Rugs for the Great Outdoors

I’d never thought I’d see the day when an area rug could be used on a deck or patio and not have to be taken in at the first sign of rain.  Sure enough, outdoor rugs have made the transition, bringing the indoors to the great outdoors.  But how can a rug withstand moisture damage, stains and sun fade? 

Polypropylene, also known by its brand name Olefin, takes center stage with outdoor rugs, as it is:

  • Quick drying, since it doesn’t absorb moisture well;
  • Flexible but durable;
  • Stain repellent;
  • Lightweight;
  • Mildew resistant; and
  • Heat resistant.

So how do you know which rugs can take the heat and which rugs can’t?

  • Choose outdoor rugs made of Polypropylene, and not of jute, nor a jute bend;
  • Check the cleaning instructions, you should be able to hose off an outdoor rug, if not, that should be a clue that it may not be a true outdoor rug; and
  • If the rug is edged in material, make sure it is an outdoor rated material such as Sunbrella, that can also withstand moisture and soiling.

Bamboo rugs are also a popular option for patios, porches and decks.  Not as durable nor with as many design options as the Polypropylene rugs, bamboo can be used outdoors, but cannot always be left outside full time.  Check the label carefully if considering a bamboo outdoor rug, it may not be as weather resistance as you think.

Expect to pay from $150 - $400 for a full sized 8x11 foot outdoor Polypropylene rug.  Bamboo rugs will be a little less expensive running from $100 - $350 for a full sized.  They come in all shapes and sizes, from mats to room size.

When considering an outdoor area rug, don’t forget the same considerations as when choosing one for an interior area.  If you’re using one to define a seating area, avoid the floating rug syndrome – make sure the furniture has at least the front legs on the rug.  If the back legs are off the rug, make sure the furniture is steady.

Don’t think for a minute these rugs can’t go right inside and give you the same stain resistance, moisture resistance and easy cleaning as they can outside.  They’re perfect for playrooms, kitchens and family rooms and will hold up just fine to high traffic, pets and kids.