Rugs on Vinyl Plank Flooring: What to Know Before You Purchase

Natural Area Rugs Blog Staff

Natural Area Rugs Blog Staff

Your trusted source for Natural Area Rugs inspiration & information. ~ Nurturing your home with nature ~

Vinyl plank flooring is the stylish flooring of choice for modern homes, but where do rugs fit in? Let's explore area rug options for vinyl plank flooring, which ones are safe and which ones aren't, and how rug pads fit into the mix. 

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The Pros and Cons of Rugs on Vinyl Plank Flooring

Many people choose to install vinyl plank flooring in their homes. Not only is this type of flooring easy to install and inexpensive compared to standard hardwood floors, but it is also easy to clean and maintain. So, if you have decided to install vinyl plank flooring in your home, you might face the decision of whether or not to invest in area rugs.


  • Rugs for vinyl plank flooring are a great way to protect your floors from scratches and other damages. Even though most vinyl flooring states they are scratch-resistant, I can assure you that kids and dogs will find a way to scratch them. This comes from first-hand experience.

  • They are also a good way to add color and pattern to your home. They also can improve the appearance of your space, especially if you are not in love with the current vinyl plank flooring in place.

  • Inexpensive. Area rugs don’t have to be expensive. You can find quality rugs that are safe for vinyl flooring just about anywhere. It’s just important to be mindful of the type of rug you’re buying to make sure they are safe for the vinyl floors. 


  • The only drawback of using an area rug on vinyl flooring is that certain types of rugs can stain or damage vinyl flooring. We’ll get into this more below. 

How to Choose a Rug For Vinyl Plank Flooring

This mainly comes down to personal preference of what types of rugs you enjoy, colors, height, etc. 

Any rug will work on vinyl flooring. It’s the backing (or lack thereof) that we need to talk about. 

Today, many area rugs come with rubber backing to make them non-slip. We want to stay away from those. This can make our selection more narrow as we need to look for rugs with a cotton backing, which are safe for vinyl floors. 

Natural fiber rugs that are handwoven can be a great option here, as they do not have a backing. However, the tougher natural fiber materials like sisal and jute can be scratchy and may scratch the vinyl flooring. In this case, a safe rug pad will help. 

The single most important thing to know about rugs and vinyl flooring is to completely avoid rugs with synthetic rubber backing. This type of backing will ruin your floors. 

The Best Rugs For Vinyl Plank Flooring

Safe Without Rug Pad Use

Safe With Proper Rug Pad Use

  • Sisal, Seagrass, or Jute Rugs. These rugs can at times be made to be soft underfoot. Especially jute. However, compared to wool and cotton, they are rougher and can become scratchy. This is why its best to use a rug pad underneath. 

Here is the thing about rug pads. A lot of rug pads on the market are cheap and made with synthetic materials, such as cheap rubber. Synthetic rubber rug pads are NOT safe for vinyl flooring. They will likely discolor your vinyl flooring. 

In many cases, cheap rubber pads are produced in foreign countries where manufacturers aren’t held to the same high-quality standards as in the US. This can often mean that they’re able to use phthalates – a class of chemicals used to make plastics tougher and more resistant to breaking.
You may be also wondering about the thin non-slip rug liners. These can be ok to use if they are made with safe natural materials. Cheap rug liners are often coated in chemical adhesives to help them grip the floor better. However, over time, these adhesives can deteriorate and damage both the floor and the rug.

So, what Do You Mean by "Proper" or "Safe" Rug Pad?

In the world of rug pads, there are cheap rug pads often made with synthetic material, and then there are quality rug pads made with safe organic and natural materials. 
We’ve mentioned Rug Pads USA in previous posts. We just love the eco-friendly options they provide and the fact they specifically manufacture rugs pads for different types of flooring, including vinyl. 
They offer 3 rug pad options that are 100% safe for vinyl flooring:

All 3 of these rug pad options are 100% safe for vinyl flooring and come backed with a 10-year guaranteed warranty. 

Colorfastness Rugs

Colorfastness is the ability of a carpet to retain its color long after it has been manufactured, cleaned, and installed. This is very important in the rug business because if a rug loses its color, it is no good to the consumer. Equally important, if the rug loses its color on to vinly flooring, it can lead to staining and discoloration

This is why it is so important to ask the manufacturer of your rug what the colorfastness of their rugs is.

Colorfast rugs are safe for vinyl flooring as dyes will not react to water or sunlight and will pose no threat to your flooring. 

Rugs Not Ideal For Vinyl Plank Flooring

Briefly mentioned above, some of the tougher types of natural fiber rugs may not be suitable (without a rug pad) for use on vinyl flooring as they may possibly scratch the floors. 

Rugs made from synthetic materials like polypropylene, polyester, nylon, and chenille are not safe for use on vinyl floors. The chemicals in these rugs can react with the chemicals in the flooring, leaving behind stains, patterns, and residue.

Again, any rubber-backed area rug or rug pads can cause potential harm. Stay away from these. 

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