Protecting your wood and laminate floors

Laminates and wood floors have a lot going for them. They look good, they’re easy to keep clean and they don’t harbor dust mites or odours.

Laminates and wood floors have a lot going for them.

They look good, they’re easy to keep clean and they don’t harbor dust mites or odours.

But even the toughest versions call for protection from scratches caused by chair legs, tables and home office furniture (especially home office furniture). Even some products made specifically for protecting wood-type floors don’t actually work as well as they’re supposed to.

Self adhesive felt pads are the first thing that comes to mind for floor protection and these do work well as long as you remember two things.

First, you need to renew the pads every year or two, because they get compressed and hard. Also, you need to watch out for grit trapped in the felt, scratching the floor as furniture is moved about.

Rub your finger over the felt to clean it every now and then, to keep it working properly. This isn’t essential on couches and coffee tables and other pieces of furniture that don’t move much, but it’s pretty important on dining chairs and other items that are constantly sliding back and forth.

It’s not unusual for new chairs and coffee tables and couches to have domed plastic glides fastened to the bottom of their legs at the factory.

And while these might be fine on carpet or ceramic tiles, they sure do a number on wood and laminate floors. You’ve got to take them off.

Glides fasten like a great big thumbtack. Use a screwdriver to pry off the glide.

You’ll find a smooth, flat wood surface underneath — ideal for sticky felt pads. Just wipe the bottom of the leg clean to remove any dust, then peel the backing off the felt and put it on.

You’re faced with an entirely different challenge when it comes to rolling desk chairs on wood floors. Actually, quite a daunting challenge.

Felt isn’t an option because of the wheels, and I’ve learned the hard way that those thick, flexible, clear plastic pads they sell for office chairs to roll on carpet don’t protect wood or laminate either. Even with a little bit of grit under there, these plastic pads act as one gigantic sanding block when used over hard surface floors.

They won’t ruin your floor right away, and they do protect the surface from wheel damage, but even with diligent vacuuming underneath, plastic pads cause trouble in a few years.

One alternative is a wooden home office chair with runners on the bottom instead of wheels.

I’ve been using one of these since March and it works great. I bought mine from Crate Designs (www.cratedesigns.ca; 800-563-1458), and with strips of felt fastened along the entire length of the runners there’s been absolutely no damage to the laminate floors in my office.

These chairs are also easy to slide around and they’re even designed to tip backwards without suffering damage when you want to kick back.

The best solution I’ve found so far for protecting a wooden floor from a rolling office chair is a folding bamboo floor protector with felt fastened across the entire bottom surface. These aren’t very common, but I got mine from Select Rugs Canada (www.selectrugscanada.ca; 888-685-1735).

The bamboo comes factory finished (either dark or light), and it’s quite hard. Rolling desk chairs do cause minor damage to the surface of the bamboo, but the unit I’ve been using for more than twelve months has been holding up surprisingly well.

Despite their need to be pampered, I’ll always have wood floors in my house. The trick is knowing how to protect them, and committing to the little bit of extra effort required to keep them looking good.

Steve Maxwell is Canada’s award-winning home improvement expert, and technical editor of Canadian Home Workshop magazine. Sign up for his free homeowner newsletter at www.stevemaxwell.ca

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Don and Gloria Moore, of Red Deer, are set to celebrate their 70th anniversary later this month. (Contributed photo)
Red Deer couple to celebrate 70th anniversary

Red Deer couple Don and Gloria Moore are set to celebrate their… Continue reading

Chris Scott, owner of The Whistle Stop Cafe, was put in handcuffs after an anti-restriction protest Saturday in the parking lot of the business. (Screenshot via The Whistle Stop Facebook page)
UPDATE: Central Alberta cafe owner arrested after anti-restriction protest

The owner of a central Alberta cafe, which was the site of… Continue reading

Alberta has 1,910 active cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday. Red Deer is reporting five active cases, with 108 recovered. (File photo)
Red Deer now has 911 active COVID-19 cases

Central zone has 2,917 active cases

Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre's expansion project is still a high priority, says Alberta Infrastructure Minister Prasad Panda. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Red Deer hospital ICU admissions stable, but rising, says surgeon

The Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre’s intensive care unit is in better… Continue reading

FILE - A firefighter wears a mask as he drives his truck. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward, File
VIDEO: Flames rip through Edmonton-area seniors complex, but no fatalities

ST. ALBERT, Alta. — Fire has destroyed part of a retirement complex… Continue reading

Nuns of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, carry some of her relics during a vigil of prayer in preparation for the canonization of Mother Teresa in the St. John in Latheran Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. In which city did she do much of her charitable work? (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
QUIZ: How much do you know about these motherhood issues?

In honour of Mother’s Day, take this 10-question quiz

Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health, is setting off a social media reaction with his calls to stop non essential shopping, such as "buying sandals at Costco", with this photo of his worn sandals, which he published to social media on Saturday, May 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Dr. Robert Strang, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Nova Scotia’s top doctor sparks meme with caution on non-essential shopping

HALIFAX — Nova Scotia’s top doctor has launched a social media meme… Continue reading

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a technical briefing on the COVID pandemic in Canada, in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. Canada's chief public health officer is reminding Canadians even those who are fully vaccinated are not immune from transmitting the COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Tam warns that full vaccination does not equal full protection from COVID-19

Canada’s chief public health officer reminded Canadians on Saturday that even those… Continue reading

Carolina Hurricanes coach Rod Brind'Amour conducts drills during NHL hockey training camp in Morrisville, N.C., Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
NHL relaxing virus protocols for vaccinated playoff teams

The NHL is relaxing virus protocols for teams that reach a threshold… Continue reading

Canada skip Kerri Einarson directs her teammates against Sweden in a qualification game at the Women's World Curling Championship in Calgary, Alta., Saturday, May 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Canada’s Einarson eliminated at curling worlds after 8-3 loss to Sweden’s Hasselborg

CALGARY — Canada’s Kerri Einarson was eliminated at the world women’s curling… Continue reading

Jennifer Coffman, owner of Truffle Pigs in Field, B.C., poses beside her business sign on Thursday, May 6, 2021, in this handout photo. Her restaurant and lodge have been hit hard by a closure of a section of the Trans-Canada Highway and by the British Columbia government discouraging Alberta residents from visiting during the pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Jennifer Coffman, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
‘Why we survive’: B.C. boundary towns struggle without Albertans during pandemic

Jennifer Coffman didn’t expect to get hit with a double whammy at… Continue reading

A courtroom at the Edmonton Law Courts building, in Edmonton on Friday, June 28, 2019. The effect of the coronavirus pandemic will have a lasting impact on the Canadian justice system warn a number of legal experts. The Alberta Court of Queen's Bench announced Sunday it would adjourn all scheduled trials across the province for at least 10-weeks limiting hearings to only emergency or urgent matters. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton mother found guilty of manslaughter in death of five-year-old girl

EDMONTON — An Edmonton woman was found guilty Friday of manslaughter in… Continue reading

A Statistics Canada 2016 Census mailer sits on the key board of a laptop after arriving in the mail at a residence in Ottawa, May 2, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Statistics Canada sees more demand to fill out census online during pandemic

OTTAWA — Statistics Canada says the response to the census is higher… Continue reading

Most Read