Whether you’ve had a home office setup for a while or are still looking into the best ways to set one up now, an office chair mat should be one of the first things you consider getting.
They protect your floors from the typical wear and tear caused by office chairs. And they work great with both hard floors and carpeted surfaces.
Still, there may be certain instances when an office chair mat won’t work for you and your carpet.
If you’re asking yourself Do office chair mats ruin carpet? we’re here to give you an easy-to-follow but comprehensive answer to help you make the best decision possible.
Let’s get to work!
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Discussing Carpet Types
When looking at chair mats, it’s important to note the type of carpet you’ll be using the mat on. Using the wrong type of chair mat on the wrong type of carpet can lead to unwanted damages.
Here are some of the common types of carpeting and the type of chair mat you should use with them:
Low Pile Carpets
Low pile carpets are simply carpets that have short fibers that feel and look dense and flat. They’re easy to clean and durable, which makes them the perfect candidate for office floors.
The best low pile carpet chair mats will be at least 3 millimeters thick with a non-slip felt back. This should stop your mat from slipping and sliding on your carpet.
Medium Pile Carpets
Medium pile carpets have fibers that are slightly taller than the ones you see in low pile carpets. They are great for living rooms and bedrooms, or wherever you want to feel more comfortable underfoot.
If your bedroom is also your office, then a medium pile chair mat that’s 5 millimeters thick is ideal for a carpet that’s 20 millimeters thick. Medium-sized cleats should be okay to use on this type of carpet.
Plush Pile or Shaggy Carpets
Plush pile carpets have fibers that are cut to a uniform height creating a smooth and soft finish that are a real treat for your feet! They can have a velvety appearance and can be made of wool or synthetic fibers.
If you have a plush pile carpet in your office area, a plush pile chair mat that’s 5 millimeters or thicker with a cleared back should be good for a carpet that’s 20 millimeters thick.
Note: Chair mat and carpet thickness may vary depending on the manufacturer, so make sure you assess your needs carefully before making any final decisions.
So, do office chair mats ruin carpets?
If you pair the wrong chair mat with the wrong carpet, it does!
Using mats that are heavier or have functions that won’t work well with your carpet type (e.g., a chair mat with medium-sized cleats for a low pile carpet) can cause your carpet fibers to break down and show damage.
It’s important that you do due diligence on the type of carpet you have at home, as well as which type of chair mat will work best with it, so you can avoid damaging your carpet in the process.
Should you use a chair mat on the carpet?
Now that you know that chair mats can ruin carpets, should you still use them for your home or office?
The answer is: YES.
Again, as long as you stick with the right combination of carpets and mats, you’re safe.
Most flooring companies will void warranties unless offices use chair mats to protect their floors.
This is because rolling office chairs tend to damage the floor.
Chair mats are great at protecting floors from unwanted scratches, scuffs, and indentions. They also make it much easier to move in your workspace.
Can you use a hard floor chair mat on the carpet?
Hard floor chair mats are designed differently than the ones for carpeted floors. They don’t have the same grip, thickness, and weight that make carpet chair mats effective.
So, you shouldn’t use hard floor chair mats on a carpeted floor, unless you want to end up with a damaged carpet.
What to use in place of chair mats
While there’s no denying that chair mats can be great in terms of functionality, they aren’t exactly the prettiest things to look at.
Many homeowners forgo buying them because of their look, the color swatches they come in, and many other factors.
So, what should you put under an office chair on the carpet if you’re unwilling to get a chair mat for your home or office?
Here are some recommendations:
Get chair leg felt pads
Chair leg felt pads are a simple but effective alternative to chair mats. These are little attachments that you put on each leg of your chair to protect the fibers on your carpets from breaking down.
What’s more, chair leg felt pads are often unnoticeable and will fit right into your office space’s aesthetic.
Unfortunately, they can only last you around 6 months at most, so you may need to buy a few to keep up with the wear and tear.
Get bell glides
These disc-shaped mechanisms are attached to the feet of your chair, protecting your carpet from wear and tear. You can buy them in packs and they are incredibly simple to use.
They aren’t as visually appealing as chair leg felt pads, but they are much less noticeable than a chair mat.
The Bottom Line
Chair mats can damage your carpet, but only if you don’t know how to match them up with the right carpet type. Knowing the type of carpet you have and what kind of chair mat will work best for it is your safest bet to prevent carpet damage.
Hopefully, this guide can help you figure out the best choice for your situation.