How to Make a Rug Stick to the Floor

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A rug without a special coating or pad underneath may bunch up on top a carpet, or, when you step on it, you may slip and fall if it covers a wood floor. In both cases, the rug is both an annoyance and a potential safety hazard. Make that rug stay put with a non-slip pad, carpet tape or even a DIY silicone caulk treatment.

Anti-Slip Pads

Carpet pads designed to stop the slipping and bunching work for rugs on both hard floors and carpets. Most pads are designed to work on both surfaces, but the design is a bit different. For hard floors such as tile, wood or laminate, a rubber anti-slip carpet pad, sometimes called a grip pad, is rubber on both sides. Cut the material to size, or purchase a pad slightly smaller than the rug. Center the rug atop it on the floor. For an inexpensive alternative, use a rubbery shelf or drawer liner, sold on a roll. Rug pads designed to rest atop carpet often have a rubbery side and a fibrous side. The fiber side goes on top of the carpet with the rubbery side touching the rug, preventing it from bunching up.

Tapes and Sprays

Several tape-based products are sold to tame those wild rugs.

  • Double-sided carpet tape sticks a rug directly onto the floor beneath it.  This is most useful for a large rug such as an area rug that you don't plan to move for a while. The downside: The adhesive may be difficult to remove from both the floor and the back of the rug once you move the rug. 

  • Non-slip rug tape is sticky on one side with a gripping latex surface on the other. Adhere the sticky side to the back of the rug in strips a foot or so apart from one another. Some brands recommend sticking the adhesive side on the floor instead of on the rug, so read the package carefully to ensure you're using the product the right way.
  • Rug grip tape has adhesive on both sides and sticks a rug to a carpet without leaving behind any residue. 
  • Spray-on anti-slip grip coats the back of the rug with a waterproof non-slip coating that works for rugs on top of hard floors or carpet without leaving behind a residue. It is applied much like spray paint and should be sprayed on in a well-ventilated area. The coating is permanent and machine-washable.

A Caulk Treatment

Lines of silicone caulk, applied to the rug's backing, create a slip-free grip that holds the rug in place as you step on it. Place a bead of silicone an inch or 2 inside the perimeter of the rug on the back, as well as lines of silicone every few inches across the center. Smooth the wet silicone out with a putty knife or even a used plastic gift card and flatten the lines. Allow the rug to dry in place for at least several hours or until the silicone no longer feels wet and tacky before using the rug. Do not use silicone if you plan to machine wash and dry the rug, as the silicone may melt or come off in areas.

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