Laminate floors are both beautiful and durable. They give your house the look of hardwood flooring, but on a low-cost budget.
One way to make laminate floors even better? Adding a rug.
Adding a rug to your floor makes your home cozy and protects the laminate from spills and scratches.
But a rug isn’t complete without a rug pad.
Choosing a rug pad that’s compatible with laminate flooring is the first step to long-lasting laminate floors (and the rugs on top of them).
In this article, we’ll take you through all you need to know about the best rug pads to use on laminate floors.
Do you need a rug pad on laminate floors?
In short, yes. Why? There are a lot of reasons why a rug pad is SO important. Here are a few:
- Adds a cushioning feel because rug pads are made with soft materials such as natural rubber, felt, or memory foam.
- Contains thick felt material that helps enhance the soundproofing factor of the floor and eliminate echo.
- Acts as a friction barrier between the rug and the laminate floor, protecting both from scratches and wear.
- Improves the rug’s grip, which minimizes the chances of slipping or having crawling rugs.
How to avoid laminate floor discoloration under your rug
Discoloration on laminate floors is annoying and expensive to fix. It makes the floor unappealing and reduces its lifespan.
What’s more, two major causes of discoloration on a laminate floor involve your rug pad usage:
- Using cheap rug pads.
- Not using a rug pad at all.
How do cheap rug pads discolor laminate floors?
The number one cause of discolored laminate floors is the harmful plastic elements found in cheap rug pads.
The plastic has toxic chemicals such as plasticizers and phthalates that off-gas and stain floors. What’s worse, these chemicals can corrupt breathing air and lead to poor air quality.
Additionally, low-cost rug pads feature harsh adhesives on the bottom that can discolor your floors.
Other rug pads have low-quality PVC that sticks to the floor (rather than gripping the floor like our high-quality PVC rug pad does). When the PVC sticks to your beautiful laminate surface it becomes a nightmare to remove and you can easily scratch or otherwise damage the floor in the process.
Now, what happens when you don’t use a rug pad?
Rug pads help to cushion the floor surface and create more friction to prevent slippage. Especially in high-traffic areas.
Think about it.
The floor (and rugs) in the kitchen and doorways is likely to wear out faster due to the frequent foot traffic. Without a rug pad, area rugs on those spaces will constantly slide against the floor causing friction that can eventually discolor and damage the floor.
Now, enter the non-slip rug pad or cushioned rug pad. These can prevent slippage and protect your floors from furniture or sharp shoes. With laminate floors, we typically recommend using rug pads that are made of natural rubber or felt material.
Rug pads with natural rubber backing are eco-friendly and provide excellent grip. They keep your area rug in place without peeling the laminate floor. In turn, keeping you and your family from slipping while protecting the floor.
What is the best rug pad for laminate floors?
The best rug pad for laminate floors largely depends on what you’re using it for.
- What size is your rug?
- What room will the rug be in?
- Do you want lots of cushion or no cushion?
- Do you have pets or young kids that spill a lot?
All of these questions are important to consider when choosing the best rug pad for your laminate floor. Depending on those needs, here are some of our recommendations.
For Small Rugs (Under 6ft x 9ft)
Small area rugs are mostly used in areas with high foot traffic. That includes the kitchen, bedside, bathroom, hallways, and doorways.
In those areas, it’s essential to consider the level of grip that your rug has. To maximize grip, you need a rug pad that’s non-slip. Our top recommendation would be a pad with a natural rubber backing.
Why? Natural rubber has high gripping power and it’s totally safe for laminate floors.
The benefits of using a rubber-backed rug pad underneath small rugs include:
- Keeping area rugs secured
- Avoiding slippage and tripping
- Limiting the amount of dirt transfer to other parts of the house
- Safe for laminate flooring
Super-Lock Natural is an excellent natural rubber rug pad. Though it appears thin at 1/8" thick, it’s hefty and dense with over a pound of natural rubber per square yard. This extra weight and rubber grip gives it some of the best grip for both your laminate floor and your rug ensuring the rug stays flat and doesn’t slide around.
Super-Lock Natural also features a webbed structure to provide more breathability and airflow between your rug and floor which helps keep your laminate floor in better condition.
If you want even more breathability, an extra low profile, and our best gripping ability, you can also choose our RugPro rug pad. This pad is mega thin (1/16” thick) and has very strong gripping power with a mix of natural rubber and felt. The natural rubber grips your floor, while the felt helps to attach to the rug so you get one cohesive unit that won’t budget (until you want it to, then it lifts up in a breeze).
Both the Super-Lock Natural and RugPro are ideal for places like hallways, entryways, or bathrooms where you don’t want too much cushion, need a low profile, and want super high grip. For especially low profile doors, you’ll want RugPro.
