Are Rubber Rug Pads Safe For Hardwood Floors? (Even The Synthetic Ones?)

Rubber rug pads are the most convenient rug options for pretty much all sorts of flooring systems. They’re affordable, easily replaceable, and most importantly, frequently washable. Hence, people don’t think twice before purchasing them for homes. But, are rubber rug pads safe for hardwood floors?

Natural i.e. organic rubber rug pads are great for hardwood floors, given that they don’t come with toxic adhesive tapes. A high-caliber rubber rug pad will last for ages with proper maintenance and provide next to no slippage and scuff marks. But it’s best to avoid synthetic rubber pads since the chemicals often do not react well with the protective sealants.

In today’s write-up, let’s go over the safety issues of natural and artificial rubber rug pads. Unlike synthetic rubber pads, organic rubber rug pads aren’t by default bad for floors. But with incorrect set-ups and low-quality build, they too can end up damaging your lavish hardwood floors massively.

Are Rubber Rug Pads Safe For Hardwood Floors?

Rubber rug pads, especially natural rubber rug pads are not only safe but also one of the best options for wood floors. They don’t scratch easily and have non-slip and non-skid properties unlike low-quality plastic rug pads and covers.

Still unsure as to whether you should go for the rubber rug pads for your hardwood floors or not? Take a look through the benefits that rubber rug pads can effortlessly provide –

Lack Of Chemicals

With wood floors, you don’t want to expose the surface to any unwanted chemicals. Even the use of common reducing agents like acetic acid, ammonia, etc. is frowned upon.

Organic rubber rug pads, despite being slightly pricier, are free from any such corrosive or carcinogenic chemicals. Chemicals like styrene foam, synthetic latex, synthetic polymers, etc. can ruin the quality of your hardwood finish and you can avoid all that by using natural/felt rubber pads.

Anti-Slip Properties

If you’ve used plastic rugs before, you might have noticed the layer of adhesive tapes underneath. Over time, these layers start to dissolve, especially with the presence of excess moisture and humidity in the environment.

Then the floors start to become sticky and you can see little brownish-black blotches all over the lavish wood. Natural rubber pads, on the other hand, don’t usually require external adhesive tapes as they have anti-slip properties of their own.

Moisture Retention

Rubber rug pads, in addition to protecting the floor from visible debris and dirt, can also retain moisture. Good quality rubber rugs can hold even a few liters of water at a time.

So, by holding back the moisture, rubber rugs ensure that the floor underneath is completely smooth and dry. Over time, the rugs also help the surface to dry naturally.

Leak Prevention

The whole point of using a rug is to make sure that the underlying surface stays protected. The strong polymers in rubber rug pads help to prevent any unforeseeable leaks or seeping.

Hence, even if the carpet or the overlying blanket covers suffer from unfortunate color degradation, the rubber pad will keep the color from leaching into the ground. 

What About Recycled Rubber Rug Pads For Wood Floors?

rubber rug on hardwood-floor

100% recycled natural rubber pads are just as great for both solid and engineered hardwood floors. They are eco-friendly and do not usually come with any harsh chemicals either.

You can use recycled rubber rugs as large area rugs and in those places where a lot of activity happens. The recycled rugs are mostly made of recycled natural rubber, felt, jute, etc.

Most recycled rugs are extra soft, very affordable for the price, and machine-washable as well. As a result, recycled rubber pads are an overall win-win option for hardwood floors.

Do Rubber Rug Pads Damage Hardwood Floors?

Rubber rug pads come with their share of problems like any other household items. With hardwood floors, you have to stay extra careful since renovation is extremely expensive.

Hence, it’s important to stay ahead of the curve so you can stay prepared for dire situations. Take a look through this table to find out how rubber rug pads damage hardwood floors and what you can do to prevent them –

Damaging IssuesCausesSolutions
Black-brown sticky blotchesLow-quality adhesives (black-brown blotches happen when the glue dissolves and sticks directly to the floor instead. the black-brown color originates from all the dirt that gets trapped in the sticky floors)Stop using rubber rug pads with sticky bottoms
Off-putting burnt smellProduction of Off-gas (Byproduct of the chemical reactions between synthetic rubber and multiple sealants)Get rid of synthetic rubber pads for hardwood floors
StainingNegative chemical reactionsClean and polish the area
Scuff marksHarsh bottoms (mostly happens when recycled rugs have pads with jute fibers) Get better quality organic rubber pads

Frequently Asked Questions

Are rubber rugs washable?

Many rubber rugs nowadays come with washability features. You can separate the rug covers and pads to clean them up separately. Usually, the covers are like blankets and you can wash them like any other piece of clothing item.

As for the rubber pads, it’s not recommended to put them inside a washing machine. You can manually dust them off and use a clean mop to slowly wipe away all the dirt.

In most cases, you shouldn’t use water or any sort of liquid cleaners at all to clean the rubber pads. The water can dissolve the adhesive tapes and render your rugs useless.

Why is it bad to use synthetic rubber rug pads?

You get synthetic rubber by processing natural rubber with different types of chemicals such as PVC, latex, etc. These chemicals react negatively with the polyurethane and other oil-based/water-based chemicals in the sealants.

In some cases, with the presence of high temperature and necessary catalysts, they can dissolve the sealants as well. Hence, the hardwood floors lose their luster, become dull and end up being a lot more prone to scratches and scuff marks.

Will soaking ruin my rubber rug pads?

Water is no good for either rubber or wood. So, it’s not advised to soak your rubber rug pads in water to clean them.

To properly clean these rugs, follow the specific instructions attached to their packages. And stay away from common dissolvers like ammonia, rubbing alcohol, vinegar, etc.

How long should I wait before placing rug pads on freshly treated and sealed hardwood floors?

Depending on the intensity of the sealant material, drying process, extent of construction area, etc. it can take up to two to three weeks before you can place anything on the floors. Again, with a constant uprise in the humidity level in some places, the process can take a lot longer than expected.

The general rule of thumb is to wait for at least a few weeks before applying or placing anything on freshly treated wood floors. You can also ask the construction managers for a specified timetable of the surface drying period and other variables.

Final Verdict

So, are rubber rug pads safe for hardwood floors? The answer boils down to three important factors – material, adhesion, and maintenance.

Organic rubber rug pads can effortlessly protect the quality of your hardwood floors by soaking in the moisture from the environment and preventing scratch marks and stain spots. However, if the rug comes with low-quality adhesive tapes, the somewhat toxic stickiness can soon raise safety concerns.

Similarly, synthetic rubber pads can also react with the polyurethane in the protective sealants & damage the layers. Hence, if you’re getting rubber-backed rugs for your precious hardwood floors, get the high-caliber organic ones even if they cost a little extra. Low-quality rugs with utterly bad adhesion may come cheap but they can have long-lasting detrimental effects on both solid and engineered wood floors.

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