If you have a home office, you should be careful when using your office chair on a hardwood floor, especially if it has wheels. Hardwood is a very durable flooring material, but it could become damaged when it comes into contact with debris or hard materials. Consider how to protect your wood floor from your office chair to prolong your flooring’s life span and increase your work productivity.
Why Office Chairs Can Damage Wood Floors
An office chair on your hardwood floor can leave scuff marks from excessive wear and tear. If you have flooring made from a tough wood such as hickory or mahogany, you’re less likely to notice scratches or scuff marks than if you had oak or maple flooring. Floors in high-traffic areas can appear worn out over the years, so you need to take care of your flooring if you spend most of your day in your home office.
If you don’t protect your hardwood floor, it could end up looking like an overused cutting board from the scratching of your hard wheels. These components could also have debris underneath them that can scuff the panels as you glide on them. Think about how you can prevent dust and hard materials from making their mark on your hardwood floors.
How to Protect Wood Floors From Chair Wheels
Office chairs and wood flooring can be a difficult match. Unfortunately, office chairs can scratch wood floors, leaving you with expensive damage. However, with the right precautions, you can enjoy a high-quality office chair and maintain the hardwood flooring in your office space. So, don’t go throwing away your office chair just yet.
Below are some ways you can still use your computer chair on the hardwood floors while keeping them in good condition.
Clean the Floor
Small dust particles or food crumbs could scratch your hardwood floors, especially when the wheels carry them across the floors. Dust your wood floors at least once a week to make sure little particles don’t mark up the panels.
Try to avoid eating breakfast or lunch at your desk to prevent crumbs. If you do eat at your desk, do a quick sweep after your meal. Use a broom or a vacuum with a brush attachment to clean up the dust and avoid using the wheels on your cleaning appliances because they could also scuff up the floors.
Lift Your Chair When Possible
Instead of screeching your wheels against the hardwood floor when you have to move the chair, try lifting it when you can. Heavy objects and furniture can scratch or dent your floorboards, so when you’re not trying to move into a comfortable position, take the chair off the floor and put it in a new location. Pulling your chair out to sit down or moving the chair slightly to get comfortable is OK, but try to minimize your movement and always gently move the chair.
Lay Down a Chair Mat
Chair mats covering the whole area where your chairs move give the wheels a safe place to glide. While chair mats for hardwood floors protect your floor from a chair’s wheels and can give you a smoother glide, be careful when using plastic mats because they could collect grit underneath them and ruin your floor’s finish.
Instead, you can use a polyvinyl chloride, glass or polycarbonate mat under your office chair. You should also clean under it at least once a week and inspect the floors for discoloration or fading.
Decorate With an Area Rug
You may wonder, since chair mats are specifically designed to protect floors from furniture, do you need a chair mat for your hardwood floors? No, if you’re not into the look of a desk floor mat, a woven area rug can protect your hardwood floors from the wheels’ movement, as well. This floor covering is more aesthetically pleasing than a chair mat, and it can cover a wider area if you have a large desk.
Rugs also muffle chair noise, providing you and others with a quiet, relaxing workspace. Rugs will still require some maintenance to keep your floors properly protected. Make sure to clean it regularly to get rid of stubborn dirt that can rub against your wooden flooring. Area rugs are available in various colors, sizes and materials, accommodating your design preference and budget.
Place Cardboard Under the Rolling Chair
Installing cardboard is another inexpensive option, but you shouldn’t use it long-term. For this method, you simply place one or several thicker pieces of cardboard under your chair to act as a cushion between your wheels and the floor. Cardboard is an effective yet visually unappealing solution. You should only use it temporarily as you look for the perfect area rug or a plastic mat to go under your chair.
Cover Your Rigid Casters With Soft Cloths or Duct Tape
Wrapping duct tape, fabric or another soft material around your chair’s wheels will prevent scraping on your hardwood floors. Additionally, applying duct tape will help keep the chair’s casters in place so they do not swivel against your floorboards.
