Rug-o-rama: Rug Pads on the Cheap

 Ooooh, cushy!

– Homer Simpson

It is freakin’ impossible to research rugs and rug-related topics without running across many, many Big Lebowski references. So please allow me to get this out of the way:

We recently bought a new rug that really pulls the room together.

Mayya is skeptical. It may pull the room together, but it clashes with her outfit.

Mayya is skeptical. It may pull the room together, but it clashes with her outfit.

This acquired, I turned my attention to rug pads. Because of the cold, cold winters, I wanted a thicker rug pad, but a thick pad for a large area rug can be a big chunk of the price of the rug itself. Never one to be drawn to the idea of spending money for, well, anything, I pondered the options.

The Dude Thinks

The Dude, thinking, by If We Don’t, Remember Me

Yeah, I lied about being done with Lebowski references. I just love Jeff Bridges and have ever since I saw Tron in the theater back when dinosaurs roamed the earth. If you haven’t seen the remake of True Grit, I highly recommend it. Tron: Legacy? Not so much. Except for the Jeff Bridges parts.

Did I mention I enjoy the theatrical stylings of Mr. Bridges?

Did I mention I enjoy the theatrical stylings of Mr. Bridges?

Hey! That reminds me. Back when I was first developing my interest in Jeff Bridges, my parents had weird, foamy pads under all the wall-to-wall carpeting. What about THAT? Well, it turns out that’s a lot cheaper than the spendy ones specifically for area rugs. You can buy it by the square foot off rolls. The carpet department guy will make a half-hearted attempt to talk you out of it, but it’s been working great for us. Total spend? Under $40.

Drawbacks? They’d have to be BIG drawbacks at this price, but the biggest is that this stuff is meant to be a permanent and unmoving sub-layer. It’s just bits of foam attached to a loose grid, so it can pull apart easily. Our rug is staying in one place and is pinned under two couches and a coffee table. If you are planning to rearrange regularly or reposition the rug often, this may not work for you.

This kind of thing (from Home Depot)

This kind of thing (from Home Depot)

On size, go for 3/8” thick or less to avoid an inordinate floor height transition to the be-rugged area. For length and width, you’ll have to cut the pad to size after buying the total square footage you want. Piece it together (I used duct tape, natch, but you could do some rough loop stitches instead) to make the right size, which should be a little smaller than your rug (about 1 to 1.5 inches from each edge).

Put the pad down where you want it on top of a clean and DRY floor. Get another pair of hands and lift and position the rug on top so you don’t have to drag the rug around on the pad. If you are covering tile or wood, you may want to check from time to time that the pad is not damaging the surface through chemical or other processes. We’ve never had a problem, but this was the best argument the sales guy had against the idea.

This is an easy way to save yourself some money and still make your floors all cushy. Pour yourself a Caucasian and enjoy your luxurious floors!

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