7 Reasons Outdoor Rugs Are A BAD Idea (Explained)

If you want to decorate the outdoor areas of your house, such as the deck, patio, porch, or balcony, placing outdoor rugs is the most common way to do so. It is also the easiest.

You just need to buy an outdoor rug and put it in place, and that would instantly spruce up your outdoor area.

Outdoor rugs are made to withstand different kinds of weather and outdoor elements and resist dirt. Plus, they are known to be very durable and can withstand high-traffic areas.

However, there are downsides or cons to getting an outdoor rug.

Here is why outdoor rugs are a BAD idea:

1. Outdoor rugs are not big enough for your outdoor space.

Most, if not all, outdoor spaces such as decks and patios are big. And more often than not, you would be hard-pressed to find a rug that can cover the majority of the area.

The largest size for common area rugs is 12 x 15 feet, or 366 x 457 in centimeters, and most outdoor areas are a lot bigger than that. 

While this is not a huge problem as rugs do not need to be in the exact size as your space, most outdoor rugs are still too small for outdoor spaces. And if you put a small outdoor rug in a very big space, it can be unsightly.

Additionally, this can also be a safety hazard for you and the members of your household.

Putting small outdoor rugs in big spaces can be dangerous as there is always a possibility of people tripping on them and falling, which of course, can result in injury.

2. Outdoor rugs actually do not last as long as people expect.

While outdoor rugs are made to handle and resist different outdoor elements, and even extreme weather conditions, they are naturally not as long-lasting to compared to other rugs.

The most common outdoor rugs are polyester rugs, nylon rugs, and polypropylene rugs, and they are all made of synthetic materials. In general, these rugs can only last for two to three years.

If they are maintained really well, they can last for a maximum of five years – which is still not a long time, especially if your rug costs a lot.

People who buy outdoor rugs often find themselves replacing their rugs every two or three years, which can get quite expensive. This is because synthetic material rugs wear out faster.

These rugs are made by weaving and gluing the fibers into a backing, which means they are not as resilient as rugs that are hand-woven or hand-knotted.

Even if the outdoor elements will not damage your outdoor rug, it still would naturally wear out after a couple of years. It has nothing to do with how you take care of them.

Two to three years is really just the normal lifespan for outdoor rugs.

3. Outdoor rugs tend to be neglected and can become moldy.

One of the pros of outdoor rugs is that they can withstand different weather conditions, and are resilient when exposed to water or humidity. However, this pro can turn into a con when the outdoor rugs people become complacent and these rugs become neglected.

Most people think that because outdoor rugs are weather-resistant, they can be left outdoors for a very long time. This is why it is so easy for people to neglect them and just leave them outside.

However, constant exposure to water and humidity can still damage your outdoor rug.

If you let water or moisture stay on the rug for a prolonged period of time, it can cause the growth of mold and mildew. While outdoor rugs generally resist mold and mildew, the dirt that accumulates on your rug can still be a breeding ground for mold and mildew.

This will turn your outdoor rug black, which can be very hard to remove.

This is why when you have an outdoor rug and it starts to rain, it is still best to fold the rug and store it indoors until the rain stops.

And this completely defeats the idea of having an outdoor rug.

4. Outdoor rugs are not as low maintenance as they seem.

Outdoor rugs seem to be a very good idea as they claim to be low maintenance, but a lot of outdoor rug owners have discovered that this is not true.

Although outdoor rugs are resistant to different weather elements, prolonged exposure to water and moisture can cause the growth of mold and mildew.

This means that if you want to prevent mold and mildew growth, you have to dry your outdoor rug as soon as it gets wet.

Or better yet, you have to remove it for a bit and store it indoors to completely prevent it from getting wet.

This in itself can be a hassle. Rugs are bulky and heavy and it takes quite an effort to remove them, roll them, and store them properly.

Furthermore, some outdoor rugs need thorough cleaning and washing to completely remove the dirt. When neglected, a lot of dirt can build up on the fibers.

This is why it is still important to vacuum your outdoor rug and shake it off every now and then to prevent dirt from building up.

5. Outdoor rugs can fade.

In general, outdoor rugs are made to withstand up to a certain degree of sun and UV exposure.

However, prolonged exposure to the sun and its UV rays can cause your rug to fade over time.

This is more noticeable when your rug comes in a vibrant color.

This is why, even if your rug can withstand direct sunlight, it is still recommended to place them in outdoor areas or patios that are covered.

6. Outdoor rugs can negatively affect your wooden decks.

More often than not, outdoor rugs do not entirely cover your outdoor areas as they are not big enough to do so. And if you have a wooden deck with no cover overhead, your outdoor rug can affect the deck.

When your wooden deck and your outdoor rug get exposed to direct sunlight, it is inevitable for them to fade out over time.

The wooden surface naturally fades after a few months of sun exposure. If you have a rug that only covers a portion of your deck, it protects only that certain portion from sun exposure.

The outdoor rug will not even out the fading of the wooden deck. If you remove the rug, you will find a darker portion on the wooden deck where the rug used to be.

7. Outdoor rugs can be a health and environmental hazard.

Most outdoor rugs, such as polyester rugs and polypropylene rugs, are synthetic material rugs that may contain harmful chemicals.

Some polyester and polypropylene fibers are derived from petroleum. This is why these rugs have an unpleasant chemical smell when they are brand new and fresh off the packaging.

These outdoor rugs have smells that contain volatile organic compounds or VOCs. These VOCs can cause headaches, dizziness, and nausea, especially in people who are very sensitive.

They can also cause allergies. So these rugs can be harmful if you have kids or babies in the household.

These outdoor rugs can also be a hazard to the environment. The production of polyester and polypropylene fibers depends a lot on the extraction of fossil fuel. Thus, the process of making these rugs have a high carbon footprint and can damage the environment.

Furthermore, these rugs are non-biodegradable.

Simply put, the fibers of these rugs are made of plastic. And just like most types of plastic, they do not easily break down or decompose. Generally, synthetic fibers can take up to 200 years to decompose.

So if your outdoor rugs are worn out and you have to dispose of them, they would add to the ton of plastic waste present in the environment.

Do take note that there are still polyester and propylene rugs that use eco-friendly and non-toxic synthetic materials. You just have to always check the label.

Outdoor rugs look great and they come in many different styles and designs, but it is always best to consider the pros and cons before getting one.

Now that you know why outdoor rugs can be a bad idea, it is time to ask yourself: will it be worth it?


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