Chair mats are widely used in offices and even home offices. They provide a designated area for chair movement.
In addition, different chair mats, like PVC chair mats, Glass chair mats, are used for floor protection.
Chair mats work great on the concrete floor. However, different flooring has different requirements.
In addition, hardwood floors being delicate, requires careful selection.
This article will help you choose the best chair mat materials and chair mat alternatives for your hardwood floor.
Table of Contents Show
- Are Chair Mats Necessary For Hardwood Floor?
- How to Choose the Chair Mat for the Hardwood Floor?
- Best Chair Mats for Hardwood Floors in 2023
- Do Chair Mats Damage Hardwood Floors?
- Alternatives for Chair Mats on the Hardwood Floor
- Final Verdict
Are Chair Mats Necessary For Hardwood Floor?
Chair mats are not necessary for hardwood floors because there are alternatives like rollerblade-style wheels, which defeat the purpose of chair mats.
Therefore, you can use other favorable alternatives for chair mats, like bell glides, standing desks, etc.
Chair mats are an effective way to avoid the damage that ordinary rolling chairs inflict.
However, they are a solution that works best in cubicle-style offices.
Open-plan workplaces are becoming more common, yet floor mats are unsuitable for this workspace style since they restrict movement and reduce collaborative effectiveness.
Advantages of Using Chair Mats on Hardwood Floors
Let’s find out the advantages of using chair mats on hardwood floors.
1. Protection From Office Chair Casters
The chair wheels can scratch the hardwood floors, which are expensive to repair.
Using chair mats can prevent the scratches that form over time from long-term usage of office chairs.
The most common problem is that most rolling office chairs have strong casters, easily creating scuff marks.
A permanent scratch on the hardwood floor is also caused by sitting in your chair and sliding back and forth while working.
You can avoid repetitive wear and tear by using chair mats.
2. Spill Protection
You might hastily spill some drinks or food on the hardwood floor.
But don’t worry; chair mats protect the floor against those spills.
3. Flexibility and Mobility
The flexibility to move your chair to a different part or side of your desk is critical for multitasking and letting you move your body properly.
As a result, chair mats give you the leverage to move, adjust, and reposition your chair as required.
4. It Provides a Good Appearance
High-end office chair mats provide a touch of class to the workplace. The Kuyal Clear Chair Mat will go easily with any office interior.
Chairmats make your home office appear good and make the ambiance clean, tidy, and organized, which is usually more favorable to work than chaotic environments.
Read on to know about flooring options best for rolling office chairs.
Disadvantages of Using Chair Mats on Hardwood Floors
Although it has its benefits, it does harm hardwood flooring in some ways, which are discussed below.
- Long-term chair mat use can affect hardwood floors because dust can collect in the gap between the mat and the floor. Therefore, you should replace it at least once a year, which might be expensive.
- They can leave stains on the floor.
- The chair mat can cause scratches on hardwood floors as it slides back and forth.
- The area covered by the mat is only the easily moving zone for the chair, so it limits the space you can move.
- Chair mats can be pretty expensive, costing up to $900.
How to Choose the Chair Mat for the Hardwood Floor?
It would help if you chose the chair mats for hardwood floors considering the hardwood floor’s proper shape, size, and material.
Here are some factors to consider while buying the best office chair mat for a hardwood floor.
However, before we dive into the details, look at the quick overview of the best features of hardwood floor chair mats.
|Chair Mat Features||Best options|
|Size||Covering your roll area|
|Shape||Bulb, Lip, Rectangular|
|Thickness||Up to 2.5 mm|
1. Shape and Size
An office chair mat that covers your whole “roll area” is a good idea. The roll area is the area underneath your office chair, and it is where you move or shift your chair the most.
Furthermore, you do not want to get a huge office chair mat.
An office chair mat that is too big would most likely crack under the strain of heavy furniture, which could scratch the hardwood floor.
Beveled office chair mats are best for hardwood floors as they have a downward slope on the edges, making it easier to move the chair around.
Moreover, a lip or rectangular chair mat is recommended for a writing table or a desk.
If you have an L-shaped workstation, either bulb-shaped chair mat is ideal.
2. Chair Mat Material
Hardwood floors require extra maintenance and care as they are prone to scratching.
