The inclusion of an area rug to your hardwood flooring space has the benefit of both function and design. Some styles lend themselves toward enhancing the hardwood flooring while others demand most of the attention away from the hardwood. In either scenario, the rug will also add a level of comfort under foot and also serve to keep your hardwood flooring from being victimized by any sand or soil that gets tracked in, abrading these culprits from your shoes before any damage is realized to the pristine urethane finish of the hardwood.
Different Styles for Different Needs
If your hardwood flooring is accessed by a door that leads to the exterior of the home, it’s wise to purchase a few, smaller mats or, area rugs, that have somewhat of a sacrificial function; and, given that, should possess a couple unique features. The surface of these rugs should be rough, usually of a loop construction and have an impermeable backing***. The reason for this is that these are the vehicles that will be the first line of defense for your hardwood flooring and will be tasked with removing the bulk of the tracked-in grit and receive the water, ice or snow. There are mats that are specifically designed for this task; and it’s always a good practice to have these on the exterior and interior side of the door. If you have, let’s say, an interior runner, make sure that you rotate the runner, end-to-end, periodically so the brunt of the abuse is more evenly distributed on the piece. In the more open areas of your hardwood floor, feel free to use a style that suits your décor. Bear in mind that braided rugs and rag-wool scatter rugs don’t receive, or hold, a lot of grit; it’s important to vacuum or shake-out these styles frequently to keep the sand off of the hardwood flooring. If your room lends itself to several arrangements or rearrangements of furniture and accessories, then it’s a good idea to move the furniture and area rugs a couple times a year. The reason for doing this is that, although you may not notice, your hardwood floor is changing in color with age and sun (natural photo-chemical reaction) exposure. Moving these things around provides a more even aging of the wood surface.
The Backing is So Important
If you’re using a bound, left-over carpet scrap yielded from a recent bedroom installation for your area rug, then this is perfectly fine. However, you must integrate the usage of a suitable area rug underlayment (pad) before you lay that scrap down on hardwood. The backing of most broadloom carpets can act like sandpaper on a hardwood floor. Use the underlayment to protect your hardwood from the backing as well as preventing the slipping and sliding of the rug. Also, avoid using any area rug that has a foam rubber or cushion back on it. Sure, it’ll be comfortable to walk on but the backing will discolor, and permanently stain your hardwood finish in the ugliest possible way. If you love the style, and can’t live without it, then make sure you also use a proper underlayment underneath it as well. ‘Slip-Knot’ and ‘No-Muv’ are two manufacturers of such underlayment that work well for any area rug addition. Never, ever, ever use two-sided carpet tape to secure an area rug to a hardwood floor. The adhesive from the tape can actually discolor some hardwood floors and, if not that, the chemical require to remove the tape residue is harmful to the hardwood floors’ finish. So, either way, you lose.
Area rugs offer a great means of ‘dressing-up’ and protecting your hardwood floor investment. Just be careful and cautious about how you execute the addition!