Imagine drawing a single line on a piece of paper, repeatedly, with a ball pen. Eventually, the pen will dent and then tear through the paper. The same thing happens with office chairs and floors – the wheels scratch the hardwood floors and thin out the carpets.
Since working from home is no longer a privilege but a necessity, most individuals, now face the issue of scuffed up floors. And office chairs are to blame. However, you can prevent or at least minimize the damage, following few simple steps.
Is your office chair destroying floors? Read through our article to learn how to fix it.
The blame game
Hardwood floors are a sight to behold in any office building or home office. They're shiny, classy and add a sense of style to any space. However, due to the nature of the wood, they're prone to scratches and damage. And whenever scratches are found on the hardwood floor or a carpet, the office chair is the first to blame.
But the chair is not to blame – the plastic wheels are the culprits. Most office chairs have caster wheels made of hard plastic, which don’t always roll smoothly on the floor’s surface. Instead, with the combined weight of the chair and the person using it, the plastic wheels scrape the hardwood or carpeted floors.
And the damage becomes worse if dust and debris get caught in the way. So, there's no denying that all floors are at risk of being damaged by the office chair wheels. Now, let's see what we can do about it.
Ways to prevent your office chair from destroying your floors
There are many ways you can prevent your office chair from destroying your floors. Most of these are tried and tested methods, with a few DIY options that largely depend on the type of flooring you have in your home office.
An office chair on a carpeted floor
Rolling an office chair on a carpeted floor causes the wheels to sink into the fluffy carpet. This makes maneuverability more difficult, damages the carpet, and creates spots on the carpet. Low-pile carpers are more comfortable to maneuver on, but even they are at risk of developing bald spots.
You can prevent your office chair from destroying a carpeted floor with a straightforward solution – office chair mats. These are specially designed mats that protect your carpet from repetitive damage caused by the office chair wheels. They also allow the wheels to glide smoothly and increase your chair's maneuverability.
Different types of chair mats correspond to different carpet thicknesses. To learn more about office chair mats and how to choose one, read through our Office Chair Mats article.
An office chair on a hardwood floor
Plastic office chair wheels are the bane of any hardwood floor. Not only do they scratch and destroy the lacquer finish, but they can also even bite into the wood and cause damage. The damage inflicted by office chair wheels almost always voids the flooring manufacturers and contractors' warranty.
This is especially true if you have hardwood flooring. Luckily, there are several steps you can take to avoid having your office chair destroying your floors.
The very first option would be getting high-quality chair mats for hardwood floors. Placing a chair mat below your chair helps protect the wood from damage and provides a smooth surface for easier maneuverability. In fact, it takes approximately 80% less effort to roll your chair on the mat, as opposed to rolling on hardwood floors.
One thing to keep in mind is that you shouldn't use a chair mat for carpet floors on your hardboard floor. Carpet mats have little teeth that grip onto the carpet, preventing it from moving. These cleats can and will scratch your hardwood floor, so don't mix-and-match chair mats and floors.
If you can't get your hands on a chair mat, you can make a temporary one made of cardboard. It's a simple DIY option that keeps the scruffs and scratches off your floor until you get a more permanent solution. Keep an eye on carboard pads, they also wear down over time, and some replacement is due from time to time.
An office chair on an area rug
We already discussed that plastic wheels on office chairs don’t play nice with carpets and rugs. Still, rugs do offer excellent protection to your hardwood floors.
Area rugs are incredibly practical; besides protecting your floors, they also make your room more visually appealing. Low-pile area rugs are a great way to soften the room's acoustics, define the space, and protect the hardwood floors. However, they will wear down over time and develop bald spots.
This might sound bad, but it's not as bad as a scratched hardwood floor. In the end, it's much cheaper to replace a worn-out area rug than to fix hardwood flooring.
Prevent your home-office chair from destroying your floor – additional steps
Placing chair mats for carpeted or hardwood floors is the best way to prevent your office chair from destroying your floor. However, there are additional steps you can take to ensure that your office chair doesn't damage your flooring. Here's what you could do:
Don’t push the furniture
Most people unknowingly push or drag the furniture, especially office chairs, since it’s easier than lifting them off the floor. Office chairs are equipped with wheels to increase maneuverability and provide better support for the user. And while they do their job pretty well, plastic wheels are not as floor-friendly as people think.
In fact, it's quite the opposite; plastic wheels leave scratches and scuff all over the floor. After a year of pushing and pulling your office chair, you'll undoubtedly notice scuffs and marks on your hardwood floor. The same applies to carpets.
Lifting a chair, though a bit inconvenient, prevents the damage inflicted by the plastic wheels. However, if raising your chair is too inconvenient, there are other options to consider, like changing your chair's wheels.
Change your office chair wheels
Swapping your office chair's plastic wheels with the ones made from silicone is probably the number one thing you can do to protect your floor. These wheels, like the ones found on roller-blades, are universally fitted for most office chair types. The entire process takes less than two minutes, requires no tools or any specialized knowledge.
Silicone wheels are super-friendly towards all flooring, and most manufacturers guarantee they won't leave scratch marks and scuffs. That said, we would still recommend investing in an office chair mat.
Proper office chair maintenance
Regardless of clean your home-office is, dust will always find its way to your workstation. More importantly, it will accumulate inside and onto wheels and wheel bearings, hindering their function.
Dirty wheel-assembly will require greater force exertion to move the chair, which can cause a multitude of damage. If the wheels lock, they won't roll over the floor's surface but drag over it. Even if you're using a chair mat, locked wheels will cause it to deteriorate quicker.
And it's not only your floors in question but your health too. Exerting more force to move the chair can take its toll on your knees and ankles. To prevent that from happening, we suggest you clean out the wheel-assembly on your office chair or completely change the wheels.
Use furniture pads
Some are more comfortable with using an office chair with legs instead of wheels. When dragged over the floor's surface, chair legs also cause scratches and scuffs on your floor, be it carpet or hardwood. Still, you can protect your floors by using furniture pads on the chair's legs.
Furniture pads are a fantastic and inexpensive way to prevent your office chair from destroying home-office floors. They're usually made of polyurethane, cork, or felt and prevent the chair's legs from getting in direct contact with the floor. Additionally, furniture pads allow you to move the furniture around without any threat of scratches.
They come in various forms with different types of mounting. The most common ones adhere to the chair's legs and serve as a soft barrier that prevents the legs from scratching the floors. Slip-on types come in the form of soft caps that slip onto each individual leg.
Lastly, screw-on types require some degree of expertise to mount onto the chair's legs. They're a bit more complicated to use and can cause damage to the floor unless appropriately mounted.
Working from a home office is the new norm, and very few knew that floors could be fragile and easily damaged by office furniture. Still, you can take preventive measures to protect your floors from damage by following the article's steps.
Most solutions described here are relatively inexpensive, and work well individually, and even better when combined. They will definitely help you preserve the crisp beauty of your office hardwood floors and help to avoid your office chair destroying your floor.