After much contemplation, you decided to protect your flooring from the scratches and scuffs of your rolling chairs using an office chair mat. It worked perfectly for some time but is it starting to wear out over time? I’m sure it has.
Several articles online discuss the necessity of chair mats in office spaces and homes. Hence, people tend to buy chair mats for their workstations, homes, and any place having rolling chairs. And it is not at all a bad option.
According to The Spruce, chair mats protect the carpets or hardwood floors from the wear and tear of rolling chairs. It will also allow swift movements of the chairs, making them comfortable.
Although, chair mats also possess the potential to damage your flooring. If there is too much pressure on the mat, it may harm your carpet fibers. Or they tend to catch dust and particles scratching the hardwood flooring while sliding the mats.
Hence, to avoid floor damage, there comes a need to find office chair mats alternatives. You might be wondering -Are there any better possible substitutes for chair mats?
YES, there are.
In this article, after thorough research, we have compiled the best alternatives you can use for your chairs and floors other than chair mats. Wherein the mat alternatives are very limited such as a granite cutout, plywood sheets, MDF boards, etc. However, if you want your floors to protect from scratches and other damage you can use the rest options such as standing desk, bell guides, etc.
Let’s explore the complete article to know more.
What Are Office Chair Mats?
In 1921, the United States Patent Office patented the invention of a mat on which chairs can easily be moved from one place to another. A chair mat that is easy to produce, durable, efficient, attractive, and will also be affordable.
Office chair mats, to put it in simple words, are mats designed to protect and prevent scratches and scuffs of rolling wheels of the chairs from your floors & carpets. They are available in different materials like tempered glass, polycarbonate plastic, rubber, and polyvinyl chloride (PVC).
In addition, chair mats make moving around your workspace much easier. If you’ve been using a rolling office chair, you might know that rolling your chairs all day long can strain your back and legs. But, with a chair mat, it takes around 80% less effort to roll & move your chair on a chair mat than on a carpet or hardwood floor.
DID YOU KNOW?
Carpets are likely to develop static electricity. People have even experienced static electric shocks due to the rolling office chairs, which caused damage to their devices and other electronics.
To prevent such unfortunate incidents, you can place an anti-static chair mat under your office chairs and avoid friction that causes static electricity generation.
With the right chair mats, your workspace or home will be more convenient -moving around the office will be smooth, swift, and hassle-free. Besides, chair mats are affordable, expand the life of your flooring, and you and your devices will remain static-free.
Why Is There A Need For An Office Chair Mats Alternative?
You might be wondering if chair mats protect the floors, then why are we discussing alternatives for office chair mats? Because chair mats are NOT a long-lasting or permanent solution for carpets or hardwood flooring protection.
Over a period of time, some mats tend to wear out. On the other hand, some floor mats even worsen the flooring damage when they have a poorly-built design, or we buy the wrong office chair mat. The damage takes place slowly.
The things leading to the damage of different types of flooring:
For hardwood flooring
- Dust particles under the mat scratch the floor while moving the chairs.
- Chemicals present can result in discoloration of the flooring.
- Spills on the chair mats leave spots and stains on the floor.
- Mats designed for low pile carpets do not work well on heavy shag.
- Similarly, the low pile carpets do not work well with heavier chair mats.
- Heavier chair mats damage the carpet by breaking down the fibers.
Note -Office chair mats for carpets have different cleats on the bottom side and are essential for your carpet.
- Dirt and debris trapped under the chair mats will scratch the laminate.
- After cleaning, if the laminate is wet and you place a chair mat, the moisture lifts or warps the laminate.
Therefore, there was a need to discuss the seven substitutes for office chair mats that are safe and protect the different flooring of your offices and homes.
7 Office chair mats alternatives
Let us look at some better and safe alternatives for chair mats that protect the flooring and continue the swift movement of the rolling chairs.
Sheet of MDF board
A thick sheet of MDF board underneath your rolling chairs is an unconventional yet helpful alternative for office chair mats. However, the only disadvantage of placing an MDF sheet instead of a chair mat is that it is a temporary solution and not a permanent one. It means you will have to change the MDF sheet frequently.
On the contrary, it is easy to use. You only have a cut out the size desired and place it underneath your chairs. In addition, it is better than chair mats because it is easy to clean -whenever you are mopping the floor, remove the sheet and clean underneath it. It will get rid of the dust particles and prevent scratching of the hardwood floor while moving the chair around.
