How to Keep Area Rug from Bunching Up on Carpet

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Area rugs installed over wall-to-wall carpets tend to bunch up due to various reasons. These include high humidity levels, moisture problems, and poor rug construction.

To keep your rug from buckling, you need to install a room dehumidifier, a rug pad, or apply double-sided carpet tape. Fix the moisture problems where the area rugs won’t lay flat on the carpet or cause carpet bunching.

What causes bumps and ripples in area rugs?

Bumps and ripples in area rugs are not only unsightly but also pose a tripping hazard. Some of the causes of area rugs bunching up include humidity, sliding heavy items across the rug, moisture problems, and improper tensioning in hand-woven area rugs.


When humidity levels drastically rise during the summer months, the moisture in the air penetrates into the area rug fibers. This results in the rug bunching up. Usually, the ripples should disappear once humidity levels return to normal. However, in some cases, the buckling is usually severe and the owner has to take action to solve the issue.

Dragging Heavy Stuff

If you’ve been dragging heavy furniture items and household appliances across your area rug, it’s likely to buckle.

Moisture Problems

Rippling may also occur if you spill water or liquid foods on your area rug. As the rug fibers soak up the moisture, the rug swells, resulting in bumps and ripples.

Uneven Tension

For hand-woven area rugs, rippling typically occurs due to uneven tension between adjacent sections of textile. You may notice the area rug curling at the edges.

Deteriorating Adhesive

If the rug backing is glued onto the rug, the adhesive may lose its bonding power over time due to exposure to moisture. This results in the rug bunching up at certain sections.

How to keep an area rug from bunching up on carpet

An area rug that’s bunching up at certain spots is a safety risk as someone can trip on it and suffer serious injuries. It’s, therefore, crucial to take the necessary preventive measures to keep your area rug laying flat on your wall-to-wall carpet.

Here`s how to lay area rug flat:

1. Attach a Rug Pad to your Area Rug

A rug pad not only prevents your area pad from shifting as you walk on it, but also prevents buckling. Before investing in a rug pad, measure its size and take note of its shape. Ideally, you want a non-skid rug pad such as RUGPADUSA Non-Slip Backing Rug Pad that fits perfectly with your area rug.

If you can’t find a rug pad that matches your area rug, purchase a large one and cut it down to size. Next, use carpet tape to attach the rug pad to the underside of your area rug. Simply apply the tape to the bottom of the rug before sticking the pad onto it.

2. Apply Carpet Tape

A more economical alternative to rug pads is Rug Grippers double-sided carpet tape. Apply carpet tape to the underside of the area rug along the perimeter and diagonally. This will enable the rug to stick better to the carpet underneath it and prevent rippling.  

Finally, place the rug in your preferred position and press it down to make it stick to the carpet. Take note though, that this method will leave unsightly marks on your wall-to-wall carpet should you decide to replace or get rid of the area rug in the future.

3.Install a Dehumidifier

During hot summer months, when humidity levels are likely to be highest, you can install room dehumidifiers to prevent area rugs from bunching up. The hOmeLabs Energy Star dehumidifier will draw excess moisture out of the air, lessening the amount of moisture soaked up by rug fibers. This minimizes swelling and shrinking that causes rippling.

4. Fix Water Problems

If you have a plumbing leak in your subfloor that’s causing water to soak into your area rug, fix it as soon as possible. You should also clean up any water and liquid food spills on your area rug using paper towels as soon as it occurs.

5. Avoid Sliding Heavy Items

If you have to move furniture or other heavy stuff from one part of the room to another, roll up your area rug first and remove them before doing so. This will keep the area rug from rippling. After moving your furniture, you can then replace the rug in its original position.


NCBI; Tony Rosen, Et al (2013): Slipping and tripping: fall injuries in adults associated with rugs and carpets

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Joe McGuinty
I’ve been working with floors for over 12 years. I started as a flooring contractor, primarily in materials selection. Then, I switched careers into accounting, so my wife and I began buying, renovating, and re-selling homes on the side. You’d be surprised how much value you can add to a home simply by adding new floors.

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