The short answer? Door mats, welcome mats, and runners can extend the life of your flooring. Don’t believe me?
It takes an average of six to ten steps for all of the dirt on shoes to fall away and let’s face it, not everyone is diligent about wiping their feet. All but the smallest dogs can carry a surprising amount of dirt in a house between their paw pads -especially in winter when there is less grass.
Now, some people get around this by having a no shoes in the house rule and when I’m a guest I comply with the rules. If that works for you, great. You’re welcome to find a high horse if one is available, the internet is full of them. Personally, I’m a shoe person and I’m not about to take the time to switch to house only shoes every time I enter or exit my home. Maybe it is all the time I spent in chem labs or industrial kitchens that have conditioned me, but I can’t stand going barefoot. I strongly recommend that everyone should wear closed toe shoes while cooking. Maybe I was born without grace, but it seems I am always knocking knives off a counter or breaking the random glass. In my world, shoes are of the good. If you want to go barefoot, fine, but don’t cry to me when you need stitches.
Entryways are often some of the highest traffic points in a home. Without a rug, just the physical action of walking on the carpet, hardwood, or other flooring surface creates wear in a narrow path. Once you throw dirt into the mix, things wear out faster. If you pulled out a magnifying glass and took a close look at the dirt and grit that is tracked into a home, you’d find that the edges of most of the particles are rough. When that dirt is ground into the flooring on a microscopic level it isn’t pretty. The dirt scratches flooring and tears the fibers of carpeting. Rugs counter this effect by acting as a catch all for tracked-in dirt and by taking the brunt of the impact at these high traffic points.
As wear develops, the scratches created by the dirt create hiding places for smaller particles of dirt which lead to that grimy, impossible to scrub away look.
Walking on carpet, especially carpet without the proper padding, creates what is called crush damage. As the fibers are repeatedly pressed down, they lose their ability to spring back into shape. Rugs offer protection from this type of wear. This is why hallway runners are so popular, either to hide existing crush damage or to keep it from happening in the first place.
Don’t forget to regularly shake out your rugs or they can become so loaded with grit and sand that they no longer catch what is tracked in, negating any chance of wear prevention.
Rugs and mats may seem a needless or frivolous expense, but homeowners consider them an investment in the lifespan of your flooring. A new door mat every few years is significantly more cost effective than prematurely replacing carpeting and linoleum or refinishing hardwood. Renters, well some of you may file flooring under “Not My Problem”, but using mats and rugs decreases the amount of time spent sweeping, mopping, and vacuuming. Isn’t that a win all around?
Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.