Placing some kind of cushioning underneath your carpets and rugs is the best thing you can do to soundproof your floor. The softer and thicker the material, the less you’ll have to worry about the sound of your footsteps annoying your downstairs neighbors. But how do you choose the best rug pad for soundproofing when there are so many different kinds on the market?
Before I answer that question, let’s talk about how padding your carpets could prevent sounds from passing through your floor.
How Can a Simple Rug Pad Soundproof Your Floor?
If you’ve ever had a fully carpeted floor, you know that the carpet doesn’t go directly on top of the subfloor. You have to have something between the two to fill up the surface and make it bouncier. Underlayment should also prevent spills from damaging the wooden floor under the carpet.
When it comes to regular carpets and rugs, most people don’t think about adding that extra layer. Usually, it only comes up if their downstairs neighbors ask them to keep it down. Even then, they might simply adjust their gait and go on with it. But if you have children or animals running around the house, a rug pad would be incredibly beneficial.
In essence, a rug pad functions as a shock absorber or even an anti-vibration mat. However, rather than reducing vibrations, rug pads will absorb the impact of your footfall. In addition to decreasing acoustic transmission between stories, softening your floor will also absorb the sound waves traveling through the room.
Of course, not every product will provide all these benefits. So how do you choose the best rug pad for you?
How to Choose the Best Rug Pad for Your Home
When it comes to choosing the right rug pad for your home, there are several things you should consider. Namely, keep the dimensions and thickness of the product in mind. Additionally, you should make sure the material your rug is made of won’t clash with your flooring.
To begin with, you’ll want to measure your carpets. If you don’t want to cut the pads yourself, find the ones that are slightly smaller than your rugs. There should be about an inch of space all around the pad so the carpet can fully cover it.
Additionally, the material is as thick as possible while still being comfortable to stand on. Most of the products on my list are up to a quarter of an inch thick, though you can get other, thicker materials.
Next up, you’ll have to consider the base material of your rug pad, which can be rubber, felt, or a combination of both. As you may know, rubber, especially the synthetic kind, may damage your flooring. Unless you want streaks on your vinyl flooring, don’t put latex rug pads directly on top.
Still, there is one significant benefit of rubber rug pads. Unlike felt, rubber won’t let your carpets move around. Also, woven rubber underlays enable airflow between the flooring and the carpet. But either material would reduce the wear and tear on the underside of your carpets.
Of course, if you want to protect your flooring, you should opt for a pure felt underlay. However, you may not have the benefit of that anti-slip feature. But of course, you could always put some corner and side grippers on the edges of your pad to keep it from shifting.
5 Best Rug Pads for Soundproofing Floors
As we have established, there are at least three different kinds of rug pads you can use for soundproofing. The trick is in finding the perfect mat for the type of carpet and flooring you have. So which will it be: rubber, felt, or a hybrid pad?
1. DoubleCheck Products Thick Non-Slip Area Rug Pad
Plain rubber (or vinyl) rug pads are the best kind to choose if you want to stop your carpets from sliding. However, in the interest of maintaining airflow between the floor and the carpet, they’re usually thin and widely spaced. That doesn’t provide much cushioning at all — though finding that will be our primary goal here.
Luckily, some of these anti-slip rug pads are a bit denser and thicker while still allowing air to pass between the floor and carpets. For example, this one from DoubleCheck Products is purportedly about as thick as cardboard — which is around an eighth of an inch. Still, it should provide just enough padding for medium-thick rugs.
The product comes in an impressive range of sizes. Namely, the smallest pad is about 2 by 3 feet, while the largest is 9 by 12. And no matter which dimensions you choose, you’ll be able to cut or shape the mat with scissors. After all, the material is fairly thin rubber so trimming it shouldn’t be a problem.
Furthermore, the rubber shouldn’t stain your floors, whether you put it on laminate, wood, or tile. In addition to keeping this material under your carpets, you can also use it to pad your shelves or drawers. The manufacturer also recommends using it as a base for your table place settings. If it can absorb your footsteps, it can certainly reduce the sound of clanking cutlery.
- Anti-slip beige rubber
- Washable and easy to cut
- 14 sizes ranging from 2×3 to 9×12 feet
- About 1/8 inches thick
2. Ophanie Non-Slip Rug Pad Gripper
The non-slip rug pad from Ophanie is like the previous product on this list, though it has a different grid design. Still, it should provide plenty of cushioning and air circulation, not to mention prevent your carpets from slipping.
Notably, this product is made of polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, which means you’ll have to be careful about the kind of flooring you pair it with. After all, vinyl could wreak havoc on fully carpeted floors, as well as ones with vinyl, lacquered, or acrylic finishes.
This product also couldn’t grip onto porous, unfinished, or textured surfaces like natural stone tiles. Additionally, if you don’t want the vinyl to melt and fuse with your flooring, don’t put it on heated floors.
Since this pad is also about an eighth of an inch thick, you should only use it with carpets that aren’t completely flat. The mats are available in seven sizes, ranging from 2 by 3 to 8 by 10-foot rectangles. Either way, you’ll be able to cut through and adjust the size and shape easily.
