Choosing the Right Floor Protectors

You’ve made the investment in new flooring for your home. So what can you do to help ensure your flooring stays looking like new?

One of the biggest flooring maintenance issues is scratches, especially those caused by furniture that is regularly moved back and forth across flooring, such as kitchen chairs and tables. To help reduce the likelihood of these types of scratches, there are many products available, ranging from simple self-adhesive felt pads to rolling casters that can be mounted onto furniture legs. Some products offer better protection than others, and some work better with different furniture and flooring types.

Regardless of the products you choose, keep in mind that no furniture protector is fail-proof. Improper installation of the protectors could lead to unwanted scuffs and scratches. For example, some furniture protectors are designed to be nailed into furniture legs. If the protector is made of plastic, and you hammer it directly, the plastic may crack, leaving sharp edges. With these types of products, it may be better to place a piece of wood over the cap when hammering, so that the hammer is not in direct contact with the plastic. Also, when installing a screw-in or nail-in product on a wood furniture leg, pre-drilling a hole into the leg first may make installation easier, help prevent the nail head from pushing out and the wood will be less likely to split

Even when attached to furniture properly, many of the popular felt-adhesive products will wear over time and may fall off or rip, especially when placed on chairs that get frequent use. If dirt or grit gets trapped in the felt or the adhesive, damage to floors can also result. So it’s important to check furniture often to ensure that protectors are securely in place and free of dirt and debris.

Remember: New protectors are not expensive – but new floors can be!

Floor Protectors At a Glance

The following lists a sampling of some of the more popular furniture protectors available and the pros and cons of each.

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Self-adhesive felt pads

Self-adhesive felt pads
Description

Felt pads with an adhesive backing

Installation Method

Peel back and apply self-adhesive side to clean, dry surface

Recommended Use

Safe on all indoor hard floor surfaces: wood, ceramic tile, finished concrete, vinyl composition tile

Pros
  • Will adhere to most types of furniture
  • Offered in a variety of shapes, sizes, and thicknesses.
  • Easy installation
  • Helps prevent flooring damage by softening edges
  • Allows for furniture movement
  • Reduces noise associated with moving furniture
Cons / Recommended Maintenance
  • Dirt and debris can get trapped on/under the pads, which may lead to scuffs on flooring
  • Adhesive tends to lose stickiness over time, especially when used on furniture that is moved frequently
  • Will not prevent indents from heavy furniture
  • Check furniture often to ensure pads are in place and free of debris
  • Vacuum or replace damaged/dirty pads.

Formed-felt pads

Formed-felt pads
Description

Made from reinforced felt with formed sides designed to fit more securely around table and chair legs

Installation Method

Peel back and apply to clean, dry surface

Recommended Use

Safe on all indoor hard floor surfaces: wood, ceramic tile, vinyl composition tile, finished concrete

Pros
  • Can be used with desks, bar stools, folding chairs, and other chair and table legs
  • Available in various square and round sizes
  • Easy installation
  • Formed sides fit securely around chair and table legs creating more durability and better fit than standard flat felt pads
  • Allows for furniture movement
  • Protects flooring from rust
  • Reduces noise associated with moving furniture
Cons / Recommended Maintenance
  • Dirt and debris can get trapped on/under the pads, which may lead to scuffs on flooring
  • Check often for proper fit and evidence of debris.
  • Vacuum or replace if damaged or dirty

Tap-In felt glides

Tap-In felt glides
Description

Felt-tipped glides held in place by a thin-walled metal rivet

Installation Method

Tap metal rivet into the bottom of wood furniture legs with a hammer
Note: In some cases, drilling a hole into the wood first, may work best

Recommended Use

Safe on all indoor hard floor surfaces: wood, ceramic tile, finished concrete, vinyl composition tile

Pros
  • For furniture with wood feet/legs
  • Felt tip protects floors from scratches
  • Less likely to come off with frequent use than stick-on
Cons / Recommended Maintenance
  • Dirt and debris can get trapped on/under the pads, which may lead to scuffs on floor
  • Limited use: only for furniture with wooden legs/feet
  • More effort required for installation
  • Check often for proper fit and evidence of debris
  • Vacuum or replace if damaged or dirty

Rubber / Teflon-like grippers

Rubber/Teflon-like grippers
Description

Many contain an O’ring design, specially formulated to prevent furniture from moving

Installation Method

Place securely over clean, dry furniture legs

Recommended Use

Some include self-stick adhesive for added adhesion

Pros
  • deal for use with recliner chairs
  • Protects hardwood, laminates, tiles, parquet and slate
  • Stops furniture from moving/ sliding
  • Easy installation
  • Available in a range of sizes
Cons / Recommended Maintenance
  • Indentations may occur when used on cushion vinyl or soft wood floors
  • Not recommended for use with furniture that moves frequently

Stick-on / Screw-on foot protectors

Stick-on/Screw-on foot protectors
Description

Made of an easy-glide material that can be applied to furniture using a stick-on or nail-on method

