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What is a Chairmat?

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  • Written By: A Kaminsky
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
  • Last Modified Date: 19 November 2016
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In this world of cubicles, companies have to take steps to keep costs down by reducing wear and tear on the interior. One bit of the interior that takes a perpetual beating is the floor. Whether carpeted or tiled, floors, especially the parts sitting under office chairs, get the most abuse. One way to reduce damage to the flooring is to provide a chairmat for each worker.

A chairmat is a large sheet of vinyl, wood or other smooth, sturdy material that sits under the desk and under the wheels of the office chair. Offic chair wheels cause all sorts of damage to flooring, often wearing the carpet nap thin and marking or buckling tile. A chairmat solves these problems and allows the office chair to roll smoothly.

The material and form of the chairmat will depend on the flooring surface and even the shape of the cubicle. Some mats are square, some have a "tab" at the top, and some have cutouts to the right or left, depending on the shape of the employee's desk. A chairmat for carpeted floors is usually vinyl and has small teeth or cleats on the underside to grip the carpet and keep the mat in place. A chairmat for a tile floor may be of any durable material and usually has rubber grippers on the bottom to keep it stationary.

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One important feature to consider when buying a chairmat is durability. Chair mats take a great deal of punishment from chair wheels. Some types are prone to crack with extended use. Many companies like the look of the clear vinyl varieties, but these mats are more prone to cracking than those made in other materials. Some mats may have such pronounced cleats that they cause the chair to "bump" over the tops of the cleats when a person is sitting in it. This is not only annoying for the worker, but also leads to premature breakdown of the mat.

Harder materials, such as pressboard or rubber, may be a better choice for many companies. These mats will take considerably more wear, and chairs will usually roll better on them.

A chairmat can be purchased anywhere office supplies are sold. They range in price from US$20 to US$100 for the very best. Even a $100 per employee investment will pay off, however, if the company does not have to frequently replace flooring and/or carpet.

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anon284439
Post 4

Great post, quite informative. We bought a chair mat form a shop in the UK and found that the polycarbonate is usually your best option.

amsden2000
Post 3

@tanner182 - Flooring always wears out fast -- it's not like you can avoid stepping on the floor. All the offices around probably have to use floor mats -- even the ones with tile flooring.

The chair mats are way cheaper to replace than the entire floor. As the article said – a $100 investment is still cheaper, because the flooring will last years longer.

Luckily, I have a flat carpet in my home office. I still use a chair mat though. My chair moves better on it and I don't have to fumble with vacuuming under the desk. Another perk is that I can have lunch at my desk without worrying about ruining the carpet if I spill something.

tanner182
Post 2

Just some words of warning to anyone who uses a computer chair, you should use a floor mat -- even at home. Office carpeting tends to be flat but home carpeting is usually deeper and can get damaged easily. Plush carpets are the worst.

I have to use a office chair mat at home especially since I have a plush carpet. My computer chair has wheels (like every other computer chair) and the carpet actually gets stuck in the wheels if I use it without the mat. Not only is it hard to move, but it tugs on the carpet.

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