Rugs and rug mats protect hardwood floors from water, food stains, impact damage and dirt and grime. Placed at entryways and in high-traffic areas, such as the kitchen, they can extend the life of hardwood flooring. Rug mats placed under rugs keep rugs from slipping, but not all mats are created equal. Those made of vinyl and plastic may trap moisture, potentially damaging the finish of a hardwood floor. Occasionally lift the rug to inspect the area for moisture. Air rugs and mats outside on warm, dry days.
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Ventilated Rug Mats
Most rug mats or pads are made from a man-made material, such as vinyl or PVC. Look for one that is fairly thin and has holes throughout for good ventilation. Avoid mats with a solid surface. When choosing rugs, avoid those with solid rubber or vinyl backings as well since these mats don't breathe and allow moisture to become trapped beneath them.
Speciality companies offer fabric rug mats for delicate hardwood floors. These mats have a moisture-absorbing core and are made of wool or felt with a rubber backing. They are soft and usually thicker than vinyl or rubber mats. Fabric mats are machine washable.
When shopping for a mat to use on hardwood floors, look for a designation on the tag that the mat is safe for hardwood floors. Regardless of the mat's material and construction, it has been tested and found safe for wood floors. Vacuum rugs frequently to eliminate dirt and sand sifting through to the wood floor where it can scratch the surface.
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