Installation Method

Screw-on method:

  • Drill hole in existing leg and screw glide in

Stick-on method:
  • Peel and place securely on clean, dry furniture legs
Recommended Use
  • Designed for narrow furniture legs (3/4” to 1 1/4” in diameter)
  • Ideal for dining chairs with leveled feet and lightweight furniture.
  • Protects hardwood, laminates, tile, vinyl, slate
Pros
  • Designed for narrow furniture legs (3/4” to 1 1/4” in diameter)
  • Ideal for dining chairs with leveled feet and lightweight furniture.
  • Protects hardwood, laminates, tile, vinyl, slate
Cons / Recommended Maintenance
  • Drilling may be required for more secure fit
  • Not made for wide furniture legs
  • Indentations may occur when used on cushion vinyl or soft wood floors
  • The sliding inserts can pop off

Cup-shaped protectors

Cup-shaped protectors
Description

Cups are typically made from rubber or plastic

Installation Method

Place on floor and rest furniture legs on top

Recommended Use

Designed for heavier furniture

Pros
  • Used only with stationary objects, such as heavy appliances and furniture that will not be moved frequently
  • Easy installation
  • Good weight distribution over a larger area to help decrease the likelihood of a heavy item crushing or puncturing the flooring
Cons / Recommended Maintenance
  • Not for use with furniture that requires frequent movement
  • May not distribute weight over as large of an area as glides (see below)

Caster cups

Caster cups
Description

Coasters that typically extend up the leg approximately 1”; some include an O-ring design to hold legs in place

Installation Method

Place on floor and rest furniture legs on top

Recommended Use

For use on hard flooring surfaces

Pros
  • Good for piano-style wheels and other furniture with caster wheels
  • Stops furniture with castor wheels from rolling around
  • Protects the floor from damage when chairs slide or tip at an angle
  • Available in a variety of diameters
Cons / Recommended Maintenance
  • May not distribute weight over as large of an area as glides (see below)
  • Indentations may occur when used on cushion vinyl or soft wood floors
  • Check for cracks and clean periodically

Swivel glides

Swivel glides
Description

Swiveling glides typically made of Teflon-like material

Installation Method

Nail into the bottom of the furniture leg

Recommended Use

May require drilling a hole first

Pros
  • Some products offer screw-on option
  • For use on hard flooring surfaces
  • Use with furniture that is moved frequently
  • Caster will move when a chair leg is tipped back
  • Allows heavier weight distribution over a larger area than with a fixed protector
Cons / Recommended Maintenance
  • Indentations may occur when used on cushion vinyl or soft wood floors
  • Check and clean periodically

Casters

Description

Typically ball-shaped and constructed of rubber, metal, or Teflon-like plastic, designed to roll under a heavy load; stem is typically made of steel for added strength

Installation Method

Typically used as replacement of existing furniture foot, in which case old foot is screwed off and caster is screwed in

Recommended Use

May require drilling a hole

Pros
  • Use for office chairs, refrigerators, bed frames, etc.
  • Before using on carpeting, a chair mat should be in place to deflect the impact of swiveling casters and allow for a smoother glide
  • Can be used on most hard floor surfaces
  • Caster will move when a chair leg is tipped back
  • Allows heavier weight distribution over a larger area than with a fixed protector
Cons / Recommended Maintenance
  • Indentations may occur when used on cushion vinyl or soft wood floors
  • Attention should be paid to achieving the widest amount of contact with the flooring as possible. Too narrow of a contact point can have a blade-like effect under load.
  • Check and clean wheels periodically

Cloth furniture gliders

Cloth furniture gliders
Description

A round disc typically with a foam center and cloth protection pad

Installation Method

Slip the protection pad around the glide disc

Recommended Use

Slightly raise or tilt the object to be moved and place glide underneath each leg or corner (foam side of the mover faces upward)

Pros
  • Intended for temporary use and not as permanent protection
  • For use on all hard flooring surfaces
  • Ideal for moving furniture from one place to another
  • Reusable
  • Made for heavy furniture (many hold up to 1,000lbs)
Cons / Recommended Maintenance
  • Before moving furniture, ensure glides are correctly in place and under all legs that will slide across flooring
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Web Page: How To Choose The Right Floor Protectors
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Overall Rating: 4.0 stars - 4 reviews

By:
Date: July 2, 2014
Page Rating: (5.0/5)
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This was very helpful. Thank you very much.
By:
Date: June 24, 2014
Page Rating: (5.0/5)
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Very complete and useful
By:
Date: April 22, 2014
Page Rating: (5.0/5)
Comments:
This is outstanding!!! It really helps me understand my floor protector options.
By:
Date: May 1, 2013
Page Rating: (1.0/5)
Comments:
Hardly a complete choice of options. And the caster you show is not "typically ball shaped" but wheel shaped. Not scratching the floor wont be the only problem if you lean back in a chair with glides so it moves with you - concussion, maybe.

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