Sometimes, it’s the little things in life that can prove to be the biggest annoyances. Sure, given everything going on in the world right now, mats sliding around on carpeting isn’t likely to be at the top of the list of things that may annoy you – but it’s at least something within your power to change.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at why chair mats move around on carpeting so much in the first place and what you can do about it.
Why They Move
To put things simply, mats tend to move in the direction of the carpet pile on which they rest.
Imagine you are walking on a mat right now. The force of you walking across the mat transfers through it to the carpeting, and so as one moves, the other moves along with it.
This can be especially true with plush mats that lack a rubber backing. These mats are typically so soft that, without something on the back to hold them in place, the force will transfer all the more to the carpeting, causing the creep we all know and loathe.
That’s also true for the force transferred from a chair to a mat as well.
1 – Rubber Backing
That’s why you’ll want to look for carpeting with creep. The rubber backing will not eliminate every problem with carpet-mat creep, but it will at least stop the mat from slipping along as easily as in a soft plush rubberless example.
2 – Gripper or Claw Backing
Maybe you want to go one step further and embrace a solution that is centered not just on preventing carpet-mat creep but keeping your mat rooted to the spot. Obviously, your mat isn’t going to sprout roots any time soon, but that doesn’t mean it can’t grip your flooring and stay put in other ways.
This is the basic idea behind mats that make use of gripper or claw backings. The claws or grippers on the back dig down into your carpet pile, preventing your mat from slipping along as easily. You still transfer force through the mat to the carpeting, but the former has now been “reinforced” in such a way as to prevent it creeping along with the latter.
That being said, not all mat claw or grip backings are created equal. What’s more, you obviously don’t want any claws or grips that may tear up your carpeting. As such, you’ll want to do your research and make sure that the kind of claw or gripper mat that you are getting is carpeting friendly.
3 – Non-Skid Underlays
If the grip mats aren’t enough, you may need to go a level deeper – literally. Non-skid underlays work by placing a layer between the mat and the carpet, thus keeping the former from slipping along when pressure is applied to the latter.
This is by far one of the least expensive options on this list, so if cost is a factor, this is definitely an alternative to consider.
It should be noted that this underlay, while non-skid, is typically sticky. While that is usually only on the side that is going to be stuck in place, you still want to make sure that you don’t leave these underlays in a position that could jeopardize your carpeting’s integrity.
To get the most out of this solution, you are going to want to make sure that the underlay is cut in such a way as to ensure that it sticks to the bottom of your mat without overtaking it. In addition, you need to make sure that you do not trip over the underlay. The practical upshot of this is that you need to make sure that it is a few inches shorter than your mat.
4 – Make Sure Your Mat Is of Good Quality
This is perhaps easier said than done given that quality can be subjective. That being said, there’s no denying that thin, inexpensive, flimsy mats can roll up on themselves or creep along more than a thick, well-made alternative.
That of course begs the question – what kind of mats are of the best quality? That’s a rabbit hole which is too deep to explore in its entirety, but to take just a peek inside, it’s worth remembering that thicker materials not only wear better but can often create more friction with the carpeting underneath. This, in turn, can help prevent slippage.
5 – Weigh it Down
This is probably the simplest option on this list – or at least it may appear that way at first. That being said, while this is certainly an obvious choice, it is by no means bereft of difficulties.
For one thing, you may not want to obscure your carpeting. For another, you want to make sure that you don’t place anything on the mat that could cause you to trip. Then there’s the question of which items are heavy enough to weigh down the mat and not be dragged along with it in the event of slippage while not obscuring the mat or carpeting.
In any case, this is definitely more of a stopgap measure more than a complete solution.
6 – Keep it Clean
It’s a small but significant thing – wash your mat regularly. If it gets soaked through with sweat, water, or muck from outside, it may start to slip, and indeed may stain the carpet underneath.
7 – Use the Right Mat for the Right Job
Last, but not least, you want to make sure you are using the right mat for your particular circumstance.
If you are working out, you should be doing so on a workout mat, not a throw rug.
If you are looking to create an area where guests can take off or put on their shoes, or otherwise deal with lots of foot traffic, it needs to be especially thick and durable.
There are a surprising variety of things you need to consider when it comes to making sure that your mat doesn’t slip or creep along with the carpeting. That said, by following these simple tips, you can indeed gain better control over this tiny corner of household life.