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Rug pads serve a number of different purposes for your rug. Most importantly, it prevents your rug from sliding on your floor, potentially injuring yourself or others. In other cases, it can also keep your rug from buckling up when you have furniture on it. It can even protect both your floor and the rug from each other.
The standard rug pad is the most common and popular type, called a “Rubber Anchor.” It’s a simple sheet of rubber reinforced with fibers to prevent tears. It also grips both your floor and your rug together. It is cut to the exact size of your rug directly off of a roll. For larger rugs it is taped together to keep it in one piece. This pad is meant only for laying your rug on a hard floor, not for carpet.
The mesh pad is similar to the standard, except it has a grid of holes and is much cheaper. These pads are pre-cut to the common rug sizes, but can still be customized to fit any rug. This pad is meant only for laying your rug on a hard floor, not for carpet.
When laying a rug on carpet, especially very thick carpet, your rug will tend to buckle up when furniture is set down on top of it. Using a thick carpet rug pad, your rug is held into place to prevent too much buckling. It can also be used on hard surfaces, in case you have a very thin rug which needs additional cushioning.