Important Tips Before Placing Rugs On Hardwood Floors

by Lynnette

doors, flooring and rugs

Lorraine wrote in recently:

I have been all over this site and can’t seem to find a answer on what I should use in front of the doors when you enter my log home with pine wooden floors.

So I did a little research, and here’s what I’ve learned about rugs on hardwood floors…



Rug Pads & Other Ways To Keep Rugs In Place

For the most part, there is nothing special about the type of rugs you would place on pine floors than those you would place on any other type of wood flooring.

This is according to the folks at Authentic Pine Floors, Inc. I gave them a call (800-283-6038) and asked them Lorraine’s question. They said that you don’t have to take any special precautions with pine floors than you would with any other hardwood flooring.

However, there may be a noticeable difference between the types of non-slip rug pads that are typically placed beneath rugs that are placed on hardwood floors:

To prevent slippage, purchase a quality vinyl rug pad — don’t use rubber, foam back or plastic pads as they may discolor your wood floor. ~Hardwood Floor Care & Maintenance

Taken a step further, I can attest to the fact that you should not use carpet tape underneath rugs on hardwood floors! They make carpet tape specifically for the purpose of keeping your rugs in place, but it’s not so great for your wood floors. So yes, it does indeed make a difference what type of non-slip gripping you put under your rugs for wood floors.

When we moved, we had a hard time trying to remove the sticky residue left behind by the carpet tape that had done such a great job of keeping our oriental rug in place in a high-traffic area (right in front of the door). It stayed in that one spot for 8 years, but removing the sticky gunk from the hardwood floor itself was quite a chore. I ended up using Goo Gone. It still took a lot of extra muscle and scraping with the hard plastic edge of the bottle cap. Thank goodness we had a thick polyurethane coating on our hardwood floors!

Many area rugs have backings that grip the floor but are unkind to wood floor finishes. The plasticizers in the backings actually damage the finish; it’s this chemical change that is creating the pattern you see on the floor. So, unfortunately, no amount of cleaning is going to remove what you see. Having the floor abraded and recoated by a professional may be enough to remove the marks; but it’s likely that the floor must be resanded. In the future, remember that only rugs with a natural backing are safe to use on a wood floor. ~Hardwood Floors Magazine


Sun Fading Around Rugs On Hardwood Floors

Whatever rugs or non-slip pads & protectors you might place on your hardwood floors… if your rooms happen to have a lot of windows, then the floors themselves are likely to lighten naturally from the sun — while the area underneath the rugs will remain the floor’s ‘true’ color.

We have experienced this in our current home.

In the kitchen, for example, we have rugs placed at the door to the garage, at the door to the backyard, underneath the refrigerator (because of the in-the-door water dispenser), and in front of the kitchen sink. Our hardwood pine floors are significantly darker in the spots underneath the rugs, than in the places where there are no rugs. Underneath the rugs, the flooring looks good as new — just like the day we installed it. Yes, we do have a lot of windows in the kitchen.

So it’s important to remember that sun fading happens with all types of rugs on all types of wood floors.

Wood is a natural product, and as it oxidizes and is exposed to light, it changes color. Some species — American cherry, Brazilian cherry and others, especially exotics — are known to change color drastically. There is no way to prevent this, although waiting as long as possible (ideally, at least six months) after the floor is installed to place rugs can help. So can moving area rugs from time to time. If you already have distinct lines on the floor, though, there isn’t usually a quick fix to remove them (even resanding won’t always remove the color difference). The unexposed part of the floor will eventually “catch up” to the rest of the floor, if you can live with looking at the floor as-is until then. ~Hardwood Floors Magazine


My Best Tips For Putting Rugs On Hardwood Floors

  1. Without a doubt, the placement of rugs in front of doors on wood floors is strongly recommended by most hardwood floor manufacturers. For the most part, it simply comes down to personal taste as to what types of rugs you want to place in front of the doors inside your home. The pine floors themselves don’t require anything special.
  2. Use vinyl non-slip protectors underneath your furniture and rugs — rather than using rubber, foam, or plastic mats. And you probably don’t want to use any form of adhesive carpet tape either. (As stated above, I did once, and I had to spend hours carefully using Goo Gone to remove the adhesive residue years later to avoid hurting the hardwood floor.)
  3. Finally, rotate your rugs occasionally to prevent sun-fade. Your best bet is to use window coverings during the sunniest parts of the day and to go for long periods of time without any rugs — if you truly want to lessen the effects of the sun shining through the windows.



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