Even though applying duct tape or cloth is an inexpensive solution, it can’t be a permanent fix. These items will wear down quickly and can give your chair a funny look. If you’ve just purchased a new office chair, you’re not going to want to ruin its look by covering it in duct tape. So, it’s best to only use these everyday items in your house until you can buy a mat or replace your wheels.
Check Your Chair’s Casters and Wheels
A chair wheel attaches to your chair through the caster, which holds it in place and helps it move. While you may remember to sweep the floor area, casters can also become dirty or broken over time, causing damage to your floors.
To prevent this and protect your computer chair on hardwood, inspect the casters every once in a while for damage and debris. Clean them by removing them from the base and rinsing them in warm, soapy water.
Replace or Remove the Wheel Casters
Hard plastic or nylon casters could put too much pressure on your hardwood floors. Replace them with a softer material — such as neoprene, rubber or urethane — for your casters. There are even hardwood casters available that are designed specifically for protecting hardwood flooring. If you don’t use the wheels to move to different parts of your desk, consider removing them entirely and getting legs without wheels for your chair.
Replacing or removing your chair’s wheel casters is easier and more cost-effective than having to replace your wood flooring due to damage.
Change Your Office Chair Wheels
Instead of a rigid material, you can replace the wheels on your office chair with smoother ones. Some chairs feature wheels that are similar to ones found on roller skates. Even though these components can still scuff up your floors if you’re not careful, they’re much softer than those you probably currently have on your chair. Replacing your chair’s wheels is super easy — you can typically just pop off your current set and insert the new wheels with no tools required.
Buy a New Office Chair
Instead of replacing the wheels and casters, you might need to get a brand-new office chair. If you’re looking to replace or update your office chair, consider one without wheels or one with an updated set of them. Also, look specifically for an office chair made for hardwood floors.
While the design is still important, take special care to review the type of wheels and casters different chairs have. Also, expand your search and entertain chairs without wheels. If you don’t regularly wheel your chair around, you’ll barely notice a difference between a chair with wheels and one without.
Put Felt Protectors on Your Furniture Legs
If you decide to remove the wheels or casters from your office chair, there are still precautionary steps you need to take. Make sure you put felt pads on the furniture legs so that their weight won’t dent or scratch your hardwood floors. This will also allow for smoother, quieter movements when you go to sit down in your chair.
For added protection, consider using a rug or chair mat. Even if your chair does not have wheels, the extra cushion and protection don’t hurt. Plus, rugs double as beautiful decor to personalize your office space.
Apply a Polyurethane Wood Finish
If you’ve had your office chair wheels on hardwood floors previously, your floors may already have some damage. If you notice scratches on your hardwood flooring and you want to make it look brand-new again, consider refinishing it.
Resurface your hardwood floors to remove any current scratches, and then apply an oil- or water-based polyurethane finish to revive your floor’s shine. Then, after the finish has dried, you can lay down an area rug or a chair mat to make sure you don’t have to refinish your floors again for at least a few years.
Replace Your Wood Floors
Sometimes, the previous damage to your wood floors is too extensive. While you can try to cover it up with rugs or mats, it may be best to get a fresh start. Now that you know how your office chair can affect hardwood floors, you can look for more durable flooring and protective coatings for your new hardwood floor.
By following the recommendations above, your new floors will be sure to stay beautiful for years to come.
Schedule an Appointment With 50 Floor
At 50 Floor, we can help you protect your wood floor from your office chair. We offer a floor care guide that gives you the tools you need to keep your office space neat and durable. If you need new hardwood flooring after years of excessive wear and tear, schedule an appointment for us to come to your house and show you samples of robust hardwood species for your new floor.
With our in-home consultations, our expert staff can identify your flooring needs and provide advice and guidance during your shopping experience. For more information about our inventory, call us at 1-800-50-FLOOR.