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Our dogs are getting old and need more secure footing. So we're going to loose-lay room size pieces of new conventional carpet on top of a nicely finished wood floors. A couple of rooms. Some hardwood, some engineered. Loose-lay. No padding. Not wall-to-wall with tack strips. We're worried the coarseness of the underside of the carpet will scratch the wood floor finish, even though the carpet will not be sliding around like a rug since sofas, bookcases, beds etc... will, we hope, weight it in place. We plan to take it once a year to clean it and to clean up any dirt/sand that has made its way underneath.

We've thought of kraft-paper (either the thin smooth kind, or heavier textured kind that is like tar paper with out the tar) or plastic. Or something else? What would be best for protecting the wood finish for a couple of years?

  • Big danger is if any pee sits undetected for a while it will permanently stain the hardwood even refinishing will not remove the discoloration – Kris Jun 13 '18 at 23:16
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I would consider the lace mesh rubber mats that are sold for use under area rugs. Almost anything else is going to result in a lot of movement, which will be unpleasant for the occupants as well as increases the risk of damage to the hardwood.

  • might creep. won't slip. $60 per 100 sqft. – April Jun 13 '18 at 19:48
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There are various types of underlay which are made to go under carpets or to go under laminate flooring.

The type of underlay sold for carpets is usually a 3-5mm thick layer of foam type material. There is also a wood fibre type material.

The type sold to go underneath laminate can be wood fibre or polystyrene. Some of those types come with double sided sticky tape on the underside where you can peel off a backing so that the underlay doesn't slip, although you may have difficulty removing the sticky residue when you want to take it up. Some types which are less sticky can easily be removed with some rubbing alcohol or WD-40, but some other brands can be difficult to remove.

Unfortunately there are only two real ways to ensure zero movement, one of them is physically fixing the underlay with tacks or staples which is obviously ruled out, and the other way is by using the double sided sticky tape.

With that being said, if you have various pieces of heavy furniture around which will weight the carpet down then I would assume the risk of moving or slippage should be minimal.

Some of the polystyrene types of underlay also have a waterproof membrane "aqua-stop" so that any liquids spilled won't soak through to the floor underneath, unless of course, the liquid is spilled at the edge of the room and has an opportunity to go around the edge.

  • Hello, and welcome to Home Improvement. Great answer: keep 'em coming! – Daniel Griscom Jan 13 at 19:46

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