Things to Consider When Installing an Area Rug in a Cavity Floor

Can you install a rug into a cavity floor? Sure! Any handmade rug can be altered to fit into a cavity floor. Do we recommend installing a rug in a cavity floor? At Behnam Rugs, we strongly suggest looking into other installation options. As nice as a handmade rug may look when installed in a cavity floor, the maintenance issues can outweigh the aesthetics in the long run. Read on to learn more about these issues.

Handmade rugs, whether they are hand-knotted, hand-woven, or hand-tufted, have unique structures. Due to the nature of these structures, the foundations of handmade rugs shift over time as a result of tensions from the various types of pressure put on them. These types of pressure can be anything from furniture placed on top of a rug to simply walking on a rug day after day. The foundation of a handmade rug shifting is completely normal, and this shifting can also be minimized with the use of a rug pad. While the shifting of a rug’s foundation is generally not an issue when you simply have a rug on a pad on a floor, even the tiniest changes become apparent when a rug is placed in a cavity floor. The rug’s foundation shifting will result in small gaps between the edge of the rug and the edge of the cavity floor.

Another challenge you will come across when installing a rug in a cavity floor is the padding. An improper pad will not prevent a rug’s foundation from shifting, and when a rug’s foundation shifts, you will begin to see uneven edges and surface rippling. The quality, material, and thickness of the pad you select will dictate how the rug will conform to the cavity and how structurally intact it will remain over time.

Next, a rug must remain secure in the cavity. To secure a rug’s movement in a cavity floor, the rug installer you pick will likely opt to treat the handmade rug like a carpet. They will install tack strips to the edges of the cavity, forcing the rug to remain secure in the cavity, more so than with just a pad. As the rug is used and put under the pressures of walking traffic, it may become stretched out, making the rug larger than the cavity when removed from the installation for maintenance repairs and washes. The most common solution to this problem is to alter the rug, cutting it once again to fit the cavity.

Installed rugs also have the opposite problem: shrinkage. A maintenance rug washing might cause slight shrinkage in the installed rug depending on the construction and material of the rug. A rug might also shrink if it is present during a flood. Although this shrinkage is unnoticeable in normal situations, when a rug is installed in a cavity floor, even a tiny size difference is noticeable and apparent. This shrinkage, usually ranging from under half an inch up to several inches, can also be uneven. Different sides of your rug may shrink different. Again, in normal situations, this is almost always unnoticeable. This is due to things like your rug stretching naturally when being walked on over time. Unfortunately, installed rugs are stretched out unnaturally while also enduring the normal amount of traffic. These unnatural stressors on a rug’s construction cause it to weaken over time. One remedy to shrinkage is to add additional pieces of flooring to the cavity. Alternatively, you or your installer may opt to add a matching carpet, metal, tile, or wood border in the cavity over the rug to offset the shrinkage. Another option is to install flute edge molding around all four sides of the cavity. When the new rug is installed, it will allow for shrinkage in the future.