The Impact Of Caster Wheels On Hardwood Floors
The handling of furniture in the building affects the floor. From the heavy sofa sets in the living room, to the light office chairs that one swirls around in the office, there are measures that one needs to take in order to protect the underlying flooring. For instance, when you want to move a couch from one section of the room to another, simply lift it up and carry it across the room, instead of sliding it. This is to avoid scratches. Placing furniture pads for these heavy units is also key, to prevent isolated wearing down of the surface in the affected sections. Even that slight movement whenever people sit on the living room sofa gradually contributes to damage of the underlying flooring- and the pads come in to prevent this. When it comes to those furniture units that have casters, focus shifts to selecting units that will reduce the rate of damage to the floor. While wood is a highly durable material it is not invulnerable to scratches and scrapes from everyday activities- and casters are some of the issues that pose a risk to the installation.
This is not as obvious as one would think. The effect of caster wheels is often overlooked, especially for property owners who are new to hardwood flooring. One’s attention is brought to it when the damage has already been meted out. Having the wrong caster wheels will ruin the finish and polish of your hardwood floor. This is especially for those with metal wheels, such as forged steel and cast iron. These will carve into the floor, causing gradual degradation. In fact, it is widely recommended that metal wheels should not come into contact with the hardwood floor. Which material should you go for? There are various options, including:
- Nylon casters
These are common for the office chairs. Since they are light, and even when adding the weight of the occupant, won’t lead to damage to the floor when rolling around the chair. With light furniture, nylon casters will work for most of the hardwood floors. The nylon itself is not as abrasive in comparison to the metal casters, and has also been polished so as to reduce the risk to hardwood floors- and by extension marble and granite surfaces. What’s more, nylon casters come in numerous colours, styles and even sizes, in case you want new wheels or to refurbish the current ones being used. They work with the office chairs, desks, tables, and other kinds of home and office furniture. With the diversity, you also get a wide pool to choose from that will suit your budget. However, if put under a great load of stress, the chances of damage increase.
- Urethane casters
These are giving the nylon casters a run for their money. With aesthetics, they resemble each other- in fact, many barely notice the difference just by looking at them. They have the same shape, and are also available in many of the colour options as the nylon casters. However, urethane is actually softer than nylon. You can even top this off with a polyurethane thread, providing the hardwood floor additional protection.
- Thick polyurethane coatings
With the polyurethane tread mentioned above, you already have a good way of protecting your hardwood floor. However, there are cases where you’ll be dealing with heavier objects, and when the units have variable weight. This is where the polyurethane coatings come in. Here, the wheel itself is made of metal, like cast iron. They are then coated with a thick polyurethane layer. It masks the metal wheel completely, to ensure that the surface that comes into contact with the wood floor will be smooth. With polyurethane, the material has the sturdiness to handle the weight- thus you won’t compromise on the ease of rolling around the furniture across the floor. It achieves this while still remaining soft enough to ensure that the floor doesn’t get damaged. These kinds of caster wheels are also available in a multitude of colours, to blend with the different furnishings in the establishment. There are also products where the thread has been chemically bonded to the metal core of the wheel, which comes in handy in preventing thread separation.
- Neoprene rubber
Here, the construction is similar to those with polyurethane coatings, where it’s a metal wheel that is covered with soft rubber on its outside. However, with neoprene rubber, the wheels are available in different densities. As such, you can purchase a wheel that’s as soft or hard as you desire, based on your particular needs. They are available in different colours and finishes, in order to blend with the home or office furnishings that you intend to use them on.
Already have damaged flooring?
Don’t fret. One of the main benefits of wood floors is that you can always get another chance of a fresh new beginning. In case there are scratches galore on your flooring, cracks, and gouges that have been caused by the abuse that is meted out onto it every day, you can remove the deteriorated finish through a thorough floor sanding, which gets to the bare wood underneath. After this, a fresh new treatment is applied, from the wood stains to the finish products, to the desired gloss level.
After the floor sanding and refinishing, you want to switch to casters that will not damage your installation. As you go shopping, there are different factors to take into account in order to help you weigh between the different options. First, there’s the actual weight of the furniture on its own, plus how much it will weigh when it’s being used. This will be key in determining the appropriate type of caster that will work for your installation. The nature of the wood floor also comes into focus, from the structure of the wood itself, to the resilience of the finish coats that have been applied. How much can your floor tolerate? Sure, hardwood is strong, but you don’t want to put it under undue stress levels.