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The Best Chair Glides For Minimizing Scratches

Instead of PVC glides or stick-on felt choose a combination of the two

Our kitchen has an elevated pedestal table where my wife and I eat just about all our meals, perched atop tall barstools. The red-oak floor below is finished with three coats of clear, oil-based polyurethane. When I built the kitchen, I was pretty sure this table would get a lot of use, so I installed nail-on PVC chair glides on the legs of each stool to minimize floor scratches. In no time at all, though, there were plenty of scratches.

My wife, trying to make me feel better, suggested that the floor wasn’t actually scratched. Instead, the plastic glides were leaving plastic deposits on the floor as the stools were moved around. Whatever those marks were, they were ugly, so at the suggestion of a seasoned kitchen designer and barstool sitter, I replaced the PVC glides with stick-on felt pads. The floor marking stopped, but the stick-on pads, which are fine for stationary furniture such as tables, have shown a tendency not to stick very long on the barstool legs.

PVC glides: No PVC glides: No
Stick-on felt: No Stick-on felt: No
Combo glides: Yes Combo glides: Yes

It turns out that a combo glide—felt on a plastic base with a mechanical connection to the leg—is the way to go. Charles Peterson, a professional floor finisher in Gales Ferry, Conn., polled a community of floor finishers around the country. They came to the same conclusion, with this caution: It’s important to keep the floor swept on a regular basis to minimize grit; otherwise the felt pads will turn into little grinding wheels.

Incidentally, the PVC glides, which look like big tacks with thick heads, make excellent push pins for our wine-cork bulletin board.

Photos by: Charles Miller
From Fine Homebuilding199 (Kitchens & Baths) , pp. 96 October 15, 2008