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Old October 12th, 2020, 03:52 AM
MistahMan MistahMan is offline
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Chair mats. Good or bad?

Hello all,

What with working from home being a thing now, I've had to turn a portion of another room into a home office and with the hardwood floor in that room I thought that adding a computer chair mat would be a good idea. I've seen a couple of Youtube videos showing that those mats can actually be harmful to hardwood floors after prolonged use.

Do any of you use them and if so, is there a particular brand to recommend that might be better and safer on flooring?


Last edited by MistahMan; October 12th, 2020 at 03:59 AM.
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Old October 12th, 2020, 05:17 PM
Ensign Tzap Ensign Tzap is offline
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Mats are good for rugs, concrete, tile, or vinyl floors.
The reason mats started being used, was to control the static build up.
The chairs would make it from the person sitting or moving around in them.
And in many cases the chair would have a static chain hanging down to the floor, to discharge the chair.

But here's a solution that is much better for you, than a mat.

Signed: Ensign Tzap
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Old October 12th, 2020, 06:19 PM
MistahMan MistahMan is offline
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Thanks for the suggestion.
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Old October 13th, 2020, 05:23 PM
Digerati Digerati is offline
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The reason mats started being used, was to control the static build up.
Ummm, no. Mats have been used for 100 years or more to keep chair feet and then casters (originally made of steel) from marring and scratching up wooden floors.

The problem with static didn't come about until clothing and upholstering materials started being made using synthetic materials. And folks were not worried about zapping their computers. The word "computer" to denote an electronic computing device had not even been used yet. People were just tired of zapping themselves.

Cotton, wool and linen clothing and upholstering materials, and leather chair upholstering (or wood) is best for preventing static build up.

Now, for those mats, I don't like them. While they do protect your flooring from damage from the wheels or feet, over time, dust, dirt and grit can work itself under the mat and essentially turn into sandpaper on your flooring! Not good!

Not sure about wood flooring but another problem I have seen with those mats on traditional tile/linoleum flooring is yellowing and other discoloring effects. Perhaps that is from the sun (or lack of sun), or perhaps it is due to chemical reaction between the plastics in the mat and the flooring.

Some mats slip and slide too easily. Not good. Other mats have rubber backing to prevent slipping, but I have seen where the rubber stuck to the floor when the mat sat for awhile. Also not good.

Last, for me personally, I move around when sitting at my desk and I hate it when one of the chair casters roll off the mat edge.

I agree with Ensign Tzap and some decent rollerblade casters may be a better solution. I have these and they are great - especially when it comes to noise, or a lack of it. Just make sure your chair uses standard size caster stems.

Alternatively, a good area rug to put under your chair. And then, if you want, a mat (or rollerblade casters) on top of that.

BTW, if there is a concern about zapping your computer, it just isn't likely to happen through your keyboard or mouse. Even if you touch the metal case of your computer, any static discharge will be shunted to ground and not through the ESD sensitive devices. It would be a good idea (for everyone) to use a AC Outlet Tester to ensure the wall outlet is properly wired and grounded to Earth ground. I recommend one with a GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupt) indicator as it can be used to test bathroom and kitchen outlets (outlets near water) too. These testers can be found for your type and voltage outlet, foreign or domestic, (like this one for the UK) at most home improvement stores, or even the electrical department at Wal-Mart. Use it to test all the outlets in the home and if a fault is shown, have it fixed by a qualified electrician.

For those who work on electronics, the proper matting is specifically designed to insulate the user and discharge static. The best of these are actually grounded to Earth ground via a common ground established to a bench ESD mat, and bench ground strapped to the equipment being repaired. None of which is needed in a standard home or office environment.
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Old October 13th, 2020, 06:39 PM
MistahMan MistahMan is offline
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Thank you for all this information. Really appreciate it.
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Old October 13th, 2020, 11:10 PM
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renegade600 renegade600 is offline
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I ruined a carpet by not using a mat. Rolling around while sitting in the chair stretched it - looks bad. Hope I don't lose my security deposit because of it.
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