Everything you should know about rug pads under Hand-Knotted Rugs

Once you have invested in a hand-knotted Afghan rug, you will want to secure it in place by putting a rug pad underneath. Choosing the right pad will help protect and extend the life of your hand-knotted rug. Although not as exciting as pursuing a fabulous rug, this is an important purchase and needs to be taken just as seriously. Not all rug pads are created equal and when it comes to pads or underlays, you get what you pay for! The following tips should help you make the right choice.

Understanding the Purpose of Rug Pads

A hand-knotted Afghan rug is a work of art that may last for many generations. These rugs are incredibly expensive, so selecting the right rug pad is much like framing a priceless painting. Everything from form and fit to size are important for functionality. Rug pads do so much more than keep your Afghan rug in place. Along with providing grip and ensuring the rug does not slip under your feet, rug pads offer adequate air flow and additional cushioning. Too often rug pads are considered an afterthought, but they are an essential part of protecting the rug and floors of your home. The extra cushion that a rug pad provides can help absorb shock and prevent wear and tear. Rug pads can also guard against wrinkling, slipping, and buckling that can ultimately cause tripping hazards and ruin rugs.

Criteria to Look for in Rug Pads

  • Non-slip pads should grip the floor and the back of the rug.

  • 1/16” to 1/18” thickness for light traffic areas and under doorways.

  • ¼” thickness for heavy traffic areas.

  • Natural Rubber is a MUST (no PVC or vinyl)

  • Rugs body should hang 2” over pad not including the fringes.

Materials for the Best Rug Pads

Authentic Afghan rugs are typically created using premium natural fibers such as silk and wool. For that reason, it is especially important that the rug pad you choose is of high quality and not cheap plastic or containing synthetic glue or adhesives. Many of the rug pads on the market are inexpensive and can damage your rugs. Many even contain clay filters which easily disintegrate, leaving a powdery mess on your floors. Other pads can permanently stain your precious Afghan rugs because of the hazardous glues.

Although you may end up paying a bit more, purchasing a high-quality rug pad, made with 100% natural rubber, without any glues or synthetic adhesives is the best solution for your valuable Afghan rug. Because you love your rugs and want to protect them to your best ability, selecting a rug pad made with the highest manufacturing standards is key.

For smaller Afghan rugs and runners, you will want to consider a non-slip, low-profile, waffle-style pattern. This is the gold standard of rug pads. In many ways it is also an eco-friendly choice because the rubber is all natural.


Now that you know the importance of high-quality rug pads, the key question is to determine what kind of rug you have and match it with a rug pad that fits in line with your rug’s size and pile. For example, small Afghan rugs with a flatweave need more grip, while heavy pile, large, thick rugs need less grip and more cushion. Have questions? Give us a call! We can help you select the best rug pad for your priceless Afghan rug.

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