Installing new flooring into a newly-built or remodeled home is exciting. Once the flooring is installed, your project is nearing completion. The flooring looks perfect, clean, and professional-looking, and you want your builder or contractor to keep it looking good. Surface protection helps builders and homeowners prevent damage to newly-installed floors such as scratches, paint spills, and more. What are the surface protection options available for each type of floor installed?
There are several key points to keep in mind when choosing a floor protection product:
- How long will the floor protection need to be used?
- Is the flooring glued down?
- Will there be foot traffic only or some kind of machinery used on the protected floor?
- Will the protection need to be waterproof or spill proof?
The thinnest and lowest cost floor protection product on the market is adhesive film. The highest quality films are normally 0.003mils thick and are colored green or blue. They are available in a variety of conveniently sized rolls. These films are recommended for protecting sealed tile and stone from scratches for up to 45 days. They work well to keep the grout on tile floors clean. Prior to application on Vinyl Composition Tile (VCT) floors, be sure to check which cleaners or polishers may have been used on the VCT so that the adhesive does not react with any polishes. Adhesive films are not recommended for use on wood floors.
Ram Board® and other compressed paper products are low cost protection that is commonly used to protect wood, tile, stone, and VCT floors. Ram Board® is 0.04 mils thick and protects against wheels, carts and foot traffic. Ram Board® is not reusable; although it is made from recycled paper and can be recycled, making it a green construction product. Unfortunately Ram Board® is not a good choice on projects with high construction traffic or with exposure to liquids. It must be taped together and over the floor in order to prevent dirt and grime from getting wedged underneath the protection and scratching the floor. Ram Board® is a breathable product so it can be used on any glue down floors as it allows the glue fumes to off gas.
There are floor protection products manufactured from textiles as well, including Clean & Safe®, Surface Pro®, and Top Guard. Both Clean & Safe® and Top Guard are thick enough to be used on job sites with substantial traffic. They can be used on established wood floors, Tile, VCT and stone floors. For protection of a newly installed, glue down wood floor it is mandatory to use a breathable floor protection such as Surface Pro® in order to keep the floor under warranty. Textile floor protection products can be reused on other projects and can be cleaned by shaking out any dirt or debris before rolling it up to store until the next use.
Wood stairs can be protected using Multi-Shield runner, a cloth product with a leak proof top and tacky bottom. It is able to grip the wood stairs yet has only enough tack to hold onto the stair without leaving a residue. It can be reused if the tacky bottom is kept clean of dust. Multi-Shield runner can also be used on wood, VCT, tile, and stone floors.
For commercial projects with heavy foot traffic or machinery, Coverguard® floor protection is the best option. Coverguard® is available in 3 thicknesses; 0.01 mil, 0.025mil, and 0.04 mil and had a diamond pattern on top which renders it slip-resistant. Since it is made from plastic, it is waterproof and reusable. Coverguard® is also flame resistant and can be used on hospital projects or other project requiring fire resistance.
These products and other surface protection products are available at Surface Protection providers via in store sales or through internet sales.