- Non-slip white PVC
- Easy to cut but not ideal for some kinds of flooring
- 7 sizes ranging from 2×3 to 8×10 feet
- About 1/8 inches thick
3. Mohawk Home 1/4-Inch Thick Ultra Premium All-Surface Felt Rug Pad
Since we’ve seen two rubber and vinyl-based mats, let’s move on to the next category of products. Mohawk Home has several lines of felt rug pads. To begin with, let’s see their Ultra Premium underlays, which are made of felt only. Since they have no latex backing, they should be safe to use on any kind of flooring.
The Ultra Premium Mohawk Home pads are made entirely of recycled felt, which makes them Green Label certified. They come in many sizes, ranging from 4 by 6 feet to 10 by 14. However, the 8 by 10-foot version of the product seems to be the most popular. If you’d like to cushion several carpets, get a larger pad and cut it down to the size you need.
Even though this kind of rug pad may slide around, it’ll double the amount of cushioning you might have gotten from a regular rubber underlay. Unlike the previous products, this one is a quarter of an inch thick. It should significantly soften the carpet, thereby absorbing the sound of footfall. In any event, if you find yourself missing the anti-slip properties of rubber, just paste corner grips on the pad.
- Recycled felt
- Easy to cut
- 9 sizes ranging from 4×6 to 10×14 feet
- 1/4 inches thick
4. Mohawk Home 1/4-Inch Thick Dual Surface Felt and Latex Non-Slip Rug Pad
Of course, Mohawk Home also makes some of the most popular hybrid rug pads as well. The company’s Dual Surface underlays are two-sided, with recycled felt on top and a layer of latex on the bottom. Since the latter side is fully coated with rubber, it should prevent your rugs from skidding. However, you may not be able to use it on all kinds of flooring.
Like the previous product, this one is about a quarter of an inch thick, though a half-inch version used to be available too. The most popular size the pad comes in is an 8 by 10-foot rectangle. However, the company also makes smaller products and ones with more unique dimensions. For example, this 3 by 12-foot underlay is presumably supposed to go under hallway carpets.
Furthermore, the manufacturer also produces circular and oval pads. However, that’s something you can always customize. After all, the rubber backing doesn’t make this product harder to cut through than any of the other ones we’ve seen.
- Recycled felt with a latex backing
- Easy to cut through
- Many different sizes and shapes
- 1/4 inches thick
5. Durahold Plus Felt and Rubber Rug Pad for Hard Floors
While a regular felt finish should be able to snag onto your carpet’s backing, some rugs are too smooth to grab onto. In those cases, you might want to choose a product like this textured felt rug pad from Durahold Plus. In addition to providing that upward grip, the product also has natural rubber on the bottom. The hexagonal tread of the rubber should prevent the pad from moving an inch even when you’re vacuuming your carpets.
With the natural rubber and synthetic felt put together, you should have about a quarter of an inch of cushioning. Moreover, between the two materials, your rugs should stay anchored to the floor. Best of all, because the manufacturer used natural rubber, most types of flooring should be safe from stains and damages.
Durahold Plus rug pads come in 32 shapes and sizes, from the smallest 2 by 6-foot rectangle to round 12-foot underlays. As always, the material should be fairly easy to cut through with a simple pair of scissors.
- Synthetic felt with natural rubber backing
- Textured on both sides, easy to cut
- Many sizes and shapes, up to 12 by 18 feet
- 1/4 inches thick
Alternatives to Using Rug Pads for Soundproofing
As you might have noticed, none of the products on the list above are more than a quarter of an inch thick. So if they don’t effectively absorb impact noise, you should consider looking outside the box. After all, any thick and soft material can function as a rug pad.
Take, for example, neoprene rubber foam. The material is certainly more bouncy than felt, which tends to flatten out over time. Unlike the rubber rug mats I’ve mentioned above, neoprene foam sheets won’t allow much air circulation. Still, it’ll certainly provide more cushioning, which is what you’re looking for anyway.
If you decide to use rubber foam, you’ll be able to choose between different sizes and thicknesses. Just keep in mind that most of these products are essentially exercise mats. You’ll probably have to line up several of them to cover large areas.
Still, at least you wouldn’t be limited to quarter-inch thick pads — you could also get half-inch thick ones. Alternatively, if you need an even thicker underlay, you could get a 3/4-inch thick interlocking EVA foam mat instead.
A few years ago, you would’ve been able to get a memory foam rug pad as well. Unfortunately, those seem to have been discontinued, though you could get a memory foam carpet to replace your current one. This one from Lyfreen is about an inch thick and comes in many different colors and sizes. Its main purpose is to serve as a crawling mat for babies, but you can just think of it as a luxuriously soft area rug.
Enjoy Not Having to Tread Lightly
Notably, rug pads won’t stop your floor from creaking or squeaking if it’s not completely structurally sound. So if you’re dealing with that issue, I suggest you start by fixing the floorboards or nailing the subfloor into the joists below it more securely. Once you restore the floor, you can check if you even need extra cushioning under your carpets. If you do — any one of the rug pads I’ve mentioned should effectively soundproof your floor.