How to Keep an Area Rug from Bunching Up on Carpet (The Easy Way)
The hassle-free way to keep an area rug from bunching up on carpet
The right rug can bring a room to life. But it will quickly go from showstopper to eyesore (and serious tripping hazard) if it keeps bunching up.
In this article, we'll reveal how to keep an area rug from bunching up on carpet – and why the fix might be a lot easier and cheaper than you'd expected.
Why you need a rug pad on carpet
A non-skid rug pad is an absolutely must for any area rug you're planning on putting on wall-to-wall carpet.
If you've ever placed a rug underneath a piece of heavy furniture in a carpeted room, then you know how much of a pain it is to keep it smooth. No matter how often you lift up the couch or coffee table to straighten out the kinks of that living room rug, it's just a matter of time until it buckles back up.
A non-slip rug pad puts a stop to this straight away, keeping your space looking stylish (and keeping you sane).
Put a rug down without a non-skid rug pad and it will slip on the carpet beneath, causing a serious tripping hazard. Plus, your rug will constantly be pushed and pulled out of place, leaving you rearranging it just about every time you walk past.
Place a pad underneath your throw rug to anchor it to the carpet, making it a lot safer and putting an end to annoying natural rug migration.
A non-skid pad will also absorb the impact of each footstep on your rug, taking the strain off its fibers and extending the life of a quality rug by years.
A rug pad will also protect the carpet underneath your area rug from dye transfer and wear and tear. It will trap dirt and debris and stop dust from building up too, making it a lot easier to vacuum under your rug – especially if it sits in an area that gets lots of traffic.
Rug pads even offer a bit of extra insulation – which is handy in living areas you want to keep cozy. The extra layer that the padding adds puts a barrier between you and the cold subfloor.
Last but not least, a rug pad provides a luxurious layer of cushioning that makes any area rug an absolute dream to walk on.
That's something you don't get with double-sided carpet tape....
which, by the way, tends to leave a sticky residue behind that spoils your rug and your carpet.
What to know before you buy
Not all rug pads are created equal. Some seem like a steal at first glance, but can cause serious damage to both your rugs and carpets as time goes by. So, while going for the cheapest rug pad money can buy might save you a few dollars upfront, it could cost you hundreds – or even thousands – down the line.
Any quality non-slip pad designed to be used on carpet will have a felt backing. This firmly grips your carpet without damaging it.
But at the bottom end of the market, you'll find plastic and PVC rug pads that have been coated in adhesives to enhance their grip by literally sticking to your floor.
They'll generally work a treat at first, but over time they're liable to damage and discolor your carpet and eventually stop working when that adhesive wears off... right onto your carpet and rug.
If that wasn't enough, some of the adhesives used in cheap rug pads (such as synthetic latex, which contains styrene) contain known carcinogens. Not exactly ideal in something you and your nearest and dearest are going to be walking on every day.
So, be sure to go for a rug pad made of quality materials, as a cheap pad could not only cost you a pretty penny in the long run but also put your health at risk.
Here's how to secure an area rug on top of carpet
Securing a rug on top of a carpet is as easy as placing a quality area rug pad underneath it.
But be sure to opt for a rug pad specifically designed to be used on carpet, as it will have a natural felt backing that has strong fibers which hook into the carpet pile and hold your rug in place.
Your best bet is to pick up a rug pad like...
Our Carpet Lock rug pad has been specially engineered to keep rugs of all kinds anchored to carpeted areas.
Its non-slip natural rubber top layer has been designed to prevent rugs from buckling, sliding and slipping, while its felt backing fastens itself to the fibers in your wall-to-wall carpet and holds firm.
With more than 45 ounces of felt and rubber per square yard, our Carpet Lock pad is a sturdy anchor for any area rug, making it the ideal choice for high-traffic areas.
Other things you want to know
Not exactly sure what the best pad is for keeping your area rug from bunching on carpet? Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about rug pads designed to be used on carpet.
Does any rug pad work on carpet?
In a word: no.
Because pads designed to sit on tile or hardwood floors have a rubber backing, they might actually make your rug slip more. So, be sure to always use a rug pad designed specifically for carpet on a carpeted area, such as our Carpet Lock pad.
What if I can't find a rug pad the same size as my rug?
If a rug pad doesn't go right to the edge of a rug, it won't anchor the whole thing down and the corners and edges will tend to get kicked up and folded over.
So, if you can't find a rug pad the same size as your rug, be sure to buy one that's too big – or even two rug pads if you've got a particularly big area rug – and then cut it to size. That way the whole rug will stay stuck to your carpet rather than causing an unsightly tripping hazard.
Does a rug pad work better than rug tape?
Double-sided carpet tape works the same way as the cheap rug pads we were talking about earlier. It doesn't hold a rug in place through the natural fibers of a felt backing– it literally sticks it to the carpet with adhesive.
The adhesive of double-sided tape disintegrates over time and reacts with both the carpet and the rug, sometimes discoloring or ripping off their fibers when you come to move your rug.
Use a pad to hold a rug in place on your carpet and you won't have to worry about this.
Does every rug need a pad to stop it from bunching up on carpet?
The lower the pile of your rug, the more likely it is to bunch up – and the more you need a rug pad.
But even the thickest rug will still slip on carpet without a pad, so your best bet is to opt for one no matter what kind of rug you're going for.
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