Advise Me Mr. Grillo, What Type of Padding Is Best For My Oriental Rugs?

My recommendations are based on my many years experience seeing how various types of padding have performed in my clients’ homes.

Firstly, it is important to understand that padding has two very important functions. One is to prevent slipping under scatter rugs and the other is to increase the life of your Oriental rug. Because it can absorb impact, some types of padding can increase the life of your rug by as much as 40 %. According to laboratory tests conducted some years ago by Consumer Guide Reports the type of padding that absorbs the most impact is felt.

For many years all hair and hair and jute felt pads were the only types available. I recommend a felt pad which is now being made from recycled synthetic materials. Moths do not eat these fibers and it is much longer lasting than hair and jute. The firmness and stability of synthetic felt give it yet another advantage, it can adjust the unevenness is some older wood floors and can eliminate any ripples and bumps that cause uneven wear when a rug lies on the floor without a pad. To truly be effective, I believe a dense ½ inch thick pad is needed. But a word of caution: it slips under scatter rugs.

You must avoid sponge or foam type padding! They are too soft and can cause “bottoming out” which stresses the foundation of Oriental rugs especially of thin finely woven rugs, flat weaves or antiques. In my experience, I have seen sponge and foam padding disintegrated to dust and some actually stuck to the wood floors!

One of the best pads to come onto the market is a ¼ inch synthetic felt, bonded to a thin solid rubber backing. It can serve two purposes: it is excellent at anchoring the rug preventing slipping and its’ felt layer helps extend the life of the rug. A sliding rug can cause a very injurious fall. I especially recommend this type of padding for all scatter rugs and also room-size rugs that do not have a thick pile like antiques, needlepoints, Aubussons and all kinds of flat weaves. Another consideration is to use it under thick rugs as it is thinner than synthetic felt and many people prefer not to add much to the thickness of their rug. Another use for this type of padding is under Oriental rugs placed over wall to wall carpeting. It eliminates the nuisance of rippling, buckling and adjusting, not to mention preventing a fall.

Most of the non-slip pads available and that are the most frequently used by consumers such as the mesh variety or thin rubber pads do not provide any support to the rug nor are very sturdy. George Grillo

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