No matter what kind of floors you have, if you have a rolling office chair, the chair will most likely damage it. Rolling office chairs are known to cause scuffs, indentations, and other marks, which is why it is essential to have an office chair mat that you can lay down to protect your flooring.
Office chair mats are also highly convenient. It is hard to roll your chair across carpeted and wooden floors, but office chair mats make it extremely easy to move your chair around your workspace. It takes about 80% less effort to move across your space if you have an office mat than on carpeted floors. If your mat is thick enough and fits your space well, navigating your workspace will become much easier. You also wouldn’t need to worry about damaging your floor if you have a good-quality office chair mat in place.
Benefits of having an Office Chair Mat
Chair mats are highly beneficial for those who work for hours and need to swivel them across their workstation. Even if you do not work long hours, you may often wheel yourself away from the station to get out. All of this motion puts strain on the floor and your chair.
Over time, all this motion will most likely wear down the chair and the floor prematurely. Additionally, if your floor is carpeted, it can cause back and leg problems. All these issues can be solved through an office chair mat.
These mats are essential office accessories that can significantly improve your experience at your desk. They make rolling your chair super easy and also protect the flooring and the chair from excess wear and tear at the same time.
Office chair mats are also an excellent decision in terms of ergonomics, as it helps reduce leg fatigue. They are also highly affordable, especially when comparing them to the cost of repairing your floor. Chair mats are also environmentally beneficial as they are manufactured using recycled plastic and renewable energy.
If you do not use chair mats, your floors will likely look highly damaged and scuffed. These damages will also make your floor warranty void. If you have carpeted floors, a rolling chair can damage your carpet by pulling up carpet fibers that get stuck in the wheel. Without a chair mat, you are also highly likely to damage your electronics, including your computer, with static electricity.
Different Types of Office Chair Mats for Carpets
Office chair mats are often differentiated based on the carpet thickness you place them on. There are two types of flooring that office chair mats are used on, and these include hardwood and carpets.
It is always best to measure your carpets before you purchase an office chair mat. To do so, you can use the paperclip method. This method involves getting a paperclip and flipping it out to get the first curve out straight. Once it is straight, insert it into your carpet all the way down to the subfloor. Then you need to measure the portion of the paperclip that entered the carpet. The measurement will help you decide the kind of carpet you have.
Here is how the measurement can tell you the kind of carpet you have.
|Kind of Carpet
|¼ inches thick or less
|¾ inches thick or less
|Over ¾ inches thick
Flat to low pile carpet
Flat-to-low pile carpets are usually up to ¼ inches thick and have slight padding. These carpets are extremely common in homes and offices, and to keep them protected; you will need an office chair mat. Ideally, your mat should be up to ⅛ inches thick to be helpful.
Low pile carpet
Low-pile carpets are up to 3/8th of an inch thick and usually have thicker padding than flat-to-low-pile carpets. Since they are more heavily padded, you need to purchase a mat with a good grip so that it does not slide off when you roll your chair across it. These carpets usually need around ⅛ inch mats to prevent them from getting destroyed by your office chair.
Medium pile carpet
Medium pile carpets are usually up to 3/4th of an inch thick. They are much more heavily padded than low-pile carpets, and you will need to purchase a mat that provides ample grip to protect it from being worn down by your office chair. For such carpets, a mat of up to 3/16 inches thick will suffice.
High pile carpet
High-pile carpets are up to ¾ of an inch thick, and they are heavy-duty carpets that come with thick padding. If you intend to place your office chair on such carpets, you must purchase a thick office chair mat to protect it. High-pile carpets are also called plush pile carpets, and you need a chair mat that is 3/16 inches or thicker to ensure that your carpet remains safe.
How to Use an Office Chair Mat
When you purchase an office mat, you should ensure that it is made using durable material to last a long time. Ensure that the mat is free from BPA, PVC, and other toxic materials so you can use it safely at home.
When placing the office mat, ensure that it covers all possible areas to which you will roll your chair. Ideally, it should cover the entire length of your desk. The edges should also not be sharp as they can cause injury.
Most office mats are easy to clean and only need to be wiped down. If you accidentally drop something on your mat or it has accumulated dirt, use a wet cloth to wipe it down.
If you purchase a new mat and it comes rolled, it may stay in that position unless you straighten it out. To return it to its original shape, leave it unrolled for at least 72 hours so that it can regain its original shape. You can also place weights on it to speed up the unfurling process.
How to choose the Perfect Office Chair Mat
There are a variety of different office chairs available on the market, which makes choosing the perfect kind slightly tricky. However, if you consider a few factors when purchasing your office mat, you can easily pick one that suits your floor type and needs the best.
The Kind of Floor
The kind of floor you have plays a huge role in the type of chair mat you select. There are generally two kinds of floors that are found in offices, and they include hardwood floors and carpets.
If you are choosing chair mats for a hardwood floor, you will need to purchase one with a smooth backing to prevent movement and damage to your floor. Mats designed for hardwood, laminate, or vinyl have straight edges and are much thinner than chair mats meant for carpeted floors.