Therefore, choose chair mats carefully for such delicate flooring.
- Synthetic rubber (nitrile) is a common constituent in floor mats, and it is a good choice for hardwood floors because it does not leave a mark.
- Polyurethane chair mat is made of flexible material that does not discolor or leave markings on the flooring.
- Polycarbonate will remain stiff, resulting in a hard, non-denting surface. Due to their rigid structure, they will neither fold nor bubble.
- As a result, the polycarbonate chair mat for hard floors won’t have any tiny dimples on the bottom, preventing scratches on the hardwood floor.
- Tempered glass does not fold or bubble, allowing your chair to glide smoothly.
- When you step on the mat or wheel the chair over it, the bamboo mat absorbs it well.
3. Thickness of the Mat
You do not need to buy thick chair mats on hardwood floors. Mats with a thickness of 2.5 to 3 mm are enough.
You can select your preferred chair mat for the hardwood floor based on the features.
Best Chair Mats for Hardwood Floors in 2023
Check the table below for the best recommendations on chair mats for hardwood floors.
|Chair Mats||Special Features|
|Gorilla Grip Polycarbonate||1. Incredibly durable and meant to last for years.
2. Slip Resistant Backing and Transparent Design
|AiB OB Polyethylene Office Chair Mat for Hardwood Floors||1. Crack proof
3. Roll stable grip
|Polycarbonate Office Chair Mat||1. High-impact resistant and smooth backing.
2. Free of phthalates, tin, lead and cadmium.
|Tempered Glass Chair Mat with Exclusive Beveled Edge||1. Beveled Edge 1000 lbs capacity
Do Chair Mats Damage Hardwood Floors?
Chair mats protect the hardwood floor from Office chairs due to constant movement.
The main cause of the damage is the accumulation of dust and particles under the mat, which leads to friction and, consequently, scratches.
In addition, the chemicals used in the mat production react with the hardwood floor leading to fading and discoloration.
Compared to concrete and tiled floors, hardwood is less water and decay-resistant.
Therefore, moisture can damage the floor if your chair mat is wet and nonwater repellent, like fabric chair mats.
Type of Chair Mats That Damage Hardwood Floor
Chair mats are available in a wide range of materials. However, choosing the wrong one can permanently damage your hardwood floor.
Here are some chair mats that may damage hardwood floors long-term.
1. Natural Rubber Mats
Rubber mats are popularly used in gyms to withstand weight drops.
This might mislead you into thinking they will work for your home office. However, they are usually laid over concrete.
Hardwood floor, on the other hand, is softer and more porous. Therefore, it can quickly leave scuff marks on the floor.
It can also lead to permanent discoloration. However, you can prevent damage by adding protective paper underneath the mat.
Furthermore, many rubber mats have holes in them. The holes allow water and other liquids to drain so they do not pool on the floor and provide a slipping hazard.
Unfortunately, these have the drawback of allowing dirt and debris to fall through the holes.
When wet, wood absorbs the moisture and expands, eventually cupping, leaving an uneven surface.
2. Anti-Fatigue Mat
Anti-fatigue mats, often made of rubber or Vinyl, are designed for those who spend a lot of time standing on hard floors.
These Mats can leave color residue on the hardwood floor.
3. Poly Vinyl Chloride (PVC) Chair Mat
PVC chair mats can harm the hardwood floor due to the chemicals used in their manufacturing.
The chemicals can react with porous hardwood materials. The reaction eventually leads to discoloration and spots on the floor.
If your hardwood floors are coated with wax or polish, they become very slippery.
Using PVC mats on such surfaces can cause the mat to bubble up and fold after some time, as PVC mats are also very pliable.
4. Mats Made up of Natural Fibres
While all types of fiber rugs help protect your hardwood flooring from scratches, none of them are waterproof.
Natural fiber chair mats are quite an unpopular choice. However, people do use fibers like Jute chair mats for the office.
Natural fiber rugs, such as wool, jute, or cotton, are not water-resistant, and water seeping through the strands can cause damage to hardwood floors.
In such mats, the possibilities of bacteria development are also increased.
5. Latex Backed Rugs
Plasticizers are compounds found in latex, which is a synthetic liquid. Latex produces a slip-resistant, waterproof layer underneath rugs.