For bedside rugs or kitchen rugs, you may want to add extra comfort to give your feet a little extra support. In this case, opt for a felt and rubber rug pad like the Contour-Lock or Superior-Lock. These two pads will give you cushion coupled with a firm grip.
However, laminate floors that are prone to moisture retention don’t always do well with rubber (your floor manufacturer should be able to provide guidance on this). The rubber may react with the laminate floor finish and cause discoloration.
That’s where the Anchor Grip rug pad comes in. It’s a soybean-based polymer blend rug pad that’s also non slip and suitable for floors that are incompatible with rubber.
For large rugs (over 6ft x 9ft)
Large area rugs like ones you’ll find in the lounge, living room, or bedroom tend to call for a different type of rug pad.
Their size makes them heavy enough to lay flat and firm on the floor without a non-slip rug pad, so you don’t have to invest extra money in getting non-slip qualities.
Moreover, furniture can hold down the edges and corners of the rug, which can sometimes fold and cause tripping.
Since non-slip is less of a concern, what you need to consider instead is the level of cushion and comfort you want from your rug. Rugs provide some cushion on their own, but a nice thick rug pad is really where its at for a plush, luxury experience. On that front, a felt cushioning rug pad or foam rug pad is the most suitable option.
For felt, the Eco-Plush rug pad is an excellent choice to use under large rugs. It’s made with 100% recycled felt from leftover unused carpet fibers and yarn. The pad comes in three different thicknesses (1/4", 3/8", and 1/2") so you can get a good balance of cushion and budget-friendliness.
Plus, it adds lots of protection for your laminate floor from heavy furniture like recliners or sofas.
The benefits of using a felt rug pad include:
- No unpleasant odors (commonly found in jute rug pads)
- No glues or adhesives that can off-gas and destroy laminate flooring
- Non-toxic and eco-friendly
- Thick enough to improve the floor’s soundproofing capacity
- Resistant to mold, dampness, and odor-causing bacteria
- Thick and comfy
Caring for rugs on laminate floors
It’s important to keep all rugs on your laminate floors clean. That means consistently vacuuming your rugs on both sides to remove any build-up of dust and debris and vacuuming and mopping the floor under your rug too. This way, you avoid dust and debris either degrading your rug or scratching your floor.
In case you spill on the rug, be sure to clean it as soon as possible so the spill doesn’t stain the rug and the floor. You can soak up spilled liquid with dry paper towels or regular kitchen towels, then use some rug cleaning formula to spot treat the area.
Here’s how to care for a dirty rug:
- Remove excess dirt by dabbing with a wet cleaning cloth.
- Clean the rug and rug pad with soap and water and hang them to dry.
- Clean any mess that leaked onto the floor and ensure it’s dry before returning the rug.
FAQs about rug pads for laminate floors
Let’s address some common questions about using rug pads on laminate floors.
Do you need a pad under an area rug on laminate floors?
Yes, you do.
A rug pad is a must-have pairing for area rugs on laminate floors. A rug pad prevents slips and makes your floor soft and cozy. Plus, it improves the soundproofing capacity of the floor and helps with insulation. Lastly, it protects your laminate floor from furniture that can potentially scratch the floor.
Can you use a carpet pad for laminate flooring?
Yes. You can use a carpet pad on laminate flooring as a buffer from furniture damage and spills. Keep in mind that carpet pad and rug pads are not quite the same thing, so just be sure you’re getting the right one!
(If you’re getting wall-to-wall carpeting, you’ll want a carpet pad. If you have an area rug, a rug pad is a better bet.)
What kind of rugs can go on laminate floors?
Avoid rough-textured rugs with fiber, plastic, or other tough materials because they can scratch a laminate floor. Also, stay away from rugs with dark-colored dyes that don’t specifically state they’re colorfast because they can stain the floors.
What can you use instead of a rug pad?
If you don’t have a rug pad to help grip your carpet or area rug in place, there are some alternative gripping options you can try. These include double-sided carpet tape, gripping spray, silicone caulk, or velcro strips.
As far as protection for your floor and rug go though, a rug pad really will be your best bet.
Will rubber-backed rugs harm laminate floors?
Most rubber-backed rugs are effective at preventing slippage on laminate floors — without causing damage.
Nonetheless, your floor manufacturer will indicate whether rubber is safe for their laminate flooring, so be sure to check the product instructions. Some only recommend the use of 100% natural rubber, while others recommend against rubber entirely.
Can you use a jute rug on laminate floors?
By itself? No. While jute rugs are made with natural fiber material from the jute plant, that type of fiber is too rough for laminate flooring and can end up scratching and discoloring the floor.
HOWEVER, here’s the thing: you can still use a jute rug on laminate floors IF you use a rug pad under it to protect your laminate floor. We’d recommend a medium thickness pad like our Contour-Lock rug pad for extra protection without raising the rug up too high.