Which Rug Pad Works Best on Tile Floors? Here's Our Answer

Apartment kitchen with rug on tile floor

There is no flooring quite as durable, cost effective, and eco-friendly as tile.

Tile flooring throughout a home is a popular choice in areas with warm climates and sandy beaches close by. Unlike carpeting, it’s water resistant and easy to maintain.

However, anyone living with tile flooring knows there are some downsides. It’s cold, hard, and can easily become slippery when wet.

An easy way to add warmth and comfort to the areas of your home with tile flooring is to add area rugs. With so many colors and patterns to choose from, it’s easy to add a splash of color while ensuring a cushy layer underfoot in every room of your house.

But rugs and tile flooring often don’t mix.

The slick, synthetic backing on most area rugs does not grip slick surfaces, like tile, laminate, or hardwood. This means one wrong move could send you slipping across the room and possibly end in injury. So how do you keep area rugs from slipping on tile floors?

In order to prevent mishaps, you’ll need the correct rug pad with an anti-slip grip underneath your new area rug to protect you and your flooring.

Why you need a rug pad on tile floors

runner on tiled bathroom floor

Tile comes in a wide variety of style, shape and color choices to suit any home aesthetic. It's perfect for high traffic areas because tile flooring is resistant to wear and tear, as opposed to sensitive hardwood floors, which are susceptible to scratching, warping, and fading. It also keeps your living space cool, which helps you save on utility costs as the thermostat rises.

Even so, sometimes it's nice to have a little extra cushioning on the feet.

The right area rugs will give your tile flooring new life and enhance the comfort of your living space. Here are some things to consider when looking for contemporary area rugs to place over tiles.

  • Vary Textures: Because tiles are hard and flat, you’ll want to choose the texture of your rug to suit the requirements of the room. Choose short pile rugs for high traffic areas and long pile rugs for places where you typically rest your feet.
  • Choose Complementary Colors: Unlike wood floors, tiles come in many different shades. Choose an area rug that compliments the tones of your tile. Be sure to maintain a consistent color palette within each space to avoid clashing.
  • Give Unique Fibers A Try: Since your rug will be a statement piece that lays atop your tile, fibers like sisal, jute, or even recycled materials add interest to any living space.
  • Find Exciting Shapes: Round, oval and oblong rugs add exciting dimension and shape contrast when paired with square or rectangular tiles.

Although tile flooring is durable and easy to maintain, issues could arise when you forego the right rug pad. Because tile doesn’t absorb water, dust, and pet hair, it quickly becomes slick.

Area rugs usually solve this problem, but they create a new tripping hazard on tile flooring without the best carpet pad for the job.

Most area rugs are backed with a coarse, synthetic backing that doesn’t offer friction when placed on smooth flooring. It can also cause permanent scratches if laid without the proper rug pads for stone and tile flooring.

Not only that, cheap rug pads may cause unsightly discoloration, staining, and hard-to-remove residue that is hidden from view until it’s too late.

This means that renters may find themselves losing out on their precious deposits due to property damage caused by cheap, synthetic rug pads.

What to know before you buy

Staircase with rug on tile floor

If you are looking to save money, you may be tempted to purchase an inexpensive rug pad from Amazon or a big box store. While it saves you money initially, it will end up costing you much more in the long run.

When you purchase a low-quality rug pad, there are several issues you will face.

  1. The Presence Of Toxic Chemicals: Phthalates, a chemical class used to make plastic more durable, and synthetic latex, a known carcinogen, is used to make inexpensive rug pads and release toxic chemicals into your home’s air.
  2. Adhesive Coating Sticking To Tile: Cheap rug pads are sprayed with an adhesive coating to enhance their grip. This coating breaks down and sticks permanently to your hard surfaces, like tile, making it difficult to remove altogether.
  3. Chemical Discoloration: The same toxic chemicals that impact your home’s air quality are also known to react with flooring materials, like tile, resulting in permanent damage and discoloration.
  4. Loss Of Cushioning And Grip: Cheap rug pads are not built to last. They will quickly break down and lose their cushioning feeling and grip, leaving you right where you started.
  5. Mold And Mildew: Because synthetic materials aren’t breathable, they can trap moisture between your rug and rug pad, leading to a build-up of dangerous mold and smelly mildew. If you live in a humid climate, learn how to waterproof a rug with waterproof rug pads.

When purchasing the right types of rug pads to place over tile flooring, look for natural materials, like felt and natural rubber, that offer both cushioning and firm grip.

These are the best rug pads for tile floors

When choosing a high-quality area rug pad for tile flooring, you need to consider three things:

  • Grip To Prevent Bunching, Wedging, And Tripping Hazards
  • Cushioning To Keep Comfort And Warmth Underfoot
  • Heat And Humidity Tolerance To Prevent Mold And Mildew

Avoid rug tape on tile, as it will leave a sticky residue that is hard to remove. Also, avoid corner-only rug grippers because they don’t anchor the entire rug. This means your carpet will bunch, causing a tripping hazard as your area rug slips on your tiling flooring.

