How to Keep a Rug in Place on Wood Floors: 4 Ways that Really Work

Best ways to keep 8 x 10 rugs from moving on hardwood floors

Rugs that don't have something to anchor them to wood flooring will slip around haphazardly, looking janky at best and posing a tripping hazard at worst.

Rugs can act like banana peels on hardwood floors. Add kids and pets into the mix and rugs require even more attention, always in need of repositioning back to your original spot.

Luckily, there's an easy fix.

Whether you want a cushy rubber pad to hold that bad boy in place or a simple rug tape to do the job, you can have your very own rug anchor by the end of the day, if you'd like.

The problem?

Not all of these options are suitable to wood flooring. We'll go over the different ways to prevent rugs from slipping on hardwood flooring and what you'll need to consider before committing to one of these methods.

4 ways to stop rugs from moving on hardwood floors

Before you choose any of these methods to hold your area rug in place, be sure to check with your flooring manufacturer to see if any of these methods will work with your floors. Hardwood flooring can be expensive and sensitive to chemicals, so always be cautious when choosing which products to use.

1. Use a non-slip rug pad

RugPro best rug pad for 8x10 foot rugs to prevent slipping and bunching

Cost: high
Effectiveness: high
Ease of Installation: easy
Damage Risk: low
Longevity: long term

A non-slip rug pad, sometimes called an anti-slip rug underlay, is naturally our preferred solution when trying to hold your rugs in place on a hardwood floor. When choosing a rug pad, however, it's important to understand the materials that you're choosing and how they'll interact with your wooden floor.

We recommend a felt rug pad with natural rubber backing. Natural rubber has many benefits over other materials, especially over synthetic rubber, which is often used in rubber backed rugs. Natural rubber won’t react or stain hardwood floor finishes because it doesn’t contain adhesives. Not only that, but natural rubber also grips better than plastic and PVC padding (tires are made with rubber, not plastic) and also lasts longer.

Rug pads made with PVC/plastic and work by using adhesion (which makes them sticky) while a natural rubber rug pad is made to grip/hold without sticking to your floors.

If you end up with an area rug pad that uses PVC or plastic, then it will:

  • Discolor Your Hardwood Floor. A plastic rug pad is made using a combination of toxic chemicals like phthalates that can stain your hardwood floor.
  • Stick to Your Floor. Most plastic rug pads have too much adhesive, causing them to stick to and damage your floors.
  • Stick to Itself. You may find that some plastic rug pads will stick to themselves, forming lumps at the bottom of the rug, which defeats the purpose of having a rug pad in the first place.

So, if you opt for a non slip rug pad to keep your rug in place, then invest in a rug pad that's made with natural materials to keep your floors safe from scrapes, stains, discoloration, and disintegration.

2. Use silicone caulk to keep rugs from slipping

Inexpensive ways to keep rugs in place

Cost: low
Effectiveness: high
Ease of Installation: easy
Damage Risk: medium
Longevity: long term

Martha Stewart says that you should apply lines of hot glue to the bottom of your rug, then put it in place once the glue’s dry.

Alternatively, you can use silicone caulk to perform the same function. The rug will stop sliding over your floor immediately because the rubbery silicone strips keep it in place.

Due to its adhesiveness, silicone provides better grip than any other non-slip solution. So, it's the best solution to keep an area rug in high traffic areas like entryways in place for longer. You can easily find silicone caulk at your nearest hardware store if you don't already have some in your garage; plus, it's inexpensive.

That said, although silicone caulk can be an excellent alternative to buying rug pads, you may experience some challenges when using it, including:

  • Pulled Rug Fibers. It’s unwise to use silicone caulk to keep woven and oriental rugs in place because the adhesive will pull on the rug’s fibers when you try to remove the rug for cleaning.
  • Residue on the Floor. Like most adhesives, dried hot glue or silicone caulk will leave residue on the floor. If you intend to use an adhesive to secure your mats, use it on rugs in low traffic areas because the increased foot impact will cause the dried glue to leave more residue on your floor.
  • It's Extremely Long-Term. The gripping is so good that we only recommend this if you plan to keep your rug in place for a very long time and you're not concerned with how it might affect your flooring. It's not ideal for a smaller rug or a living room rug, both of which likely need to be washed or moved often.

3. Use rug gripper or tape

inexpensive ways to keep  8'x10' rugs from slipping and tripping on wood floors

Cost: low
Effectiveness: medium
Ease of Installation: easy
Damage Risk: high
Longevity: long term

One option is to place a rug gripper in strips at the bottom of your rug - at the corners or along the length - to hold it in place. This way, your rug won't get bunched up or have curled ends, preventing you from slipping over it.

