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 machinery used on the protected floor?
- Will the protection need to be waterproof or spill proof?
The thinnest and lowest cost floor protections on the market are adhesive films. The highest quality films are normally a 0.003mil thickness and are colored green or blue. They are available in a variety of sizes. 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 VCT floors, be sure to check on what 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 mil thick and protects against wheels, carts and foot traffic. Although Ram Board® is not reusable, it is made from recycled paper and can itself be recycled making it a green construction product. Unfortunately Ram Board® is not a good choice on projects with lots of construction traffic or with exposure to liquids. It must be taped together and down over the floor in order to prevent dirt and grime from getting wedged underneath the protection and scratching the floor. Ram Board® is a breatheable product so it can be used on any glue down floors as it allows the glue fumes to escape.
There are floor protection products manufactured from textiles including Clean & Safe®, Surface Pro®, and Top Guard. Both Clean & Safe and Top Guard are thick enough 0.03 mil and 0.04 mil respectively 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 breatheable 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 a good option. Coverguard® is available in 3 thicknesses; 0.01 mil, 0.025 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 all three thicknesses can be reused. 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.