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Are Polypropylene Rugs Safe For Vinyl Floors?

If you’ve got vinyl flooring in your home it’s important to know whether certain materials are suitable to be placed on it, but are polypropylene rugs safe for vinyl floors?

Polypropylene as a material is not harmful for vinyl flooring. The problem stems from rubber backing that is typically used in polypropylene rugs, which reacts with the vinyl flooring under friction or exposure to UV, leading to discoloration and staining. If you have a polypropylene rug without a rubber backing your vinyl floor will not get damaged.

So, you should consider whether a polypropylene rug has rubber backing or not before you decide to use it on vinyl flooring.

Let’s take a deeper look into why exactly rubber is harmful to vinyl floors, and what steps you can take to use a polypropylene rug on vinyl flooring without causing damage to it.

Why Does Rubber React With Vinyl Flooring?

Vinyl flooring is made from a majority of PVC, with other chemicals and layers added to alter its characteristics.

The coating of vinyl flooring is usually created with a special surface treatment which is reactive with rubber. This treatment consists of plasticizers, fillers and even stabilizers which may all harm your floor.

Friction and sunlight can accelerate this process which will lead to your vinyl floor becoming discoloured or damaged.

How To Prevent Polypropylene Rugs From Damaging Your Vinyl Floor

The first thing to check is whether your polypropylene rug has a rubber backing. If the backing isn’t rubber, then you won’t face any issues.

If it does, then you’ll need to buy a rug pad that will act as a protective, non-reactive layer between the rug and flooring. When looking for the right rug pad to buy, make sure it is non-reactive with vinyl.

A good way to do this is by looking at the rubber content. A rug pad with absolutely no rubber content should be okay for use on vinyl flooring but always check the manufacturer guidelines as well.

Our recommendation for this would be the RUGPADUSA cushioning rug pad. It’s made from 100% felt which is not only completely unreactive with vinyl, but it will give your rug more of a cushioned feel as well.

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The great thing about this rug pad is that it’s really affordable and can easily be cut into shape even if they don’t have the correct size for your rug.

What About Rug Grippers?

Rug grippers can be used for rugs on vinyl floors but they don’t prevent contact between the rug and the floor, they only stop the rug from sliding around.

So, although some people may think that a rug gripper can do the job of a rug pad, it is unfortunately not the case. A rug pad is the only way to remove all contact between a rug and vinyl floor.

Can Vinyl Flooring Be Repaired After Damage From Rubber?

If your vinyl floor has been damaged by rubber it will be almost impossible to repair.

Fortunately, vinyl flooring is relatively cheap to replace depending on whether you have installed sheet vinyl or plank vinyl. For example, if you have plank vinyl and only a few planks have been damaged you can easily replace them for a fraction of the cost of what it would be to replace an entire vinyl floor.

The main reason why it’s so hard to repair vinyl after rubber damage is due to the chemical reaction that has occurred. Chemical reactions like this are practically impossible to reverse with good results at home.

What Rugs Are Good For Vinyl Floors?

Not all rugs are backed with rubber, fortunately.

In fact, there are quite a lot of options out there for polypropylene rugs that don’t have a rubber backing, but what types of backing are best for vinyl floors?

Cotton Backing

Cotton is an affordable option for rug material that is found throughout the world.

It’s also a great option when it comes to vinyl flooring as cotton will not react with it in any way, assuming the backing is also cotton, which would usually be the case.

So, if you aren’t sure what type of rug to choose for your vinyl floor and are on a budget then cotton is the way to go.

Wool Backing

Wool is one of the most common and durable types of rug material there is, and it’s perfect for vinyl flooring.

The wool used in rugs isn’t chemically treated and doesn’t contain any rubber so it won’t cause a reaction with your vinyl. It’s also highly breathable and is naturally water-repellent so it makes for a great option for a rug on vinyl flooring.

The only downside to wool is that it tends to be on the more expensive side, so keep that in mind.

Final Thoughts

Thank you for taking the time to read this article.

The material of your rug backing is what will determine whether it is safe for use on vinyl flooring, not the material of the rug. Keep an eye out for rubber backings and stay clear of them.

Even if you have a rubber backing you can always use a rug pad to prevent any damage, so don’t worry too much.