Finally, look for 100% natural materials. Unlike synthetic materials, like PVC, eco-friendly textiles, like a natural rug pad and felt rug pad, protect both your floor and your area rug’s integrity.

Here are the rug pads that are best for your tile flooring.

Superior-Lock 1/4

Superior Lock 1/4

Superior-Lock ¼ rug pads marry natural rubber with plush cushioning to offer one-of-a-kind performance on your glossy tile floors. It grips your area rug to hard surfaces, like tile flooring, which prevents dangerous slipping hazards that occur when your rug shifts.

Its dual surface design combines natural rubber backing—which grips your floor without risking staining, discoloration, or residue—as well as a natural felt topper for extra comfort.

Superior-Lock ¼ offers a needle-punched felt rug pad that securely hugs your area rug in place while providing a high-quality cushioning layer between your carpet and your hard floors.

Cloud Comfort Memory Foam

Cloud Comfort Rug Pad

Cloud Comfort Memory Foam carpet pads bring the comfort of a memory foam mattress underfoot on your tile flooring. The name says it all: Cloud Comfort offers superior cushioning between your hard floors and area rug.

This product is made from 100% visco-elastic memory foam and works well under rugs that lay flat independently in areas where extreme grip isn’t needed. It contains a built-in waterproof moisture barrier that prevents liquids from reaching your floors, essential with stone or other natural, unfinished tile flooring.

Cloud Comfort Memory Foam is a thicker pad with the best cushioning, no chemical odors, and offers soundproofing benefits for apartment dwellers looking to soften their steps to avoid complaining neighbors.

Super-Lock Natural

Super Lock Natural rug pad

If your area rugs are placed in high-traffic areas, like the mudroom, entryway, or hallway, and insist on bunching and shifting, Super-Lock Natural is the best non-slip rug pad for the job.

Super-Lock Natural is a waffle-cut, natural rubber rug pad that works on all hard floors, including hardwood, linoleum, stone, marble, and of course, tile. Its low profile works well with any kind of rug, including thin rugs and small rugs that don’t like to stay in place.

This skid-resistant area rug gripper pad may not offer the cushioning of a thick rug pad, but it allows for maximum airflow to make vacuuming a breeze.

Other things you want to know

Once you’ve chosen the best rug pad for your tile flooring, area rugs will be secure and cushy. Here are some other things to know about rug pads and tile flooring.

How do I clean my rug pad?

Rug pad care and cleaning is a snap with RugPadUSA’s high-quality carpet pads. Here are some tips for keeping your rug pads clean.

  1. Clean Up Spills Quickly And Completely By Blotting Up The Moisture.
  2. Vacuum Thick Rug Pads Once A Year. Open Weave Pads Do Not Need Special Vacuuming.
  3. Periodically Shake Out Dirt, Debris, And Pet Hair To Prevent Allergen Build-Up.

Taking care of your rug pad will increase its effectiveness and lifespan, as well as protect your area rug.

Will rubber-backed rugs damage ceramic tile flooring?

It depends on the quality of the rubber; Most area rugs are backed with synthetic rubber, which breaks down over time and causes staining and discoloration to ceramic tile floorings.

Always opt for a rug pad made from 100% natural rubber, like the Contour-Lock. Natural rubber does not break down or leave stains on tile flooring, including marble and stone.

Can I use an outdoor rug inside on my tile flooring?

Yes, you can use an outdoor rug inside. They come in fun colors and funky designs, making them a unique addition to any home’s décor. Because they tend to have slick backing, be sure to pair it with the right rug pad.

Choose a rug pad, like Nature’s Grip, that will prevent the slippery materials of the outdoor rug from shifting on your tile flooring and causing scratches.

Should my rug pad size match the measurements of my area rug?

No. Your rug pad should be about 1 inch less in diameter than your area rug size. This keeps the rug pad from showing beyond the perimeter of the rug.

It also prevents a tripping hazard for thicker rug pads by allowing the rug to smoothly transition to the floor without a harsh separation between the rug’s edge and the hard surface of the floor.

Can cheap carpet pads ruin tile flooring?

Yes. Cheap rug pads can ruin your expensive flooring because the low-quality materials break down over time, causing stripping, staining, and sticking that will leave unsightly marks on your floor and costly repairs.

Cheap materials also release odors and toxic fumes into your living space, compromising air quality and causing guests to wrinkle their noses at the odd, chemical smell.

Do rug pads help with noise?

Yes. Thicker rug pads made with felt fabric or memory foam offer soundproofing and diminish ambient noise while improving the acoustics in your apartment or house.

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