Whether you’ve purchased or inherited a needlepoint rug, you know you have a special treasure to behold, preserve, and actually walk on. Needlepoints can feel more like works of art than functional rugs. But most are made of wool, which is very durable, so if the rug is well made, it can last for generations. But you’ll want to take special care to protect your needlepoint rug from excessive wear and tear and keep it from slipping, wrinkling, and bunching with a high-quality rug pad that will also be kind to your floors.
Not all rug pads, even the highest quality, are right for needlepoints. Unlike carpets or pile rugs, needlepoints tend to be relatively thin and often somewhat delicate, particularly prone to slipping, wrinkling, buckling, and bunching. What these beautiful rugs really need is a hug: a special grip that’s as gentle as it is strong, that provides both comfort and security.
What to look for
To keep needlepoints lying flat, you need pads with strong grip and maybe a bit of cushion. Pads that only provide cushion without grip, like 100% felt or memory foam pads, don’t work well with needlepoints. Look for pads that combine felt cushioning with natural rubber, the strongest gripping, longest lasting, safest and most eco-friendly material for keeping rugs lying flat and in place.
For needlepoints, always use a rug pad that combines rubber for grip, and felt for cushion and stability.
Beyond the combination of rubber and felt, you want to look for pads engineered and designed for great grip. The magic is in the hug. The best pads for needlepoints are made by heat pressing the top of the felt so it grabs the bottom of the rugs, almost like Velcro. This keeps the rug lying flat against the pad. The rubber bottom then tightly grips floors (without sticking to them or staining them, the way some synthetic adhesives can) keeping needlepoints stable and smooth.
The best felt and rubber rug pads for needlepoint rugs
Three of the best pads on the market today offer this combination of materials and engineering with varying levels of cushion and lift.
For maximum grip with a minimal lift, consider RugPro, a low-profile, high-performance pad that works particularly well in high traffic like hallways and where door clearance may be an issue. This pad’s solid design offers more floor coverage than traditional waffle-style non-slip pad, keeping dirt from accumulating and reaching your floors and making vacuuming easier, effectively extending the life of your needlepoint by helping to keep it clean (especially important when you consider that dirt is the #1 cause of rug degradation; keeping your rug clean keeps it young!) RugPro is also needle-punched using very small holes to allow rugs and floors to breathe by improving airflow.
If you’d like a bit of cushion under your needlepoint but still need to keep a relatively low profile, consider Contour-Lock. This 1/8 inch-thick felt and rubber pad offers a strong grip and moderate levels of cushioning without bulking. Needlepoints often tend to have rough backings, so this pad’s slightly thicker solid design not only helps keeps rugs clean, but fully protects floors from scratches. This pad offers a great overall value for reliable grip and subtle cushioning.
For more cushion, particularly under larger needlepoint rugs in living rooms, dining rooms and bedrooms, there’s Superior-Lock, combining the best of both grip and cushion. Made with more felt and a gentle heat-pressing technique, Superior-Lock offers unyielding, non-slip traction with thick, cushioned support. It’s essentially a thick layer of felt combined with a thinner non-slip, natural rubber pad. The needle-punched felt surface naturally clings to the bottom of rugs to anchor it to its surface, giving your needlepoint rugs the hug they need while giving you extra softness and comfort in two thicknesses, 1/4 inch and 7/16 inch, the best choice for maximum comfort under needlepoints.