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Safeguarding Any Surface

Martha Stewart Living, September 2007

You love your freshly painted porch floor and your wicker rocker. Or you did, until your rocker began scuffing up your glossy floor. Why can't they just get along? They can. Just think of them as siblings in need of a well-placed buffer. In fact, the best surface protectors, from felt pads to rubber cups, also dampen noise and make furniture easy to move or stay put. Most simply slip under, or stick solidly to, clean, dry surfaces. Best of all, they'll help your home and its beloved contents wear well-together.

Counter, Table, and Cabinet Protection
Appliances
Pads made from either felt or olefin (a synthetic material) will stick, slide, and buffer sound. Choose from precut squares or circles, or buy sheets. (You can cut them to fit the shape of whatever you
are protecting.) The pads' supersticky backs will adhere to virtually any clean object.

Pottery
Velour disks are available in adhesive-backed squares or disks. Theyll prevent your wares from scratching and denting finished wood, metal, glass, or tile. (They are not recommended for unfinished wood.) Slimmer than felt pads, they're a discreet choice for smaller items.

Shelves
Shelf and drawer liners will protect your cabinets' paint or lacquer. Liners, sold in rolls, are available in an array of colors and patterns (use the nonskid, nonadhesive kind). Just cut to size, and set in place. Use them in pantry cupboards to cushion your dishes and glassware.

Cabinet Doors
Soft dots-adhesive-backed disks made from foam, felt, or cork-are a good choice for the interior corners of kitchen cabinet doors, where they'll dampen sound and prevent glass inserts from rattling. These disks are more durable than felt pads and best used as bumpers.

Candlesticks
Felt, cut to size, is a custom fix for odd-shaped and heavy metal objects destined to slide across fine linens. Trace your object onto a sheet of felt, and then cut just inside the sketched line. Use an acid-free glue, such as Yes Paste, to attach the felt to valuable items.

Desktop Accessories
Cork pads are harvested from the bark of oak trees and backed with adhesive. Stick them onto lamp bases, vases, or plant pots and they'll protect tabletops from scratches. They also provide often-used items, such as desk accessories, with gentle traction on smooth surfaces.

Tabletops
Table pads are a worthwhile investment for valuable dining room tables. Have one made to measure, using solid core board and insulating fiberboard for strength and heat protection. Placed under a tablecloth, they're undetectable. After a party, fold them away neatly.

Pastry Boards
Rubber bumpers are like a second set of hands in the kitchen. Place them under a heavy board and they'll keep it from moving while you roll out your flakiest dough. They also keep a chilled board cool by offering a buffer between it and your room-temperature countertop.


Floor Protection
Vinyl and Wood Floors
Plastic sliders are designed to help chairs, ottomans, and other mobile furniture glide over bathroom and kitchen floors. (Unlike felt, they'll still work on wet surfaces.) Attach them to furniture legs using peel-off adhesive or screws. They skim over linoleum, tile, and vinyl flooring with ease.

Pet-Food Dishes
Nonskid dots keep movable objects, such as your thirsty dog's water bowl, in place. Stick these slightly textured, dense foam or vinyl dots to the clean, dry bottom of the bowl and your floor will remain scrape free. Best of all, gentle friction means it won't move until you lift it.

Painting Protection
A little masking tape will protect your floor from spatters, saving you hours of cleanup time. Measure and cut kraft paper to cover a hardwood floor (use a canvas drop cloth for carpeting), and then tape it down below your baseboards with low-tack painters' tape.

Hardwood Floors
Heavy-duty felt pads let you smoothly glide your chairs, tables, and floor lamps over hardwood floors and tile. Strips cover the elongated footprints of tubular furniture and rocking chairs. Stick a couple of disks together to level the height of wobbly tables and chairs.

Casters
Rubber, glass, or wooden cups are like shoes for wayward furniture legs. Whether square or round, they provide solid footing to protect soft floors from the dents of metal casters or heavy loads. They prevent skidding on floors that slope, and don't leave carpet indentations.

Carpets and Rugs
The rubbery weaves of carpet and rug pads prevent rugs from sliding out from under you as you walk on them. Pads also protect delicate floors from rough rug backings that can scratch. Vacuum under both regularly; machine-wash and air-dry pads to refresh their grip.

Furniture on Carpets
Plastic cups are great for heavy furnishings that live on carpets and rugs. Often made of clear or dark plastic with spiked undersides, they won't detract from shapely wooden legs. They prevent marks by dispersing the weight of your sofa-and the weight of the people on it.

Ceramic and Tile Floors
Rubber tips fit snugly over furniture legs to prevent skidding and scratching. They're especially helpful for metal-legged pieces and eliminate the nerve-fraying sound of chairs scraping across tile. Check them periodically to be sure that the metal isn't wearing through.


Wall Protection
Picture Hanging
Adhesive picture-hanging strips and hooks secure lightweight objects to walls without nail holes-and leave no trace of tackiness should you decide to remove them. Placing vinyl cubes on the backs of frames eliminates tilting and safeguards against scratches on your walls.

Household Tools
Rubber tips save your walls from the scuffs left by handy but unwieldy tools. (Slide them onto your mop, broom, and long-handled duster.) They provide enough traction to keep tools leaning exactly where you left them, so you won't return to find your broom on the floor.

Doorstops
As advertised, they keep doors from slamming into walls behind them or baseboards below them. Countless configurations fit any decor; choose from wooden finials and solid posts, spring and hinge-mounted varieties. All have rubber bumpers to absorb shock.

High-Traffic Corners
Corner and surface guards protect the protruding corners of your most heavily traveled intersections from bumps and dents. Nail or screw on wooden trim pieces. It's much simpler to touch them up with paint than to repair and repaint chipped plaster.

 

Safe and Sound
Protecting your home's surfaces requires scant money and even less time. It starts with the materials listed here.

Vinyl domes, dots, squared cubes, or flat disks work under terra-cotta plant saucers or unglazed pottery, behind picture frames, and more. They won't absorb water, so they'd work well on your alfresco dining table. Available in white, brown, or clear.

Rubber caps, squares, and rounds are soft and nonskid. The greater the surface area, the more reliable their grip. Larger cups (sometimes wooden with rubber undersides) hold bigger furniture in place. You'll find them in brown, white, and clear.

Plastic makes light work of moving heavy furniture. Hefty sliding cups are built with foam inside (where your sofa legs rest) and felt underneath (against the floor). Clean your floor before sliding anything; even tiny grains of dirt can leave large scratches.

Felt runs the gamut from lightweight to heavy-duty, nearly always with self-adhesive backing. Its weight range, wide variety of colors (green, gray, tan, dark brown, and white are easily available), and smooth sliding make it the most versatile material around.

Cork comes in different shapes and sheets, with self-adhesive backs. Its nonskid (under a tape dispenser) and sound-dampening (inside a hutch door) properties work in dry conditions. Its typical tan color makes it discreet under a wooden compote.