Also, one thing to remember is that it might make the rolling of your office chair somewhat stiff, but it will serve the purpose of a chair mat.
Sheet of plywood
Another similar option for substituting chair mats is installing a plywood sheet under the chairs. Placing plywood sheets also is a temporary office chair mat alternative until you get a permanent solution for your rolling chairs damaging your floors.
To install plywood, cut the desired size and shape of a sheet of plywood and place it under the chairs as a chair mat. Plywood sheets will not restrict the swift movement of your office chairs and still fulfill the purpose of a chair mat.
Marble or granite cutout
This alternative may seem a bit farfetched. But, it does work just like the chair mat, especially on the ceramic tiles flooring. Like the above two alternatives, cut out the desired shape from marble or granite sheets and put it beneath the office rolling chairs.
The only drawback of installing marble or granite is the heaviness of the materials. Hence, regular cleaning can be a bit tough. Nonetheless, they are an excellent alternative for chair mats. The rolling of the chairs will not scratch the marble or granite cutout and, indeed, not the flooring.
Felt pads in appearance may seem small but make all the more difference. With strong adhesive backing, felt pads easily stick to the underside of your chair and other furniture in your office. It helps keep laminate floors smooth, hardwood floors scratch-free, and carpets free of indentations.
These low-cost pads will more than suffice your need to buy a cheap chair mat alternative. Eventually, the adhesive on the pads may wear out, meaning that they fall off and must be replaced. But, if you are getting these felt pads or floor protectors at such an affordable price, it does not become that big a deal if it needs frequent replacements.
Roller-style blade wheels
As discussed earlier, this alternative for a chair mat is not a mat exactly -it is a replacement for your rolling chair wheels. The wheels of the chairs make the most floor damage. So, replacing them with roller-style blade wheels seems like the best option.
Because you do not need to change your flooring altogether or place a chair mat because these rollerblade wheels do not impose damage to your hardwood floor.
There are identical as they sound -slim, made of polyurethane, and look just like you would get on a basic set of rollerblades.
Advantages of switching to roller-style blades:
- They occupy a smaller area than standard office chair wheels, meaning the less the use of space, the lesser the damage.
- Far more durable than regular wheels, which means they provide you with support for a longer duration.
- Also, they are far less or zero damaging to your floors.
Bell guides for office chairs
Imagine you are working or owning a space with a beautiful plush carpet. And it may not be tough to imagine the rolling office chairs leaving their wheel impressions on the carpet and ruining it. Nevertheless, a chair mat can cause as much damage as a chair when pushed into the floor with the weight of a fully-grown individual all day.
Fortunately, we have a solution for this issue -office chair bell guides. Chair bell glides are designed so that it lessens the amount of strain that your office chair puts on your carpet.
Office chair bell glides attach right beneath the wheels of your chairs, increasing the surface area. It means the pressure, unlike if it were spread out, will damage your carpet less.
Note -Chair bell guides do not allow smooth movement of your chairs, meaning you will have a fixed position for your chair. Bell guides make it difficult to roll and move around the space.
Want to know the best yet fun way to prevent your office chair from damaging your floor? Remove the chair from your desk altogether. Yes, there is an ongoing debate about whether standing desks are overrated or not? But, they, without a doubt, offer certain benefits beyond removing the necessity for chair mats.
Unlike office chair bell guides, standing desks allow free movement and mobility. Some people think that sitting in a chair all day leads to health (primarily back) problems. However, sitting down all day long does not lead to health issues, but sitting in the same place with the same posture can.
Mayoclinic says studies have linked sitting for long periods with several health issues, meaning any prolonged sitting, whether at a desk or in front of a screen, can cause harm.
Concerning the health of their employees, offices are starting to install standing desks for their employees. Standing desks are adjustable, besides being available in various sizes and shapes. Standing desks enable adjusting the height and switching from sitting to standing with a push of a button. Standing desks in offices can assist with back pain, obesity prevention, improved mood, digestion, etc.
Nonetheless, standing desks are expensive. Hence, it is not a preferred option. Besides, you can go for a budget-friendly option if you only need to substitute your chair mat.
Now, we have discussed seven different alternatives for office chair mats. So, what is the best alternative you should buy? Well, in the end, it boils down to requirements, preferences, and, most importantly, the type of flooring.
Some of the best and most effective alternatives available are discussed in the article. You can go through it and make an informed decision about your flooring.
Whichever alternative you choose, choose wisely after understanding the nature of your flooring and what will be best suited to it.