Hard surfaces require protection. If you have oak hardwood flooring or something similar, you should get a chair mat. Otherwise, the chair can damage the floor, and you will need to refinish it, which costs a lot of money.
Whether or not you need a chair mat for your hardwood floor depends on how hard it is. Suppose the tile is generally flat, like in a government building. In that case, the tile will likely be quite sturdy and will be able to handle the rolling of a wheeled chair without needing protection. On the other hand, if the tile flooring has gaps, you should invest in a high-quality chair mat to prevent the chair from sliding into the grout or breaking the tile altogether.
If you are purchasing an office chair mat to go on top of a carpet, you should consider a few things. One of the most important things you should factor in is your carpet’s pile or how fluffy it is. Usually, high-pile carpets are dense and silky, which makes it easier for the fibers to tangle in the wheels of your chair. Low-pile carpets are much thinner and more robust in this matter.
Knowing the carpet pile is essential if you have a carpet and want to buy a chair mat to protect it. This is because these mats have tiny studs on the bottom that grip the carpet to prevent the mat from slipping, and you don’t want them to be too big or small. You should also ensure that the chair mat you purchase for your carpeted floor is anti-static. This is essential for workstations that have computers and other gadgets.
When purchasing an office mat for carpeted floors, you should also consider the thickness. Ensure that the mat is thicker than the carpet to prevent it from bending and breaking.
Size and Shape
Another critical factor to consider is your workspace size and rolling habits. Before purchasing an office mat, you must ask yourself whether you roll front to back more or tend to move from side to side.
If you tend to move past your workspace, you should purchase a mat that allows such movements. Chair mats with beveled edges will enable you to smoothly roll off the mat and onto it whenever you need.
Your office chair mat should also neither be too small nor too large. You may damage the floor outside the mat if it is too small. On the other hand, if it is too large and you place furniture on it, it will crack. Some of the most common sizes for office chair mats include 36 x 48 inches, 45 x 53 inches, and 46 x 60 inches.
The shape of the mat you will purchase is also important. Chair mats come in a variety of different styles and shapes. You can find rectangular mats, square mats, L-shaped mats, lip mats, etc. Depending on your workstation, you will need to decide which type of mat fits best.
For example, a rectangular, square, contoured, or lip mat will work best if you have a writing table desk. If you have an L-shaped workstation, you may want to get rectangular, square, or contoured mats.
The Material It Is Made Of
When purchasing a mat to protect your office floors from your chair, the material it is made of is an essential factor to consider. The material should be such that it falls in smoothly with the kind of floors you have. The most economical mats you will find on the market are made using either PVC or other types of vinyl.
Despite seeming like a steal, the longevity of these mats is questionable. Additionally, suppose they are not well constructed. In that case, they can fail to protect your carpeting adequately, and your carpets will get damaged despite having a chair mat.
Office chair mats are also made using polycarbonate. These mats are much more durable and long-lasting, meaning they do not crack and crimp easily. They are also a much more secure option than PVC as they have nubs that grip the carpet much more securely than other cheaper alternatives.
You can also purchase tempered glass chair mats. Although they have excellent functionality, they are pretty expensive. Other materials used to make chair mats include sisal, bamboo, and wood.
Chair Mat Edges
If you are in the market for an office chair mat, you should also pay close attention to the chair mat edges. The edges can be sloped or straight. If you have hard floors, ensure that you purchase a desk mat with straight edges. On the other hand, if you have a carpeted surface and tend to roll your wheeled home office chair past your workspace, you should invest in a chair mat with beveled or sloped edges. These allow you to change from the mat to the carpet seamlessly.
Beveled edges are perfect for those who regularly roll on and off their chair mat. If you have a thicker chair mat, then beveled edges are a must.
What is the best material for an office chair mat?
The best material for an office chair mat is polycarbonate. It allows your chair to glide effortlessly across the surface. The material is also highly durable and will crack, dent, smell, or buckle under regular use. They are the perfect material for chair mats in home offices or regular offices.
Are chair mats worth it?
Yes. Chair mats are definitely worth the purchase as they protect your floor from damage. Wheeled chairs can often cause scuffs, indentation, and other marks. Additionally, not all surfaces are easy to roll over. Chair mats not only protect the floor, but they also allow you to easily move across your surface.
What is a suitable thickness for a chair mat?
If you are in the market for a high-quality chair mat, you should consider the kind of pile you have. The thicker the pile, the thicker your mat needs to be to avoid any damage to your carpet. A 1/8th of an inch mat usually works well on most carpets unless you have a very thick carpet.
Office chair mats are a handy office accessory that can help protect your floors from damage. Not only does it prevent your office chair from scratching up the floors, but it also allows you to easily roll your chair across your workstation.
There are a variety of chair mats available in the market because everyone has a differently shaped workspace, so one size and style won’t fit everyone. When choosing a chair mat, ensure that you keep in mind the size, your flooring type, the material of the mat, and its edges to get the perfect one.