This waterproofing also compromises the rug’s capacity to breathe.
When you try and remove a latex-backed rug from a laminated or hardwood floor, you may end up with a mess of adhesive residue or fragments of rug backing.
The backed rugs obstruct regular drying of the floor surface.
Latex-backed carpets can create yellow or white staining due to chemical interactions between the latex and the lamination on the floor and water bubbles.
6. Area Rugs
The primary reason why certain area rugs harm hardwood floors is that they are composed of low-cost synthetic materials that scrape the finish.
The damage to the floor is often caused by the rug pad rather than the rug itself.
Rug pads prevent area rugs from sliding about, but the adhesive material might harm the hardwood flooring.
Cheap carpets are sometimes coated with adhesives to aid their adhesion to the floor, but the glue might harm the surface, create staining, or fully adhere to the floor.
A good area rug pad will help preserve your hardwood floors from damage.
7. Plastic Chair Mats
Chair mats are commonly made of plastic. However, these materials will degrade over time.
Old plastic will crack and shatter, and the fragmented parts will become trapped beneath the mat.
Any loose debris under the mat might cause harm to the floor when force and friction are exerted. The accumulation of dirt leads to scratches on the hardwood floor.
Alternatives for Chair Mats on the Hardwood Floor
You can use some of the alternatives listed below if you do not want to use chairmats on hardwood floors.
1. Rollerblade-Style Wheels
A standard office chair with wheels can wear down your hardwood floor through repetitive movements, which cause scratches on the floor.
Office chair with Rollerblade-style Wheels is made of thick rubber material, which is far more durable than regular wheels.
Additionally, because they move across fewer surface areas, these wheels will lessen the wear and tear on the floor.
They are also effortless to install; remove the old wheels and place them in place.
You can buy a quality pair of roller-blade-style wheels from Amazon.
2. Bell Glides
Using the chair all day slowly crushes the chair mat into the floor, damaging the hardwood floor.
Bell glides connect to the underneath of your chair’s wheels to increase the surface area of the pressure, resulting in less pressure and, consequently, less harm to your carpet.
Installing chair bell glides, on the other hand, means compromising mobility.
For example, you won’t be able to wheel your chair over the floor with the glides connected, and moving around will be much more challenging.
These durable polyurethane bell glides protect your hardwood floor from pressure damage.
3. Chair Without Wheels
Chair mats are primarily used to protect the floors from chairs with wheels. If your chair does not have wheels, this is not a problem.
They don’t leave scuff marks on hardwood and laminate floors, so chairs without wheels are great.
However, chairs without wheels should still be handled cautiously to avoid dragging them over the floor.
Flash Furniture Black Mesh Sled Base Chair is one of the best chairs without wheels with the gentle rocking feature.
Read on to lean whether the Chair Better Without Wheels is better for your home office.
4. Standing Desk
The standing desk eliminates the primary need for the chair mats themselves. Since you do not need a chair for a standing desk, the hardwood floor’s damage can be crossed out.
The desks do come equipped with wheels. However, you would not move them around as much as the chairs with wheels.
In addition, they offer multiple health benefits. For example, when using a chair, you sit around all day.
Working at a standing desk decreases blood circulation and makes joints stiff. However, you move around more often while standing, solving the issue.
5. Felt Pads
Chair leg felt pads protect your flooring by easily attaching to the bottom of the legs.
In addition, they prevent the scuff marks left behind by chair legs. There is also no chance of scratches or discoloration, making them ideal for hardwood floors.
They are very discrete and can not be seen unless you lift the chair.
However, cheap Felt Pads can damage hardwood floors, so invest in quality felt pads.
They do need to be replaced every 3 to 6 months. However, they are still worth it, considering the low price.
Rubber felt pads are not suitable for hardwood floors. However, high-quality rubber pads can be used for hardwood floors.
For more alternatives, read the article; 7 Best Office Chair Mat Alternatives
Chair mats offer floor protection from wheels, spill protection, and mobility.
However, the hardwood floor requires careful chairmat material selection because some PVC fabric chair mats might damage the floor over time.
In addition, the alternatives like Rollerblade-Style Wheels, Bell glides, and Felt pads eliminate the need for chair mats for hardwood floors.