Rugs that creep, curl, and slide across the floor are not only unattractive; they are dangerous. The National Institute of Health (NIH) reports that nearly 38,000 people age 65 and over are treated in emergency departments each year for falls resulting from loose rugs or carpets.
The simple solution is to remove all the rugs and eliminate the hazards. But area rugs and mats add character to our decor, make hard floors more comfortable and warm, and help absorb noise. So, here are 11 ways to stop rugs from sliding on hard surface floors and carpets so you can keep the look and comfort you love.
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Rubber Waffle Rug Pads
Rubber waffle rug pads can be purchased online or in the home furnishings or home improvements sections of large retailers. The pads are thin and usually sold pre-cut for common area-rug sizes. They are easy to install, affordable, and help keep rugs in place on hard surface floors.
However, they do not add much padding to the rug and lose their "gripping quality" quickly as dust and dirt accumulate in the open grid pattern. They can even damage some floor finishes.
Most "rubber" waffle rug pads are made of plastics that can bond with hardwood polyurethane floor sealant over time. When the rug pad is removed, a sticky waffle grid can remain on the floor that can only be removed by refinishing the floor surface.
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Rubberized Shelf Liner
The same rubberized shelf liner that keeps your dishware and glasses in place can be used to keep a rug from slipping. While similar to the more heavy-duty waffle rug pad, the liner is less expensive but much thinner. A downside is that it usually comes in only 12-inch widths. To create a larger pad, the shelf liner strips can be taped, sewn, or glued together.
As with the waffle rug pad, care should be taken because the shelf liner can react with floor finishes leaving permanent damage.
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Natural Rubber Pads
Natural rubber pads are usually created with solid grid surfaces that work well with thin, flat-weave rugs. Made from natural rubber, they are more expensive than waffle rug pads but do not contain chemicals that can harm floor finishes. While rubber pads do not provide much cushion, they do provide excellent protection from rug slippage.
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Felt rug pads are available in a variety of thicknesses and are usually cut and sized to order. Felt pads add the most cushion to a rug and help prevent wear to the fibers. However, they do not provide a great deal of protection from slipping unless the rug is quite large.
The top-of-the-line pads combine felt with a natural rubber backing fused to the felt with heat. These are ideal for hardwood floors because they provide exceptional cushioning to the rug and the gripping quality of the rubber to prevent slippage.Continue to 5 of 11 below.
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Gripper tape comes in a roll and is usually two to three inches wide. The tape is applied directly to the floor in a grid or outline that will fit the edges of the rug. It works best for rugs that are 4 feet by 6 feet or smaller. The rug can be removed for easier cleaning, and the gripper tape can be easily removed from the floor and repositioned.
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Double-Sided Carpet Tape
Double-sided carpet tape is sold in a roll or pre-cut squares. Carpet tapes can be found in varying thickness and adhesive quality. The most durable tape has an acrylic adhesive on both sides and works well for rugs made from synthetic materials like polypropylene.
Before using carpet tape, read the directions carefully to make sure that you are choosing the correct type of tape for the flooring under the rug.
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Hook and Loop Anchors
Hook and loop anchors (brand name Velcro) work just like the closures on kid's shoes. Each side of the anchor has an adhesive coating that is applied to either the floor or the rug. The two sides then come together to form a strong bond that holds the rug in place.
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The little gripper-dots on fuzzy socks that keep us from slipping are made of silicone. The same technique can be used to keep rugs in place. Silicone caulking comes in squeezable tubes or in tubes that require a caulking gun for application. It can be purchased in a clear or colored formula.
To use, simply apply dots or strips in a grid pattern on the back of the rug. Wait for the silicone to dry thoroughly before placing it on the floor or carpet.Continue to 9 of 11 below.
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While not as durable as silicone caulking, hot glue can also be applied to the back of the rug to prevent slipping. It will dry more quickly than silicone, but test it first to make sure that the temperature doesn't melt your rug's fibers.
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Carpet Tape and Rug Pad
Just like wearing a belt and suspenders to keep pants in place, combining carpet tape and a rug pad is going to keep your rug the doubly secure on a hard floor. Apply the tape to the back of the rug, and adhere the pad to the other side of the tape. You can even add another layer of security by using the carpet tape to secure the rug pad to the floor.
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If you are placing a rug over wall-to-wall carpeting, rug pins can be used to secure the edges of the rug. The pins are angled to secure the area rug to the underlying carpet without piercing the flooring. The top of the pin is flat and clear to make it less visible when in place.
Rosen T, Mack KA, Noonan RK. Slipping and tripping: fall injuries in adults associated with rugs and carpets. J Inj Violence Res. 2013;5(1):61-69. doi:10.5249/jivr.v5i1.177