Do Rugs Damage Hardwood Floors?

Most hardwood floors come in plain monochrome designs, and rugs are needed to complement them, but some people complain their hardwood floors aren’t looking as perfect as they were after they used some types of rugs. Others complain that the hardwood floors are damaged.

It’s possible that their hardwood floors may have been damaged by the kind of rugs they used.

Hardwood floors can be damaged when the rugs spread on them are rubber-backed and moisture is left to seep through, thereby causing mold infestation, but this can be prevented by using rug pads, rugs with woven backing or waterproof rugs.

Do Rugs Damage Hardwood Floors

Can rug be used on a hardwood floor?

Different rugs have different features, and you can use most of them on a hardwood floor at zero risk of causing damages. Still, when the right information, materials, and features are not considered, you might end up purchasing a rug that’s capable of causing damage to the hardwood floor.

Can rug damage hardwood floor?

Although rugs are a great choice for hardwood floors because of the added layer of protection and the aesthetics, there are features present or instances where rugs can damage the hardwood floor.

What type of rug damages the hardwood floor?

Hardwood floors could get damaged when you use rubber-backed rugs. This happens because the chemicals in the rubber can leave permanent marks on the floor or discolor the wood.

Latex rugs, pads, and grips inhibit ventilation and potentially cause irreparable damage to the finish of a hardwood floor.

Jute rugs are also unsafe to use on hardwood floors especially high traffic areas because they ruin the floor over time.

Polypropylene rugs are not safe on any hardwood floors unless a rug pad is used because it causes severe floor discoloration and stretches the wood over time.

How to prevent rug from damaging hardwood floors

The following are the preventive measures:

Rug pads

Using rug pads with your rug prevents the rug from sliding around on the floor.

What makes a rug pad ideal is the material and quality. High-quality pads like natural rubber, felt, and rubber and felt are the ideal rug pads for your hardwood floor. Low-quality rug pads are made from a synthetic fiber called PVC (polyvinyl chloride) which discolors and stains the hardwood surface. You should also avoid rubber and latex pad.

With natural rubber, the floor is safe from adhesion and stains. It is eco-friendly and has a non-slip feature.

Felt pads are known for their cushioning effects. It gives a comfy feeling and is great for the living room and bedroom areas. However, it provides weak adhesion, unlike the rubber pad. 

Rubber and felt pads are a win-win situation. It provides both non-slip and ultra-soft cushion features. Due to its non-toxic nature, your floor is safe from the risk of discoloration. 

Use of rugs with woven backing

Latex rugs trap moisture and gases that can stain or damage your hardwood floor; hence, using a rug with woven backing instead is ideal. 

Wool rugs allow plenty of air to pass through their breathable fibers, so they are safe for hardwood floors.

Use waterproof rugs

Spills from pets, appliances, or accidental spills can create a long-term problem out of a temporary nuisance. When moisture seeps through the seams of a rug onto your hardwood, it can create staining or swelling. To prevent this, a waterproof rug should be used. To cover all loopholes, ensure that your rug doesn’t have color or dyes that will bleed through its seams when dampened. Wool and synthetic fiber rugs tend to be waterproof and colorfast. 

Using the right rug pile

The place a rug will be placed should determine the pile density. For instance, in an office setting, you should use a low pile rug so that it won’t impede the swivel chair movements in the office. A high rug pile should be used in the home, especially in the living room and areas with heavy furniture, because this pile feature makes it less susceptible to dents. 

What are the benefits of using rugs on a hardwood floor?


Hardwood floors can be quite cold, especially during certain times or seasons. It not only affects you when you walk across the room, but it also emanates cooler temperatures to other parts of your room. Thus, rugs come in handy here. They have great insulating property, making the floor much warmer to walk on. This can also reduce the cost of heating your room.

Noise reduction

Hardwood floors expand and contract with the weather and humidity conditions surrounding them. This produces creak and pop-like sounds when pressure is exerted during movement. This could pose quite a distraction; hence, overlaying your floor with a rug helps reduce this incidence by absorbing the sound from the floor and the room, reducing the echo.

Better grip

One major challenge of hardwood flooring is that it creates a slippery surface. This is quite disadvantageous for adults when not cautious or for young children who run around the house as it increases the likelihood of domestic accidents happening. A rug helps eliminate this risk, especially when it is properly fixed.

Aesthetic purposes

You can use rugs for decorative purposes, and they are great choices to add color, texture, and boundaries to your hardwood floor. You can achieve this with neutral colors, tones, or something bold and patterned.

What areas of a room should you use a rug?

There are suitable and unsuitable areas that rugs should and should not be placed. However, knowing the area and what rug dimension will suit it is also important. Let’s discuss the areas and their ideal placements.

Suitable areas

  • Dining 

It is advisable to place the rug under the dining in the central point, ensuring that it covers all the chair areas. 

  • Living room 

When considering rug covering in this area, the size of the room is crucial. 

For smaller living rooms, a 5’by 8′ is recommended. A larger rug of 8′ by 10′ is workable for mid-sized rooms. A 9′ by 13′ rug is a good fit for larger rooms. 

  • Bedroom

The size of the bed plays a crucial role in determining the size of the rug to be used. For a queen bed, the ideal size would be an 8′ by 10′ rug, while a king size bed would be best suited with a 9′ by 12′ rug- this same size works for a two twin bed in a children’s room.  Regarding placement, the most preferred way is to place the rug partially under the bed. 

Unsuitable areas

Rugs are unsuitable for places with frequent moisture because they absorb the moisture and lead to moldy conditions, which damages the floor and causes health issues. These include the bathroom and kitchen.


Rugs have superpowers in all shades and hues and can transform a rather bland floor and room into a tasteful piece of art, infusing color and style into its space. However, it is important to use the appropriate kind of rug that won’t damage the hardwood floor and to prevent spillage of moisture on the preferred rug as too much spillage could foster mold infestation, affect the rug and damage the hardwood floor.

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