What You Need to Know Before Getting a Thick Rug Pad

Living room with rug on hardwood floor

You invested in a plush area rug to keep your family comfortable. Yet somehow, it's not fulfilling your needs.

The scratches on your floors keep increasing. Your floor feels hard beneath the rug and worst of all, your kid had a nasty injury while playing on it the other day.

You're wondering; what’s the solution here?

It then hits you that if you invested in a thick rug pad, your floors would be safer and the surface more comfortable.

So, what size rug pad do you need, and how thick of a rug pad should you buy?

Rug pads vary in thickness from as thin as 1/16” to as thick as 1/2".

It’s easy to believe that more padding will add more functionality, protection, and security.

The truth is, while thickness matters when choosing rug pads, it’s not as simple as getting the thickest pad you can find.

Discover what rug pads qualify as thick, their benefits, and whether you need to buy one for your rug.

What qualifies as a thick rug pad?

A thick rug pad is at least ¼” thick and is made with either felt, felt-rubber, or memory foam.

Thanks to the added weight, thick pads won’t slide around. They leverage this extra mass, without requiring the help of a non-slip backing to remain stable.

Thick pads range from ¼" to ½."

Five benefits of a thick rug pad

Dense rug pads are ideal for a larger area or oriental rug. They can withstand bulky rugs and boost interior comfort because the added weight anchors the pad in place.

Extra cushioning

Thicker pads make use of cushioning for extra comfort.

One excellent example of a dense cushioned rug pad is our Eco Plush rug pad. This is made of 100% felt to deliver a luxurious feel underfoot. The thicker ⅜ or ½-inch options offer more rug cushion and elevate plushness.

Better floor protection

The performance of a rug pad will increase with more padding. Here are several ways extra layering can protect your floors:

The combined weight of a large rug and rug pad will prevent sliding. This also prevents scratches on your floors.The extra padding bars chemicals, leached dye, or spilled drinks from reaching your hardwood floors.Thick pads are dense enough to absorb any damage from the weight of your furniture. You can protect your hardwood floors from fading finishes or gouging.

More soundproofing

Did you know that one of the reasons you need a rug pad for your area rugs is to improve soundproofing?

Well, a rug pad is essential for absorbing the sound from chairs or falling objects. It can also aid in eliminating echoes and dampening incoming noise. This is a prominent property in thicker pads that can repel or absorb noise that might pass through your floors.

Mason Wyatt, a soundproofing expert with City Soundproofing, says,

"To lessen the sound of footsteps and the odd dropped object in a room, you can install a thick felt pad to dampen sounds and minimize any echo."

More effective insulation

Rise says that 15% of all heat loss in a home occurs through the floors and the basements.

sources of heat loss from Rise

Can rug pads prevent heat loss?

Extra cushioned pads store heat and help to warm your home. A cushioned pad creates a heat-resistant buffer between floor and rug. They provide a soft, warm surface to trigger the cozy feeling you desire when it's chilly out.

During the summer, the extra layers in your pad will resist heat, keeping your house cooler for longer. The warm air won’t circulate as well throughout your home, and you will enjoy a pleasant indoor atmosphere.

It’s best to use thick felt pads on heated floors or in hot areas. Felt rug pads have high thermal resistance to block heat and ensure optimal comfort indoors.

Provides a layered look

No one likes the bunching or wrinkling rugs that can create tripping hazards. More frustrating still, this wrinkling can make your space look ugly.

Denser pads will keep your rug in place and impart a neat look throughout your room. Even lush memory foam rug pads like the Cloud Comfort will provide a layered look and uplift your room.

When to use a thick rug pad

Yes Rug Pads

Are there times when you MUST use a heavier rug pad?

Yes. Use a thick rug pad if:

  • Your furniture is heavy and likely to tear your rug or gouge your hardwood floors. A lush felt rug pad or memory foam will help absorb the damaging load.
  • You have thicker, large pile rugs like Persian or oriental rugs. A plush and sustainable 100% felt rug pad offers lasting lift and won't harm your rug.
  • You have children at home, or you want a comfortable place where you can sit.
  • You live in an apartment and your neighbors won’t stop complaining about stampeding noise from above. Soundproofing pads will help absorb footfall and improve your room's ability to deflect the noise.

When not to use a thick rug pad

No Rug Pad

And is there a time when heavier pads might not make the best pick?

  • If your rug is a flat weave or smaller, you will want a rug pad with a natural grip instead of a thicker one. In this case, a non-slip rug pad with a rubber backing will grip floors, keep your rug in place, and prevent slips.
  • A thinner rug pad is better when you're using medium-size or larger rugs in high-traffic areas. For instance, you need a slim but durable rug where the door is frequently opened.
  • Also, pair a lighter rug with a thinner rug pad. A low-profile felt-rubber rug pad is one of the best options to protect floors while stopping light rugs from slipping.

How to choose the right rug pad thickness

The rug pad thickness you choose depends on the size of your rug. At the same time, experts don't recommend the thickest padding for the thickest rug.

Thin or flatweave rugs (under 1/4")

Thin or flatweave rugs will often slip, bunch up or curl at the ends. These work best with a ⅛ or ¼-inch rug pad. A felt and rubber combo works best with flatweave rugs, providing a natural grip to prevent sliding, bunching, and wrinkling.

Medium to heavy rugs (1/4"-1/2")

A heavier or thicker rug will match with a ¼ or ⅜-inch rug pad. The right size gives the perfect cushion for comfort and provides floor protection.

The thickest rugs (above 1/2")

What if your rug is ½-inch or more? Matching a large rug with the thickest pad can result in tripping hazards. Too much padding can cause overly high levels and make movement uncomfortable.

Do you still need help choosing the right pad? Learn how to select the best rug pad for your area rugs.

FAQs about thick rug pads

It can be tricky to choose the best type of rug pad for your living areas, home office, and hallways. Here are a few more questions that we often answer for our customers.

What is the thickest rug pad?

The thickest rug pad is ½-inch thick.

Should a rug pad be the same size as the area rug?

No. The area rug needs to be slightly larger to completely hide your rug pad. Give it an extra inch at the corners. Match the thicknesses unless your rug is too heavy.

Does a rug pad make a rug softer?

Heavy memory foam or felt rug pads will provide more cushioning underfoot. It will make a hard surface feel soft and luxurious.

How thick should an area rug pad be?

The recommended thickness is between ¼ and ⅜ inches.

What Is the best rug thickness?

Medium to heavy area rugs that range between ⅜ and ½ inches will suit a range of needs. Thinner rugs are a tripping hazard and won't offer enough buffering for the optimal protection of floors.

How thick should a felt rug pad be?

1/2", 3/8", and 1/4" felt rug pads are the best options for maximum comfort. Dense heat-pressed felt fibers will provide more mass and fluff, and are also safe for your floors.

How can I make my rug softer?

Lay a dense felt or memory foam rug pad underneath.

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