Will An Outdoor Rug Damage A Wood Deck? (Find Out Now!)

Ossiana Tepfenhart
by Ossiana Tepfenhart

As someone who has sensory and tactile issues, I can tell you that rugs are my friend. I love the feeling of rugs, even if I don’t like cleaning them. That’s why I smile when I see an outdoor rug on a wood deck. It’s barefoot time! Nice as rugs are, it’s normal to get a bit worried about your deck’s health. Can outdoor rugs damage a wood deck long-term?

Outdoor rugs can pose a threat to wood decks in a number of ways. They could scratch the wood, contribute to mold, or even create a place for pests to nest. Adding a pad underneath the rug can help reduce the damage that it can do to your deck.

Outdoor rugs are a true double-edged sword. On one hand, they are super nice and stylish. On the other, you could wreak some serious havoc on your deck.

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Can Outdoor Rugs Really Damage Wooden Decks?

While outdoor rugs can be totally deck-safe if properly installed, the truth is that they still pose a threat to your decking. Even if the rugs are meant to be placed on decks, you can still potentially harm your wood if you aren’t careful with them.

What Kind Of Damage Can Outdoor Rugs Do To A Deck?

The outdoor rug trend is hot, hot, hot, but that doesn’t always bode well for your deck. Wooden decks need a lot of care and should stay in their ideal settings. If you have an outdoor rug on your desk, you might run the risk of the following types of damage.

  • The bottom of the rug could scrape and scratch at your deck’s stain. Both indoor and outdoor rugs have a tendency of having scratchy bottoms. If you’re keeping the carpet on top of the deck, all the foot traffic will scrape the top of your deck. Over time, that’ll start to act like sandpaper. This will eventually scrape and scratch your deck’s stain and top.
  • If you have a bad rug, the dyes in the rug could stain your deck. A little rainfall with runny dyes can spell disaster for a wooden deck. It only takes a couple of rain days with a runny dyed carpet to make your deck permanently stained. This is particularly problematic on light-colored decks.
  • Mold and mildew tend to prefer outdoor rugs. Outdoor rugs can still trap moisture between the bottom of the rug and the top of your deck. (Actually, they trap moisture inside the rug fibers, too.) Mold and mildew will grow here, and at times, it can spread to your deck.
  • Pests might like them too much. The gap between the carpet and the deck can prove to be pretty cozy. Some pests, such as termites or even fleas. As a result, they can become breeding grounds for the wrong type of houseguests.

Is An Outdoor Carpet Always A Risk?

Not always. A well-made outdoor carpet that has a protective, sealed pad underneath it is not going to pose a risk to the deck. Carpeting has to be properly cared for, and so does decking. It’s all about finding a compatible carpet for the area that you want to decorate.

Should You Remove Outdoor Carpeting Before A Storm?

If you can, you absolutely should take the time to remove carpeting from your deck before a storm. This will prevent damage from happening to your carpet. The more water that your carpet gets exposed to, the higher the chances are of mold and pests.

How Can You Prevent Your Outdoor Carpet From Damaging Your Deck?

If you love the feeling of carpeting underneath your feet, there’s good news. You don’t have to swear by going carpetless. With a little care and precaution, you can enjoy outdoor carpeting and your decking without too much risk. Here’s what you should do:

  • Get a carpet that is made from synthetic fibers. Outdoor carpets made from organic carpeting are more likely to stain and mold up.
  • Buy a protective carpet pad built for outdoor carpeting. Remember how I said that carpets can be scratchy? A nice porous carpet pad will help you prevent scratching on the bottom, seal up the gap that parasites might use as a home, and also help keep the carpet in place. That’s money well-spent in our books!
  • Keep your carpet clean at all times. It may seem silly, but spilled food or pet stains can make your outdoor carpet less deck-friendly. Enzymes in organic items can attract other pests or mold. A quick cleansing or rinse will help extend the life of your carpet and deck.
  • Try to keep your carpet away from inclement weather. Water, mud, and extreme heat can all damage your outdoor carpet. When your carpet gets damaged, it could also damage the deck underneath. Storing your carpet when it’s not time to flaunt it is the best course of action here.
  • Check your deck once in a while. If you notice scratches or funny blotches, it might be time to toss your carpet. Ideally, you’ll take a moment to look under the carpet once per season.
  • Always keep your deck properly sealed. A good sealant can go a long, long way. It can help extend the lifespan of your carpet and also bolster your overall home’s value.

What Kind Of Rugs Are Bad For Your Deck?

It’s best to be choosy when you’re shopping for outdoor rugs meant for your deck. Your two biggest issues are going to be the material you pick as well as the backing. Any material that doesn’t drain and dry well should be avoided. Sadly, this means that you should avoid most organic materials.

Outdoor rugs that have a rubber bottom are generally a no-go for wooden decks. While they seem like they would do well with an outdoor deck, they don’t. Non-porous rubber backs trap water between the rubber and wood. Eventually, the water will soften and eat away the wood.

What Kind Of Outdoor Rugs Are Good For Decks?

A rug that is made from synthetic materials, has a porous (but still padded) bottom, and drains fast is your best bet. Outdoor carpets are going to have ratings available on most sites. So, you can make sure that you read up on the most durable outdoor carpets for wooden decks before you buy.

Are Outdoor Carpets Really Meant For Decks?

They can be, but if you ask me, they tend to be better on stone surfaces and concrete surfaces. Most outdoor carpets are durable, but need to have a base that won’t be prone to water damage. The best places to put an outdoor carpet include:

  • Stone walkways. If you want to add a little flair, then adding a carpet near a stone walkway is a smart way to do it. We suggest this for areas that are fairly dry.
  • Poolside areas. While it’s not as common, I’ve seen them near poolside areas with great success. It offers traction so that you don’t end up slipping and falling. If you decide to add a carpet near your pool, make sure it’s graded for poolside use.
  • Rooftop lounges. This is probably the most common way you can incorporate an outdoor rug anywhere. It’s a very NYC thing to do. Whether or not it’ll match with your brunch nook’s ambiance, of course, is totally up to you.
  • Porches and patios. I like to think of porches and patios as the suburban take on the rooftop lounge concept. Either way, outdoor carpeting tends to work well here primarily because of the fact that your porches and patios are not directly exposed to the element.

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Related Questions

Where are the best places to shop for an outdoor carpet?

It all depends on the carpet type, but it’s safe to say that you can rely on most of the major home improvement stores. This means that you can take a trip to a local hardware store like Home Depot or Lowes. If you are an online shopper, then you can give venues like Wayfair, Amazon, and most other online retailers a shot.

Are outdoor rugs waterproof?

A general rule of thumb is that you should expect your rugs to be waterproof if they are made for the outdoors. However, this isn’t always the case. Many are simply very quick-drying, making them similar to waterproof rugs in terms of durability. We suggest seeking out a rug that has been marked as waterproof if you want to use it outdoors.

Are outdoor rugs going out of style?

Outdoor rugs are definitely not for everyone, and they aren’t quite as trendy as they once were. However, that doesn’t mean that they are out of style. Like with all other items that seem to be on a decline, it’s all about how you want to use your outdoor carpet.Some outdoor carpeting looks are timeless. Others, not so much. When in doubt, check out some of the cooler ways to decorate a deck or a porch on our site!

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Ossiana Tepfenhart
Ossiana Tepfenhart

Ossiana Tepfenhart is an expert writer, focusing on interior design and general home tips. Writing is her life, and it's what she does best. Her interests include art and real estate investments.

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