Do Rug Pads Damage Hardwood Floors? Know About The Rug Pad Materials


Rug pads are a necessity in every home. They keep your rugs from sliding all over the floor, provide insulation and an extra layer of cushion. Rug pads are also known for damaging hardwood floors. Whether or not a rug pad damages floors depends on several factors. Read on to learn everything that you need to know to prevent damage to hardwood floors from rug pads.

How Can Rug Pads Damage Hardwood Floors?

Rug pads are essential for homeowners that own a rug. However, there are several types of rug pads that can cause costly damage to wooden floors.

Pads that contain floor adhesive can damage the floor because they stick to the floor. The adhesive contains chemicals that will wear away at the varnish on wood flooring, resulting in discolored floors. Once the varnish is gone, spills and chemicals will be absorbed by the wood, causing irreparable damage to the entire floor.

Many synthetic rug pads also contain toxic chemicals, such as PVCs and phthalates. When these are released into the air, they are absorbed by the wood floor that is underneath them. This can slowly strip the floor and harm the wood underneath the varnish.

Cheap Rug Pads Typically Contain Chemicals

Unfortunately, there are a lot of cheap rug pads available on the market. These rug pads are effective at keeping a rug in place, but they are more likely to cause damage to floors.

Affordable rug pads are often made from synthetic materials because they are cheaper for companies to purchase. They can then pass on those savings to the customer, which is why the finished product is so cheap.

Synthetic materials are known for being full of toxic chemicals. Most consumers will smell these chemicals when they open the package. This is due to the off-gassing of the chemicals in the rug. While the odor will fade away after a few days, the rug pad will continue to leech chemicals.

These harmful chemicals will slowly leech onto your hardwood floor, causing a significant amount of damage to polyurethane finishes. Once this protective layer is gone from your floor, the wood can become permanently damaged. Instead, choose quality pads made from natural materials.

Know Your Rug Pad Materials

Rug pads are made from various materials. Some of these rug pad materials will be synthetic and full of chemicals while others will be natural, and not harm wood flooring. The main rug pad materials that rug pads are made from are PVC, rubber, jute, hair, felt and memory foam.

Rubber Rug Pad

A rubber rug pad is wonderful at keeping rugs in place. However, there are two different types of rubber rug pads. Synthetic rubber pads are often made from materials like PVC or synthetic latex. These contain a large number of chemicals that can damage wooden flooring. You can also find natural rubber pads. Quality pads made of natural materials are the best pad options.

It’s critical to purchase a natural rubber rug pad instead of a synthetic one. The natural rubber found in natural rubber pads is derived from a real rubber tree. It does not contain chemicals that will leech into the air or onto the floor. This type of pad will last longer than a synthetic rubber one and offer superior floor protection.

PVC and/or Plastic

PVC and plastic are both used to make synthetic rugs and rug pads. These products are packed with toxic chemicals that are known as hormone disruptors. Not only will they harm your entire family as they breathe in the chemicals, but they will also damage hardwood flooring.

Many of these rug pads are known for stripping the floor finish from hardwood floors. Once wood floor finishes are gone, you can face permanent damage to floors. Although these rug pads are cheap and wonderful for keeping a rug in place, they are not worth purchasing. Instead, look into a quality pad for hardwood floors.


Jute rug pads are a popular, natural alternative to synthetic options. However, they are not a good idea for hardwood flooring. Rug pads made from jute do little to keep small rugs in place, and they rarely stay in the same spot underneath the rug.

The natural material is scratchy, and will inevitably scratch against hardwood flooring every time the rug pad moves. This will result in several small scratches on the wood floors. Don’t purchase this type of pad for hardwood floors. Instead, consider other options to keep your colored hardwood floors safe. Natural rubber is a great option to protect your floor from scratches.


Hair rug pads are naturally softer than other pads. They are made from soft animal hair, which has several benefits. This natural material does not contain allergens and provides extra cushioning underneath rugs to make them more comfortable. These are a great option for homeowners searching for a rug pad for hardwood floors.

It’s important to be cautious when buying rug pads made from animal hair, though. This material does not help keep rugs on hardwood floors in place. It’s common to find a hybrid rug pad with natural animal hair for comfort and backing to keep it in place.

Double-check the tag to guarantee that the backing is made from natural rubber instead of synthetic materials. A natural rubber rug pad backing will not damage wood floor finishes and offers a firm grip to keep rugs in place. This is a wonderful type of pad that won’t hurt your maple floor as plastic pads will.

Felt Rug Pads

Felt rug pads are a common alternative to rug pads made from animal hair. They provide extra cushioning just as pads made from animal hair do. It’s critical to understand what the felt is made from before purchasing a rug pad for hardwood floors. Felt can be made from natural materials or synthetic materials. Because synthetic materials often contain chemicals that can harm wood flooring, it’s critical to make sure that you are purchasing a rug made from natural felt. Reading the tag on the rug can be helpful.

Rug pads that are made of felt do not stay in place on wood flooring. That’s why it’s common to find them with a rubber or latex backing. Check the tag to make sure that the backing is made from natural material instead of synthetic materials. The best option for hardwood floors is a natural rubber rug pad backing.

Memory Foam

Memory foam rug pads provide more extra cushioning underfoot than any other type of pad. However, memory foam is known for containing a variety of chemicals. When products are imported, it can be difficult to determine what exactly is in the memory foam. This means that some memory foam rug pads might release chemicals that will damage the wood floor finishes on wood flooring, but some might not. It can be impossible to tell.

If this pad does have a backing on it to provide a firm grip, it can be made of either synthetic or natural materials. Avoid rug pads that have a backing made from synthetic materials to protect your hardwood floors.

Homeowners that are interested in a rug pad that provides extra cushioning can opt for a thick rug pad made from felt or hair to make their rug feel more comfortable.

Avoid Pads for Hardwood Flooring With Adhesive Backing

Adhesive backing helps rug pads grip the floor, guaranteeing that they stay in place thanks to the firm grip that adhesive provides. It’s common to find rugs that are made from felt and animal hair with an adhesive backing. However, this type of backing tends to stick to the floor like a sticker instead of gripping the floor. This can damage your floor when you pull the adhesive off the floor, and these backings are loaded with harmful chemicals.

Beware Of Labels

It’s common for companies to advertise that a rug pad is organic. Natural rubber pads that have both rubber and memory foam may only be advertised as being natural rug pads. Avoid accidentally buying a rug pad with harmful chemicals that will harm your hardwood flooring by carefully reading the manufacturer tag or researching the company that made the rug pad.

What is the Best Type of Rug Pad for Wood Floors?

If you want to protect your floors, and family, from harsh chemicals that can cause a significant amount of damage, opt for a natural rug pad. Quality pads made from felt or animal hair are a great option for homeowners that would  like to add a bit of cushion to their rug. If you need a non-slip rug pad, make sure that it has a natural rubber rug pad backing. This will provide you with a firm grip to prevent slipping and will not damage your floor.

Finding a high quality rug pad is essential to prolong the life of your handmade rug and protect the floor underneath. Browse through the rest of our blogs to learn more important information about rugs and rug pads.