The best way to keep your rug from slipping is using a really strong double sided carpet tape or actually caulking it to the floor (our second solution listed). This is what many commercial businesses do. I’ve seen many hotels use this method. They plan on keeping a rug down for a very long time and there is a lot more foot traffic than an actual home, so it's the perfect solution for them. They will often use glue or caulk to keep the rug completely anchored to the floor. If this sounds like a good option for you, then we recommend some double-sided rug tape like this.

However, some of the challenges you may face when using carpet tape include:

  1. Pulls Rug Fibers. When you use carpet tape, you run the risk of pulling fibers from your rug. To avoid this, you should only use tape on inexpensive rugs, so you don't damage your more valuable rugs.
  2. Adhesion Causing Problems. Due to its adhesive nature, carpet tape is hard to remove from wood floors. As such, they easily damage the finishing of your floors. And removing the rug for cleaning will more often than not leave residue on the floor.
  3. Lasts A Long Time. I wouldn’t recommend this unless your planning on keeping the rug down for a long time. Also would only recommend if you’re less concerned about your floors and if you plan on always having a rug in that spot at all times, given that it might stain your floors.

4. Use velcro

Best inexpensive ways to keep rugs from moving on wood floors

Cost: low
Effectiveness: high
Ease of Installation: easy
Damage Risk: medium
Longevity: short term

Velcro straps are an excellent alternative to using carpet grippers because they're more friendly on your carpet and floor.

Velcro is simple to install on your area rug since all you need to do is remove the protective backing on the Velcro, attach it to the back of your area rug, and anchor it to the floor. It's also easy to remove on cleaning day because you just peel off the Velcro then wash your carpet. Velcro is easy to use because it's packaged with pre-cut straps ready for use. But that doesn't mean that you can't trim the already cut straps to your preferred size.

These drawbacks include:

  • Becoming Loose. If you put Velcro on area rugs in high traffic areas, the consistent impact can loosen the fibers, which may cause the carpet to move around. This may not be suitable for a kitchen rug or a runner rug, where there tends to be high traffic and movement.
  • Damage to the Floor. Just like carpet tape, Velcro straps are adhesive and may harm your floor.

If you opt for Velcro strips, a heavy duty fastener like this one should work. This may be better suited for other types of flooring, though, so be sure to check with your flooring manufacturer before sticking it to your beautiful dark hardwood floor.

How to secure your rug and protect your wood floors

Keep rugs in place and protect hardwood floors from scratches

It’s essential to protect your wooden floors from scratches, stains, and moisture damage.


Aside from offering a natural beauty to your home, wood flooring increases the value of your house, which is excellent news if ever you plan on selling it.

Now, some methods of keeping rugs in place can damage your wood flooring by leaving permanent marks or stains. Some may even dull the finish on your hardwood floor.

Therefore, it’s critical to carefully select a solution that keeps your rugs in place while protecting your floors from damage and deterioration. Of all the methods we provided, a rug pad will do the best job of protecting both your rug and the floor while offering extra padding.

FAQs about how to keep rugs from sliding on wood floors

We’ve established the four best ways to keep rugs from sliding on your hardwood floor. Now, we compiled a set of Frequently Asked Questions to help you choose the best method for your home.

What can you put under rugs on hardwood floors?

  1. Non-slip rug pads
  2. Silicone caulk or hot glue
  3. Rug grippers
  4. Velcro

Do area rugs ruin hardwood floors?

No, quality area rugs won’t ruin hardwood floors.

A quality area rug is breathable to allow air circulation and absorb any damage that the floor would otherwise sustain. Additionally, the rug’s colors shouldn’t run, staining your hardwood floor.

Are rubber-backed rugs bad for wood floors?

Yes, rubber-backed rugs are bad for wood floors because the backing can discolor them and take away the shine. Or worse, leave permanent marks on your hardwood floor.

If you decide on using a rug with rubber backing on your wood floor, ensure you place it over a breathable rug pad like RugPro for high traffic areas and Super Lock Natural or Nature's Grip for low traffic areas.

Is rug tape safe for hardwood floors?

It depends on the type of rug tape you choose. Rug tapes explicitly made for wood floors are safe to use and won’t cause any damage.

However, carpet tapes not specified for wood floors may leave a residue on the floor. So, check the product descriptions and customer reviews on the tape to purchase the right one.

What are the best rug pads for hardwood floors?

The best rug pads for hardwood floors are those made with:

Are rugs necessary on hardwood floors?

No, rugs are not necessary on a hardwood floor. But there are benefits to having a rug on a hardwood floor, including:

  • Comfort — a rug provides a cozy feel and acts as a noise insulator
  • Décor — helps to unify colors in a room
  • Protection — acts as a layer of protection against scuffing and scraping by furniture
  • Warmth — a rug keeps your feet warm on cold days

What should you not put on a hardwood floor?

To protect your hardwood floor, here are some things that you shouldn’t put on them:

  • Rubber-backed rugs
  • Double-sided tape not explicitly made for hardwood floors
  • Plastic rug pads

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