Yes, depending on the rug you have, it can scratch hardwood floors! If the rug has a rough underside, it can damage your hardwood floors.
Whether the rug moves around a lot or is stationary, a rough underside can scratch your hardwood floors, leaving them damaged.
You will notice scratch marks in the coating, which can be quite bad in some cases.
If your rug passes the test, it's unlikely to scratch your hardwood floors!
However, there’s a good chance these rugs will slip and move around on the floor, making them dangerous for anyone walking on them.
It is worth attaching a pad to these, too, to keep the rug firmly in place!
Often people whose rugs have scratched their floor need to sand the floor so that it’s even before applying varnish or stain to the wood.
This is more work for you and can leave you with uneven color on your hardwood floor depending on how many floorboards are affected and how well the paint job is done.
Thankfully there is an easy way to test if a rug will scratch hardwood floors. Simply turn the corner of a rug over so that the backside is facing up.
Next, take your knuckles and rub them along the back of the rug, using a little pressure as you go.
If it hurts your knuckles to rub the rug and feels as though it’s going to take your skin off, then the rug will scratch the floor.
You can do this in stores before purchasing a rug or with a rug you already have at home on your hardwood floors.
Knowing early on if the rug will scratch your floor can allow you to find other methods to prevent scratching or purchase a different rug entirely.
If you are purchasing the rug online, be sure to check out reviews to see if its underside scratches hardwood floors.
It's best to find out as much as possible about the rug before you purchase it so you can make the necessary arrangements to prevent it from scratching your hardwood floors.
Do Rugs Need Pads On Hardwood Floors?
If you want to stop your rug from scratching hardwood floors, then a pad should be attached to the backside of the rug.
You can purchase rugs that already come with a pad attached to the underside to prevent scratching, or you can attach one yourself.
Rug pads are a material layer that sits between your floor and rug, protecting the floor from any scratches on your rug.
You can pick them up from various retailers both online and in-stores, many for a reasonable price.
The price range for rug pads is so varied that you are sure to find one that suits your budget!
We do recommend thorough research before going ahead and purchasing a rug pad, though. There have been cases where rug pads have damaged both hardwood floors and the rug itself!
We have seen cheaper plastic rug pads damage hardwood floors thanks to chemicals leaking from them!
We have also seen non-slip rug pads stick to floorboards, leaving visible marks behind, discoloring the floor as it goes!
There have also been cases where rug pads that are PVC backed have emitted VOCs into the air, ruining indoor air quality and causing several breathing issues.
This is very concerning and can put many people off purchasing a rug pad, but we still recommend that you place one underneath any rug that you think will scratch your floor (try our knuckle test from earlier to find out if the rug will scratch the floor).
To find a good quality rug pad, look for durable and long-lasting pads made from sustainable materials.
You will want materials safe for use in the home and don’t emit any harmful chemicals into your home.
You can check online reviews for rug pads to ensure that you select a good quality rug pad that won’t harm your floor or rug!
What rug backing is best for hardwood floors?
There is a lot of debate about this, but natural rubber is the best overall rug pad/backing to use to protect your hardwood floors.
Natural rubber is not only safe to use on all flooring and finishes, but it also has strong gripping power that will keep your rug firmly in place!
The grip will also not stick to your floors and damage your hardwood flooring.
Natural rubber is also more environmentally friendly than plastic pads.
The natural rubber also does not contain any chemicals like plastic pads that can ‘off-gas.’ Off-gassing is when the rug pad eats at your floor finish, leaving you with the task of needing to reapply your finish.
The best natural rubber will not do this.
Look for natural rubber from reputable manufacturers that is derived from white sap from the Hevea Brasiliensis tree.
This will make the rubber 100% natural and free from harmful chemicals or plasticizers that can damage your floor.
Natural rubber pads will provide excellent non-slip grip and are ideal for hardwood floors and poly finishes prone to staining.
You won’t need to worry about any of this with a rubber backing and enjoy plenty of long-lasting floor protection!
They aren’t too expensive either, meaning you don’t need to spend a fortune to protect your floors.
If you want to create more comfort for your rug, look for backings that are rubber blended with felt. These will be soft and squishy for your feet to walk across while remaining non-slip.
Felt and rubber backings are still durable and will protect your hardwood floors.
They tend to be a little thinner than natural rubber backing, which is worth considering when deciding if it's the backing for you or not.
They are made in a chemical-free heat press to ensure that the felt and rubber won’t separate over time or spew any chemicals into your home.
They tend to be more costly, but if you are looking for an eco-friendly backing that provides extra cushioning, it's an option to consider strongly.