How To Keep An Area Rug From Bunching Up On Carpet

Upgraded Home Team
by Upgraded Home Team

Whether you’re looking to add an accent to your space or simply like some extra cushioning, area rugs are a great addition to your home. However, no matter the size of the area rug, a common problem is that it will bunch up on the carpeting below it. This bunching is not only annoying and visually unappealing, but it can cause safety issues for older adults and small children.

The easiest way to keep an area rug from bunching up on your carpet is to invest in and install a non-skid rug pad that fits beneath your area rug. Non-skid rug pads are available at most places rugs are sold, including local hardware stores, Home Depot, and Lowes. They are also available online. Of course, you can do some other things if you don’t want to install a rug pad.

This guide will tell you more information about a non-skid pad and how to install one. That way, you can keep your area rug from bunching up on your carpet. Furthermore, if you don’t want to purchase a non-skid pad, we have some alternative ways for you to keep it nice and flat so it doesn’t pose any dangers or risks.

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How To Install A Non-skid Rug Pad

As previously mentioned, non-skid rug pads can be bought at most local or national hardware stores or online. Prices range from around $12 to $100, depending on the size and quality of the rug pad. Optionally, you could purchase double-sized carpet tape (also at most hardware stores) for more additional security.

Step 1: Buy A Rug Pad

The first step to installing a non-skid rug pad is to invest in a rug pad of the proper size. If you can’t find one that matches the exact sizing of your area rug, a simple fix is purchasing a carpet pad of a larger size. It’s easy enough to cut it to the correct dimensions of your area rug with scissors.

Step 2: Tape The Rug Pad

Once the rug pad is the correct size, apply the double-sized carpet tape to the bottom of the area rug. The double-sided carpet tape acts as an anchor between the area rug and the non-skid rug pad. This ensures that the non-skid rug pad will do its job in preventing the area rug from bunching up on your carpet.

If you’re looking to try something a little different, 3M sells rug anchors for approximately $6 per pack. Rug anchors are much the same as double-sided carpet tape, but they come in pre-packaged strips.

Step 3: Apply The Pad And Rug

Next, place the area rug with the non-skid carpet pad underneath your carpet. Voila! You’ve successfully installed a non-skid rug pad. Make sure you walk around the area to ensure that the carpet is compressed to the pad underneath. This will ensure that it won’t peel up or come off over time.

Benefits Of A Non-Skid Rug Pad

Non-skid rug pads have many benefits in addition to solving the bunching-on-your-carpet problem. First, non-skid rug pads act as a shield that helps prevent damage to your carpet. If either the area rug or carpet is an incredibly vibrant color, the non-skid rug pad mitigates the transfer of dye from the bright color to other material.

Additionally, non-skid rug pads aid in protecting your flooring. The rug pad helps absorb some of the pressure caused when a person walks on it, making the carpet bounce back quicker than it would if the rug pad was not there. For more information on protecting your flooring, check out our blog post about vinyl plank flooring and carpeting here.

DIY Alternatives To A Non-Skid Rug Pad

If you’re looking to save some money or simply like creative DIY projects, there are a few recommended alternatives to non-skid rug pads that will aid in keeping your area rug from bunching.

Strips Of Silicone-Based Caulking

Adding strips of silicone-based caulking to the back of an area rug helps keep your area rug in place. Make sure that you don’t use latex-based caulking, as latex can rub off easily. Friction makes latex-based caulking less effective.

Hot Glue

Similar to caulking, hot glue is an easy and economical DIY alternative to non-stick rug pads. Simply turn the area rug over and use a hot glue gun to install strips of evenly spaced glue to the bottom of the rug. After you’re finished gluing, make sure that the hot glue completely dries before turning the area rug over onto the carpeting.


A few home bloggers use Velcro strips to keep their area rugs in place. To use Velcro, attach one half of the Velcro strip to the bottom of the area rug and the other half in the same position to the top of a thin fiberboard situated between the area rug and carpeting.

The fiberboard provides a barrier between the area rug and carpeting that keeps the area rug in place when Velcro strips are used. You can’t feel the texture of the fiberboard underneath the rug.

Tape Down The Carpet

Something else that you can do is tape the edges of the rug as well as the middle directly to the carpet. However, you should keep in mind that this is only a temporary fix because that tape will last only about two to there weeks. But, you may be one of the many Americans who live paycheck to paycheck and need to save up for an extra purchase. That’s okay! You can tape the rug to the carpet until you are able to purchase a non-skid rug pad.

If you do this, you need to check it at least once a week to make sure it’s doing its job. If it starts to bunch up, it’s time to reapply the tape. Then, when you finally get your rug pad, follow the above instructions to install the pad, so your rug stays in one place.

How To Prevent Area Rug “Buckling” Caused By Furniture

When heavy furniture is placed on top of an area rug, “buckling,” or wrinkled indentations, occur. If these indentations are unappealing to you, double-sided carpet tape will do the trick here as well. Place this tape around the perimeter of the area rug in question in an “X” formation on the bottom of the rug. Double-sided carpet tape usually sells for between $10 and $15.

How Often Should You Replace Non-Skid Rug Pads?

To ensure that the rug pad is doing its job, you will need to replace the pad once every three to four years. However, anytime that you have your rug professionally cleaned, you will also need to have the rug pad replaced. Before you install the rug pad, it’s a good idea to take your rug in for professional cleaning. That way, you aren’t removing it just to have to replace the rug pad again.

If you decide to keep your rug in place when you deep clean it, don’t let the water sit too long. If you do, then the water will seep through the backing of the carpet and into the rug pad. This will eventually hinder the stickiness of the tape and can cause mold to grow under your rug.

Related Questions

How do I clean my area rug?

Use a vacuum for regular cleaning, just as you would on carpeting. To remove stains, use a microfiber cloth dipped in a mixture of water and laundry detergent and gently blot the area rug until the stain (hopefully) comes out. Once you’ve finished blotting, allow the area rug to air dry.

For more information on cleaning area rugs or carpeting, check out another one of our blog posts here.

What are the best area rugs for high-traffic areas?

Wool or bamboo are the best materials for area rugs that experience high traffic. Wool is water repellant, which makes it the recommended rug for places prone to spillage or wet shoes. Bamboo, on the other hand, is resilient and has the ability to withstand years of use.

Can you put an area rug in the washing machine?

For area rugs made of cotton or synthetic fibers, throw them in the washing machine on cold. Once the washing cycle is finished, air-dry the rug.

For area rugs made of wool, jute, or sisal, it’s best to hand wash the rug to be safe.

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Wrapping Up

If you’re looking for ways to prevent your area rug from bunching up on your carpet, there are many economical solutions. The easiest and most traditional route would be to install a non-skid rug pad underneath the area rug. For those looking to get creative, there are other easy DIY solutions to the problem.

A bunching rug isn’t only annoying, but it also causes a dangerous environment. People trip over bunched-up rugs easily, so this needs to be taken care of as soon as possible, especially if you have any elderly individuals in the home. By providing a non-skid pad, this will keep your rug from bunching up so that everyone can safely walk over it.

Upgraded Home Team
Upgraded Home Team

We are a team of passionate homeowners, home improvement pros, and DIY enthusiasts who enjoy sharing home improvement, housekeeping, decorating, and more with other homeowners! Whether you're looking for a step-by-step guide on fixing an appliance or the cost of installing a fence, we've here to help.

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