Everything from your floors, to your furniture, appliances, and cabinetry can be inadvertently damaged if not properly cared for.
In this post, we'll share some helpful pointers to keep your vulnerable, high-traffic areas looking newer and cleaner.
What is a high traffic area?
“High-traffic” areas are any part of your home or office that gets constant or consistent use of any sort. These areas are the most vulnerable to damage because their repeated use simply increases the risk of something happening to them.
High-traffic surfaces include, but is not limited to:
- Eating surfaces like tables or countertops
- Kitchen cabinet drawers, shelves, and countertops
- Chairs and sofas
- Shoe storage areas
- Bathroom countertops
The key to protecting these busy surfaces from damage is to purchase the right kind of protection for each, whether it's a coating, a liner, a mat, or simple furniture polish that rejects moisture. Here are a few tips to protect each kind of surface.
Furniture is made of both soft and hard materials, each requiring a different kind of protective solution.
Rule of thumb: If the surface can be scratched, watermarked, stained or worn down over time, it likely will be. That is, if you don't protect it.
Let's start with wood finishes, which are particularly vulnerable to water damage. One easy way to minimize that risk is to use furniture polish or another approved coating that seals the wood with a fine coating of wax. Applying heavier varnish or lacquer coating will add far more protection, but it will change the appearance of the wood.
If there’s a dining room table you are concerned about, neither polish nor varnish will stop something sharp, like a knife, from scratching it. Instead, consider buying a protective mat, pad, or cover for it. The same applies to end tables, night stands, coffee tables, and so on. If there's any traffic on it, there's bound to be an accident at some point.
Fabric and Leather Furniture
For fabrics or leather furnishings, use a reputable protective coating like Scotchguard™ or Weiman® Leather Wipes. Keep in mind that these forms of protection are only going to be as good as how well you apply them, and how often you apply them. Read the instructions carefully before using.
Pet Owner Tip: If you have pets, make sure his or her nails are clipped. Alternatively, place something on the leather to prevent Fido or Felix from scratching it.
Remember, protection needn’t be ugly or bulky. For example, we, here at ExactMats, are in the business of providing custom-made, nearly invisible protection. Research the possible solutions to decide what is best for your needs, and your tastes.
Cabinetry & Shelves
Every cabinet and shelving surface can be damaged; even if it’s made of stainless steel. Truthfully, all surfaces have some form of "damage adversary", whether it's water, scratches, wear and tear, staining, or other trouble sources.
The cabinet liner industry exists because most Americans use some sort of surface protection in their cabinetry. They may use contact paper, cork, rolled up plastic liners, or other materials, but they all have very specific drawbacks.
In fact, those who do not line their cabinets often cite these as the main reasons for opting out: a) it takes too much time to do the work, b) there are no attractive solutions or c) they don't want to hide the surface beauty.
At ExactMats, we've innovated our liner and mat solutions to eliminate each of those drawbacks. We have created a clear, yet thick, solution that you can see right through.
Our products are ready to install when they arrive, eliminating the cutting work. No glues or adhesives; gravity is all they need to lay flat and stay in place.
Regardless of what you decide to use, one thing is certain. Over time, some form of wear, tear, or damage is likely to occur, so safeguarding your high traffic cabinetry areas is just plain smart!
Just as furniture can be made of both soft and hard materials, so can floors. High-traffic carpeted areas can stain or wear down over time. Wood flooring inevitably scratches, and tile floors can be chipped. There is no perfect floor.
Carpets and Rugs
If you have high-traffic carpeted floor areas, you can consider spraying them with a protective product like Scotchguard™. But even Scotchguard™ is no match for daily tracking and trodding (even more so if you have pets or children).
Over time, the dirt works its way into the carpet fibers. So for high-traffic carpeting, consider buying a floor runner. They come in many colors, shapes, sizes, and materials. Our floor runners are, of course, clear.
Additionally, your vehicle also has carpet, so we also make mats for these high traffic areas, too! You can find your vehicle here.
For wood flooring, your best defense is to buy a harder wood and keep it sealed properly. Always use a hardwood cleaner/conditioner, like Bona®, to clean the floor and avoid using water or floor detergents on wood. They ruin wood floors over time. Of course, a floor runner is still the ultimate defense in floor protection.
Ours, again, are clear so that you can see through to the beautiful carpet you purchased so purposefully.
For tile, buy a hard grade of tile or stone. These generally run from a hardness of 1 (which easily chips) to a 5, which is super hard. You should also consider sealing the grout to keep stains from soaking in. And just like wood floors, putting an attractive floor runner on the tile will protect it and guard it against bigger threats, like dropping something hard enough that it damages your floor.
The Bottom Line
When it comes down to it, whether you're protecting your floors, countertops, shelving, cabinetry, desks, or any other easily damaged surface, you want to be sure to protect it. At the end of the day, you probably paid a pretty penny for many of the items that make your home or office unique to you, so it only makes sense to safeguard your investments from damage.