Protecting Floors During Installations

How to keep finished floors safe from dropped hammers and related hazards. April 25, 2006

What do you use for floor protection when working on finished hardwood or vinyl floors? I am using cardboard, but thought there should be a better, more durable product out there. Something that is tough, yet does not take up a lot of room to store.

Forum Responses
(Cabinet and Millwork Installation Forum)
From contributor J:
Mainly, I use the shipping blankets - not the cheapest, but work well. Shake 'em out, fold 'em up, also wrap cabinets in 'em, protect vehicle interiors, and yes, picnic blanket.

From contributor R:
Homasote and rosin paper.

From contributor L:
I save all the 4x8 sheets of corrugated cardboard that comes when I get a shipment of ply. I use these for shipping and floor protection. What the heck, it's free with my purchase of ply.

From contributor C:
Rosin paper and cardboard. In addition to sources mentioned, has varying sizes in large quantities pretty cheap - may be helpful depending on the size of the job.

From contributor R:
I am a fan of Homasote due to its thickness. You can drop a tool and not damage the floor below. It handles high traffic for extended periods of time. Also, in the northeast during the muddy/snowy times, it's nice to have something absorbent so you aren't replacing it every couple of days. That is for a project that lasts more than a week.

From contributor P:
I like the above suggestion and I've used that as well. On a cheaper note, 1/4" masonite on drop cloths will enable you to open and close any doors from area to area, and the surface is super hard to prevent any dropped tool from damaging the floors. I buy it for $9 a sheet.

From contributor F:
What's Homasote?

From contributor L:
It's the material you would use as an underlayment for a rubber roof. I think it is 1/2" thick, and it is a fibrous weave in a 4 x 8 sheet. Kind of squishy while being rigid.

From contributor J:
Think similar to 4 x 8 ceiling tile, also used for sound reduction in walls. Layer of homososte and then drywall.

From contributor D:
In our closet business we are in and out of carpeted and hardwood floors daily and it was important to me to show my customers we cared. I now roll out the red carpet! Commercial moving supply places sell rolls of floor protection. The last batch I bought was non-skid rubber backed with a fabric top. Rolls up real small and easy to clean, long lasting.

From contributor F:
I have a kitchen remodel coming up where the people just had their wood floors redone and *then* decided to remodel their kitchen (duh). They are very worried about their new wood floors during the remodel (as am I), so was deciding on what to put down so I when I drop my hammer, I won't damage their floor. Maybe I'll check out this homasote stuff. Couldn't I cut and lay it directly on the clean wood floor and tape it together or something? Especially if it's cheap!

From contributor R:
Tthat's exactly what you do. Duct tape works excellent. The only drawback was mentioned. Being 1/2" thick, it can be difficult under doors, but rosin paper or masonite will work great. You never have to worry about poor project management again. Let them install all the finish flooring they want.