FM Articles

Reduce Wear and Maintenance Costs With Floor Protectors


No matter what type of floor your facility has – VCT, laminate, hardwood, or tile – floor maintenance is a constant struggle for custodians and maintenance professionals. Waxing and protective finishes offer a limited amount of protection, but metal chairs, tables and desks quickly cut through this layer. Wear leaves lasting damage that can lead to expensive repairs or even whole floor replacement.

A Preventive Solution
Installing floor protectors is one of the most cost effective ways to reduce floor wear and save on maintenance costs. Instead of time-consuming upkeep, high quality protectors can be installed quickly and offer years of protection. Floor protectors also provide a quieter environment to eliminate distractions in conference rooms, classrooms, and more. Custodians appreciate how easily furniture can be moved for cleaning.

Middle School Success Story
When First Evangelical Lutheran rented and renovated a new building for their Wisconsin Lutheran Middle School, they quickly realized the VCT floors were no match for the wear from constant movement of students’ desks and chairs.

After only a year in the newly remodeled building, the staff was shocked at the wear the VCT floors showed. “We could not have gone another year without replacing the tile,” says Scott Pierce, custodian for the school. “You could literally see that it looked like someone had taken sandpaper to the floor where the chairs were. The feet on the chairs were grinding into the floors and you could see rust stains.”

Eight Coats of Wax Wasn’t Enough
Elsewhere, a newly remodeled STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) classroom was a source of pride for Union Grove Union Free High School, in Union Grove, Wisc. That is, until they noticed the tables and chairs were tearing up the brand new flooring.

Eight coats of wax weren’t enough to protect the floors. “It took just two months for the students to go through the wax and begin scratching the floors,” says Kurt Jorgensen, director of operations for the school.

Refinishing the floors more often wasn’t a viable option, especially for the budget conscious school. Floor refinishing is a time consuming, labor-intensive process that is always completed over breaks and holidays, because it is so disruptive to student schedules.

Floor Protectors Save the Day
Both schools turned to floor protectors to reduce their maintenance costs with exceptional results.Protectors

“Everybody is very pleased with the floor protectors,” explains Pierce. “The floors are holding up great now. Our sister church added floor protectors to all of the furniture legs in their school building because they were seeing the same wear on the floors that we were.”

The Union Grove STEM lab also saw decreased wear. “We installed the protectors at the beginning of December and after two months it’s hard to see any wear to the floor,” notes Jorgensen. “Without the protectors, we would have had to re-wax the floor two to three maybe four times during the school year. Now, when you roll the chairs, there is no grinding. They have a bit of cushion and roll easily.”

Perfect for Gyms and Cafeterias
Wisconsin Lutheran Middle School was so pleased with the new protectors they started looking for other places where the products would be beneficial. “We have a big gymnasium where we set up chairs for events on a wood floor,” notes Pierce. “Floor protectors also helped eliminate maintenance and noise in that space.”

Success in the STEM lab led Jorgensen to tackle a similar problem in the school cafeteria. With thousands of students visiting the cafeteria every day, there was constant noise and excessive wear to the floor. For the fix, he used reinforced felt bottom protectors in a vinyl sleeve that encases the existing chair or table glide.

“It was easy to install the protectors on the chairs, and the difference was night and day,” says Jorgensen.

Decreased Noise in Music Rooms
Indian Trails High School in Kenosha, Wisc. was looking to decrease the constant noise of the chairs and music stands that distracted students during band practices and classes.

“The day after we installed floor protectors, the classroom environment greatly improved,” explains Ken Weile, the band instructor for the school. “It made teaching my classes much better, because I do not have to talk over the noise of chairs and stands, and helped the kids focus on their material. The chairs and music stands were just so noisy.

“Our janitorial staff noticed the difference the first day they were installed, because moving the chairs around to clean can be a very noisy job. Floor protectors will significantly increase the time between floor finishing, too. They have already reduced the frequency for polishing the floors.”

Protection for All Furniture
Floor protectors are available for every type of furniture leg imaginable. Standard peel back felt pads can be purchased for most applications in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors. Peel and stick strips can be used to fit unusual contours like cabinets, rocking chairs, grandfather clocks, bookcases and other flat surfaces that sit on the floor.

For harsher environments, look for protectors that don’t rely on adhesive backs. Units that wrap around, slip on or slip over the furniture leg will stay in place longer and withstand wear and tear.

Wrap around felt protectors offer long lasting care for stackable chairs that have sleigh rails and music stands. Soft vinyl protectors are also available for rollers on chairs to dampen sound and preserve floors.

All of these choices are specially designed to put a barrier between the potentially damaging leg or wheel and the floor.

Characteristics to Look For
It’s important to choose high quality products while searching for floor protectors. Inferior products risk increased costs from floor damage and constant replacement.

Before finding a quality option, First Lutheran Middle School tested a wide range of other solutions. “We tried those cue balls, some stick-ums and even tennis balls on the bottom of the chairs,” recalls Pierce. “None of those products offered nearly the same protection or long life as the floor protectors we ultimately chose.”

Look for high quality adhesion and high pliability to make sure floor protecting pads stay put. Also, check to make sure the manufacturer used durable felt to increase the amount of time between replacements.

Bret Bushey is the Vice President of Sales for Expanded Technologies. The company was founded in 1987 by his father, Richard Bushey, who invented the first peel and stick heavy duty felt pad to place under furniture legs for floor protection. Today, the company offers a variety of patented products that are designed specifically to reduce wear and damage cause by furniture for homes, offices, hospitals, restaurants, hotels and schools. For more information visit