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A rug pad is a material that is used as an underlayment for different types of carpeting, including area rugs and wall to wall carpet. Depending on the quality and type of pad that is used, it can add a thick cushioning layer for more comfort, as well as providing a non-slip barrier between the carpet and the pre-existing flooring materials. Each particular type of rug pad is designed for specific applications. The rug pad's purpose is to increase the usability and the effectiveness of the carpet, but it also can be used to cushion the floor with a thick, soft layer over original flooring.
The first type of rug pad is commonly used when installing wall to wall carpet over the top of wood floors. When a building is constructed, the majority of the flooring will be covered with solid sheets of wood. The proper type of pad that is placed in between the wood and the carpet will not only add a layer of padding, but will also prevent the carpet from shifting. The padding is manufactured in various different thicknesses, depending upon the amount of cushioning that is needed, but they will also have built-in rubber runners that grip the wood. This prevents the rug pad from moving, which also produces a solid foundation for the carpet that will stay in place once it is installed.
Felt padding is the second type of rug pad that can be used. It is usually very thick, offering a layer of comfort between the floor and the carpet. These pads are designed as a cheaper alternative to the combination styles described above. However, even though these pads do offer outstanding comfort, they do not provide a non-skid surface. The felt padding, when laid down onto the floor, is usually stapled into place to prevent large amounts of movement, but over a period of time the padding will move, as will the carpet that is laid on top of it.
The final type of carpet pad that can be installed is a waffle style pad, intended for use with area rugs. These pads are designed to provide an exceptional non-skid surface, but they offer no softening layer. This type of padding is also a cheaper alternative to the combination types of padding, and is most commonly used in buildings were safety is more important than comfort. The waffle pad is a very thin material that can be installed for any type of application, including covering cement and tile flooring.