How to protect a floor from casters

oak captain's chair image by James Phelps from

Floors take a beating from everyday use, but some things are extra-hard on various flooring materials. Furniture casters are a source of floor damage we often don't recognise until the damage is done. Casters form pits or grooves in wood, scratch tile or wood, and scar and buckle vinyl flooring. They also wear spots in rugs and carpeting. A little extra care to protect floors from casters will keep them looking good for years to come.

Choose an appropriate protective material for your floors. Some vinyl flooring warranties require that owners never place rubber pads or rubber-backed rugs on them. The two materials create a chemical reaction that can damage or discolour the flooring.

Determine how you need to use the furniture that has casters. If it remains stationary, use floor protector cups manufactured for just this purpose. You also can cut small pieces of carpet and put them under the casters.

Place small pieces of wood under casters as floor protectors, except on tile and vinyl floors. Antique and vintage furniture often have small metal wheels that can quickly cause an indentation in wood flooring. Using wood spreads the pressure over a larger area and reduces the likelihood of a deep impression from caster wheels. Wood protectors can scratch tiles over time, and scratch or damage vinyl.

Position rugs or chair pads under furniture that must move frequently, such as office chairs. Chair pads are usually made of vinyl or fiberboard. The ones with teeth are OK for carpets, but can damage wood floors. Don't use vinyl pads on vinyl floors, because they may chemically react; use carpets or rugs instead. Choose a pad or rug large enough for the furniture to move about freely; otherwise it will run off the edge and defeat your protective efforts.

Glue a small piece of carpet on each side of a similar-sized piece of wood for a quick solution for stationary pieces. Make one for each caster. Allow to dry thoroughly, then place under casters.

Replace casters with furniture legs that have a wider area that makes contact with the floor. This is a method of last resort and is only useful for stationary furnishings. It also can take a bit of skill to accomplish.

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