber rug pad is the perfect choice for kitchens, hallways, and entrances, where a thicker pad could cause a tripping hazard.
After a non-slip rug pad that provides plenty of cushioning?
Our RugPro is backed by natural, low-clay rubber that sticks rugs to hard surface flooring through friction rather than the kind of adhesives that deteriorate and ruin engineered hardwood.
This is topped by a felt upper that gently grips area rugs without straining their fibers while providing a comfort boost.
And the RugPro is still one of the lowest-profile pads in our range, making it the perfect choice for high-traffic areas and spaces where door clearance is an issue.
Our Eco-Plush rug pad is the last word in budget-friendly rug cushioning for engineered hardwood floors.
Made from felt from unused carpet fibers, this thick rug pad contains zero chemicals, glues, or adhesives, meaning it’s non-toxic and odor-free. It's also safe for all types of floors and finishes, provides plenty of soundproofing and insulation, and is resistant to mold, moisture, and mildew.
Last but not least, it's incredibly comfortable underfoot, making it the perfect pad to sit under a larger rug in a living room or bedroom that doesn’t need non-slip grip.
Other things you should know
Using a rug to add a splash of color to a room with an engineered hardwood floor? Here are a few things to keep in mind before you buy a rug or runner.
Can you use rubber-backed rug pads on engineered hardwood floors?
Premium rugs backed with natural rubbers are totally fine to use on engineered hardwood floors. However, you should avoid area rugs with a synthetic rubber backing, as it’s only a matter of time until that deteriorates and damages your floor.
If you're not sure what kind of rubber a rug you've got your eye on is backed with, don't take any chances. Go for a rug without any backing and place it on top of one of the USA-made rug pads we've highlighted above.
Can area rugs ruin engineered hardwood floors?
Place an area rug on top of your engineered hardwood floor without a rug pad and it can scuff your floor's finish and transfer dye onto its surface.
Luckily, non-slip rug pads are an easy and affordable fix to this problem.