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Carpets and Area Rugs

You want your lobby, waiting room, or seating area to have a more residential or intimate feel to the space. So you place a lovely area rug on top of the wall-to-wall carpet or hard surfaced floor. No problem, right? Well, yes there is.

The issue is, that even though the size is much larger than a mat, and it seems like the rug will not go anywhere it is still a tripping hazard. If the rug moves because the floor underneath is slippery it can bunch up and even an able-bodied person can fall. When we walk across the edge and drag our toe the edge will lift up. What this also means is it is a hazard for those who have mobility problems and it can be a barrier as well for those in a wheel chair since it will bunch up and make it extremely difficult for a wheelchair and its occupant to cross to the seating area or to even go across the edge.

So what do you do?

  • You can tape the edges of the rug securely to the floor. It looks tacky but works.
  • There are 2-sided tape-type products which stick to the back side of the rug and the floor which can be a solution and typically do not leave any residue.
  • You can also stretch the rug and secure it with a trim piece attached to the flooring.

Do be aware that the building codes and the ADA do specifically state that all exposed edges of a carpet or rug are to be affixed to the floor. So in this case, you would need to secure the edges either by tape or some other type of continual anchor similar to wall-to-wall carpet. In either case, do be sure that the transition from the flooring up to the surface of the carpet is a maximum of ½” – this would be a ¼” vertical with the second ¼” at a 1:2 slope max. And the last thing to note is that the pad underneath if it exists should be firm and preferably attached to the floor so that not only does it not bunch up but also that shoes and wheels do not sink into the surface.

Be aware that your local City or County may have additional requirements that are more restrictive than the State or Federal requirements. Also, this article is an interpretation and opinion of the writer.

It is meant as a summary – current original regulations should always be reviewed when making any decisions.

© Janis Kent, Architect 2012

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