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I am renting a room in a townhouse and in the winters my room gets really, really cold. The floor specifically. I suspect it's because the bottom floor was built directly on the foundation with no insulation in between.

I have a rug that covers over half my room, and I was wondering if it would be a good idea to place some sort of insulated pads below my rug.

Would that work? I'm not going to cover the whole room, but I assume the floor wouldn't be as cold in the area where I have insulation under the rug right?

If you think this could work, would you have any recommendation on what type of insulation I should look to get?

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  • Most of us think the way to keep warm in winter is to put more covers on top of the sheets. In fact, more covers under the sheets would would be almost exactly as useful. Broadly, you might start above then go below, and so on… Oct 3, 2023 at 21:02
  • It doesn't really want to go down; you have to stop it from going up.
    – Mazura
    Oct 3, 2023 at 23:09

3 Answers 3

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Carpet/rug pads will add some insulation value.

The math of insulation is such that throwing rugs over as much of the floor as possible (use small washable ones for potentially wet areas like kitchen and bathroom) will make more difference than just adding more insulation under the half that already has a rug.

An alternative treatment for potentially wet areas would be interlocking foam pads (intended to be walked on directly), available in bright cheery colors for children's play areas or dull boring colors for gyms and workshops.

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    We use those foam pads to good effect on a tiled floor, designed and used for playing on. Price and robustness go in order: workshop > gym > kids play. The cheap light play ones might actually be better for insulation as there's a greater proportion of air in them. In some cases it can make sense to insulate under a rug, once you've covered much of the floor with rugs and you're left with fiddly bits. Thick washable rugs are quite common in the colder parts of northern Europe.
    – Chris H
    Oct 3, 2023 at 19:44
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    As an in between option between bright colors and industrial flooring, my parents have interlocking foam in a faux hardwood pattern making a walkway in their unheated basement. It makes a big difference vs the bare concrete in the winter if you're not wearing shoes. Oct 3, 2023 at 20:51
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Your thinking is somewhat flawed. If there's heat escaping around the rug, the lower layer of air will always be cool, and therefore so will the rug. You need to insulate the entire floor, or close to it, to see much benefit.

Otherwise you're only improving feel, the resistance to heat transfer out of your skin. That's different from temperature, and depends less on temperature and more on local insulation value.

If you want to actually increase the air temperature near the floor, cover as much of the floor as you can. If you just want to improve temperature feel, add whatever layers are available to increase the thickness of trapped air underfoot.

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A wool carpet pad would work well.

Just search for "wool carpet pads". There are various sizes and you can get some custom cut.

For smaller rugs you should also add some double-sided carpet tape, to prevent the rug from sliding.

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