Protecting your floors

Protecting your floors

If I told you that a $50 investment could save you hundreds when it comes to protecting your floors, would you invest?

fmatIn my previous blogs I have covered the basics of why the appearance of your floor is important when it relates to peoples perception of you or your business, and also I explained the benefits of keeping floors maintained and the time and money that could save you.

In this article I will cover the simple yet often overlooked item that can help prevent irreversible damage to your carpet or vinyl floors in your home or office…

The Chair mat.

 

CARPET FLOORS

Carpet can be a nice medium to cover floors as it feels soft under the feet and can help keep heat in on those cold winter days. It is also some what fragile as its is made up of fibres which can be worn down with regular foot traffic and begin to tear with excess use of chairs and furniture. This damage is expensive to fix as it often requires replacement of carpeted areas, as well as making the carpets look unpleasant to look at.

Unfortunately there are no real “Carpet Protection” measures to prevent the everyday wear and tear but there are two methods to help prolong the life of your carpets and keep them fluffy for longer;

  • Professional carpet cleaning.
  • Protection with Chair Mats.

Carpet cleaning when done regularly is a good way to prolong the life of your carpets. Over time carpet fibres get trampled and loose their “bounce” and you will begin to notice the difference between areas that are walked on often to the ones that ain’t. The walked on damage piles of the carpet have a different colour to them and look “flat” compared to the undisturbed carpet areas. A carpet machine will lift the fibres as it cleans and bring a bit of life back into the trampled fibres.

Tip: Although not always possible, moving furniture around to change the walking paths through the room could overall extend the life of the carpet

Chair protection on the other hand is often missed or forgot about in homes and offices as it is perceived as less important, and in the short term people may not see the consequences of not having some. Unfortunately, in the long run this will cause damage that is not repairable by normal cleaning methods and will require sections of carpets (or in worse case scenarios) the whole carpet to be replaced which is costly when a $50 item could of prevented it.

The legs of a chair, or the wheels of a office chair are harsh when it comes to carpets. They often dig in or rub against the carpet fibres causing premature tear and wear, and it only takes a few months to start seeing signs of damage.

The following image is of a carpet that is only a year old and as you can see there are already noticeable signs of damage that has occurred. The wheels of the office chairs have worn down and in parts torn away the carpets fibres leaving it looking discoloured and patchy – and this is only after a year, imagine how it will look after 2, 3, 4 or 5 years!

Carpetdmg01

The left side of this picture shows the discoloring from the damaged carpet fibres. (click to enlarge)

I have added a zoomed-in view of the carpet mentioned above. Notice how you can see the individual tops of the carpet strands (right picture) of the undamaged carpet compared to the worn down and almost unison look (left picture) of the damaged carpet.

Carpetdmg02

Left: Damaged carpet Right: Undamaged Carpet (click to enlarge)

My only advice to this client would be to immediately invest in floor protectors to prevent further damage to these floors. And that is exactly how you should be looking at it, as a investment. Having to buy mats for your whole office will be expensive, but when you look at it as a investment, a step to saving you hundreds if not thousands of dollars in the future then you can easily see how you can justify the upfront costs.

VINYL FLOORS

Vinyl floors are a great medium to work with when you have large areas with heavy foot traffic. They are easy to clean and to keep sanitary and thats why places like hospitals, childcare centres and shopping malls use them – but they do find themselves at times in offices.

Vinyl floors are a bit more resilient as you have more options for protection then you have with carpets. As seen in First Impressions Matter Part 1, you can increase the life of your vinyl floors by putting on protective layers of Sealer to create a barrier between the bare floor and the people that are walking on it.

Unfortunately, just like with the carpets, Chair legs and wheels will over time wear into those protective coats and begin to wear into the vinyl itself. The areas around office chairs will have more wear then the rest of the floor so the solution would be to Strip and Seal these more often, but this is un-practical and expensive when the alternative is to invest in a floor mat.

As seen in the following pictures, the vinyl floor has been damaged with the wheels of the office chair. The vinyl now feels rough to the touch and has begun to show signs of pitting and wear which is not repairable by a strip service and will now be more prevalent to capturing dirt.VInyltdmg1

I have added a zoomed-in picture of the vinyl mentioned above. Notice how the floor has extreme pitting and the surface itself  has a rough texture do it. This pitting will get worse and will turn into tears over time.

VInyltdmg2

Pitting in damaged vinyl (click to enlarge)

As the floor wears down, maintenance procedures will be less effective and will be come less resilient to the strip and seal process. The sealer in the damaged area will be prone to quicker to wear and will require more frequent re-applies of sealer which will be a on going expense.

Even though we like to walk over the idea that our floors are not worth the time and effort to keep them protected, I have hopefully convinced you that it is something you need to keep in mind. It doesn’t take long for a floor to get damaged and it can become very expensive to replace those floor surfaces. If you look at Floor mats as a investment instead of a expense then you can easily justify the initial cost compared to the long term expense you will face if the floors are neglected.

For more reading on the importance of maintaining floors:

Firstimpressions1Firstimpressions2