Which Side of a Rug Pad Goes Down? (How to Install a Rug Pad)

rug pad installation instructions

It might seem like an obvious thing to know, but it's quite common for people to place rug pads the wrong way around. If faced incorrectly a rug pad may not protect your floors as you'd expect it to. Or worse, it could even create a hazard to the people living in your home.

To help make sure you don't make this all-to-forgivable mistake, this post will review how to place a rug pad under an area rug the correct way.

The role of a correctly installed rug pad

The main goal of a rug pad is to place a layer between your soft area rug and the less-than-soft underlying floor or surface. A rug pad does this equally as much for aesthetic as for practical reasons. It helps avoid damage to either the bottom of the rug or the underlying flooring while also keeping the area rug in better positioning for longer.

Installing a rug pad

Before proceeding to lay a rug pad straight onto your flooring, you should first clear out any furniture and items in the way of your work area. Once this is done, remove any existing dust or dirt so as not to create a spot for your newly installed rug padding to slip around.

You should also decide on which angle and positioning best fit both your room’s overall layout and your specific needs regarding comfort, cushioning, and protection. Removing furniture will help with this.

Once your spot is clean and free of obstructions, here comes the important part: installing your rug pad the right way down (or up).

To determine which way you should lay it depends on the type of rug pad you are installing. Below we've listed the most common types of rug pads and which way they should be installed:

Jute rug pad - in most cases, a rug pad made from jute has a rubberized bottom that works to stop slipping. This rubber layer also adds an extra layer of padding to protect floors. With that in mind, a jute rug pad should be installed with this rubber backing facing down towards the floor.

Felt rug pad - a felt rug pad often has a stiff side and a soft side. So to provide your hardwood floor or carpeted area with the best protection it's best to face your felt rug pad soft side down.

Carpet rug pad - a carpet pad will have a rubber side and a softer side. To face a carpet pad the right way simply lay the pad so the rubber side is up and the softer side is down.

Rubber rug pad - most of the time a rubber rug pad or natural rubber rug pad will have an obvious soft side and a side covered by a rug gripper pattern. And you guessed it, the soft side goes down towards the floor and the rug gripper pattern goes upwards to hold a rug in place.

PVC rug pad - treat PVC rug pads fairly similar to rubber rug pads. Simply determine which side is soft and which side has the rug gripper pattern and then face it accordingly; soft side down, pattern side up.

Memory foam rug pad - a memory foam rug pad, like those used on carpet floors or particularly hard surfaces, will sometimes have an obvious side that goes down but sometimes not. For instance, some memory foam rug padding has a felt pad or rubber pad that lines its underside. If this is the case, then face this side towards the floor. In other cases, memory foam rug pads are simply constructed all the way through with memory foam. If you find your rug pad is like this, it doesn't have an up or downside and you can simply install it any way you like.

Future rug pad care

Most of the time, rug pads are fairly maintenance-free. However, there are times a rug pad will require a little TLC.

In particular, take note of your rug pad’s care instructions. Every rug pad is different, and its instructions will give you the best idea of how to keep it looking and performing well.

Although as a general rule, it’s a good idea to take the vacuum to the pad every few months or so and straighten out any edges as they sometimes curl over time. Oh, and if it’s not looking or smelling so great, you can always give it a quick wash using a gentle cycle in the washing machine.

Selecting the right rug pad for the job

Another great way to ensure your rug pad performs at its best is to select the right one for the job. Getting this right will not only offer your floors the best protection but it will also take the headache out of trying to determine which way around a rug pad should be laid.

To make things easy, all our rug pads have a rubber backing, aside from some of our felt and memory foam pads which are multi-directional (in other words, they don't have an up or downside). This makes it super easy to determine which way our rug pads should be laid. And all but our carpet rug pads, which require the rubber side to face up, the rest of our range face down with the rubber backing facing the floor.

To help you out further, here are the best rug pads that we recommend for different types of flooring.


How to install 2-sided carpet pad with eight by ten rug

The Superior-Lock pad is a premium, luxury rug pad that combines the plush cushioning of recycled felt and rubber with one-of-a-kind, high-performing checkered natural rubber backing. This unique design provides superior grip and non-skid protection that makes it the ideal choice for high-traffic areas.

Made right here in the USA, Superior-Lock can be used under almost any rug to keep it in place and extend its life. This unique design provides grip for rugs of all shapes and sizes, creating a soft landing area for tired feet.

Best of these types of floors:

  • Vinyl floors
  • Polyurethane-finished floors
  • Heated floors
  • Cork floors

Best for these types of rugs:

  • Smaller rugs
  • Jute rugs
  • Loop rugs


How to set up carpet mat with 8'x10' rug

The unique Contour-Lock is a unique product that features a layer of natural rubber on the back, which creates a strong bond with the floor and prevents movement. It provides great protection for a range of different flooring types without raising or bulking up your rug. Contour Lock is also engineered to provide a strong grip with moderate levels of cushioning. The rug pad’s flexible design conforms well to both low profile and high profile rugs.

Best of these types of floors:

  • Hardwood floors
  • Vinyl floors
  • Laminate floors
  • Tile floors
  • Heated floors

Best for these types of rugs:

  • Larger rugs
  • Runner rugs
  • Flat-woven rugs
  • Kilim rugs
  • Dhurrie rugs
  • Soumak rugs


How to install a non-slip carpet pad under 8x10 rug

Eco-Plush is an eco-friendly, sustainable rug pad that can be used under a wide range of different types of rugs. Made from 100% heat-pressed felt, this tightly woven material provides cushioning and comfort under those high-traffic areas of your home. And because it's non-porous, you can use the same rug pad for years to come.

Eco-Plush will not move under your rugs and will grip firmly to the floor to prevent the rug from slipping. This exclusive design keeps your rugs in place - even on hardwood floors.

Best for these types of floors:

  • Hardwood floors
  • Bamboo floors
  • Linoleum
  • Basement and Concrete floors
  • Heated floors
  • Carpeted floors

Best for these types of rugs:

  • Larger rugs
  • Oriental rugs
  • Thin rugs

Placing your rug pad the correct way around can make all the difference when it comes to protecting your area rugs and flooring. Sure, facing a rug pad the wrong way certainly isn't the end of the world. Although, if you want to make sure you're getting the best protection possible and not encouraging things like molds and dust to build up, it's definitely worth getting right.

To check out our full range of non-slip rug pads, available to you via free and fast shipping, click on the button below.

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