The Best Ways to Protect Floors When Moving

How To Protect Floors When Moving

The whole process of moving can be a real pain, but one of the worst parts can be dealing with the aftermath of the move. Finding ugly scratches covering your wood floors when you’re done moving furniture can be a real bummer.

So, what is the best way to protect floors when moving?

There are multiple ways to protect your floors. Most of them include covering the floors with some kind of material to act as floor protection.

Whether you have carpet or hardwood flooring, I’ve got plenty of tips to get your furniture safely into your new home without floor damage.

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Table of Contents

What Is the Best Way to Protect Floors When Moving?

The best way to protect floors while moving would be to avoid dragging any furniture, but talking is always easier than doing. As much as you try to avoid dragging your furniture, you can’t help but pull some items because of their weight. I can’t imagine someone lifting a fridge and walking with it.

Sometimes it’s not even the weight. Some items like dining room tables can be hard to navigate because of tricky angles coming through a doorway or around a corner.

Regardless of the reason, here are ways to protect your floors even if you’re dragging your heavy furniture across them.

Cover the Floors with Cardboard or Red Rosin

Scratch in Hardwood Flooring
The LAST thing you want is to be dealing with scratches like this after a long, exhausting moving day.

Cardboard is affordable, lightweight, and easy to find anywhere. Because of it’s accessibility, it’s one of the best options for floor protection while moving, especially to protect carpet.

When you’re moving, you’ll probably have extra moving boxes lying everywhere, so you won’t even have to buy new ones. All you have to do is lay the cardboard beneath the applicants you want to move.

Having said that, cardboard does have it’s drawbacks. Because cardboard can be slippery on wood floors, you’ll have to tape it, which may leave remnants to clean later on.

Speaking of things you may already have plenty extra of that can provide good floor protection – protective furniture blankets, or “moving blankets”, are thick, durable (and big) blankets that can be utilized for this purpose. Just be careful if laying them down on wood floors because they can slide which could be dangerous.

You can either wrap pieces as you bring them to guard against accidentally ‘bumps’, or as carpet protection from dirty shoes (more on that later).

Another good alternative is red rosin paper. You’ll lay it on the floor in your heavy foot traffic areas and move your things normally, and the floors will stay protected. This paper doesn’t tear easily because it’s recycled and made of different materials. It’s a good option for hardwood flooring.

Use Ram Board

If you have a large house, you’ll have to buy a lot of red rosin paper, which isn’t ideal. An excellent alternative is ram board. Ram board isn’t more affordable, but it can be reused, so you won’t have to buy a lot for the whole house.

Ram Board is heavy-duty and durable and works great as floor protection for your hardwood floors. It’s basically like putting down a temporary floor on top of your existing floor.

All you have to do is lay it on the ground and move your items. You can drag any furniture on the ram board, and it won’t budge.

Items that are too heavy to lift like heavy furniture, fridges and washers & dryers can be pulled easily on ram board.

Make Sure Everything Fits

If you’re moving a piece of furniture into a small area, you’ll inevitably scratch the floors or the walls. Before proceeding, you need to make sure you made all the necessary measurements and that everything fits.

Otherwise, you may find yourself in a challenging situation.

Use Furniture Sliders to Protect Hardwood Floors

Furniture Sliders
Furniture sliders are almost like a cheat code for protecting your floors when moving furniture.

If you’re moving a dining table, for example, or any piece of furniture that has legs, it’ll be hard to protect the floor. If you drag the furniture on a rug or a runner, it’ll be dragged along with it. The same goes for doormats.

So, the right way to go here is to use furniture sliders for the furniture’s legs. Sliders are basically pieces of rubber with a soft cloth-like bottom that stick to the underside of the legs, so when you drag a table across the floor, it doesn’t scratch it.

I highly recommend getting a couple packs of furniture sliders of different sizes to have on hand. Not only are they great during the move, but they’ll keep protecting floors long after the move is done.

Use a Runner for Hallways

Hallways are long and are often high traffic areas. To protect hallway floors while moving, you can lay a long runner, covering the entire area. It’ll be more affordable than most other solutions, and it’ll be perfect for narrow hallways.

Make sure there are no wrinkles along with the runner so no one trips while carrying something and maybe can’t see their feet. Plus, if you can, choose a runner with a nonslip back so that it stays put when you’re walking on it.

Use Doormats for Slippery Areas

Aside from floor protection, you also want to protect the person doing the moving. So, it’s recommended to lay doormats on slippery areas. Whether it’s you moving or someone else, they’ll likely step on the floor with dirty shoes, and they’ll be carrying heavy items.

The doormats will keep them from slipping, and they’ll protect the floors in these areas from getting scratched or receiving fallen items.

The doormats won’t offer much help if you’re dragging heavy furniture across the floor, though. Chances are, they’ll get dragged along with it.

Floor Protection From Dirt and Mud

Shoe Covers

I’ve talked a lot about protecting your wood floors from scratches, but scratches from moving furniture isn’t the only thing your floors need protection from during a move.

Dirt and mud can also be a big issue on moving day, especially if it’s raining.

This is more so for your carpeted floors. Wood floors can be rather easily cleaned with a broom and a mop – not necessarily fun, but manageable.

However, having a solution to protect carpet from getting destroyed by mud is something you definitely want to figure out. All of the solutions I’ve mentioned – cardboard, red rosin, etc are still viable options, but there is an additional option worth looking into.

Shoe covers can work wonders to protect carpets from being covered in mud. You won’t necessarily need to put shoe covers on every time you walk in the house, only when carrying things in through carpeted floors.

What Is the Best Way to Protect Stairs?

Stairs are a pain to protect because you’ll have to cover each step, but it’ll be worth it when you have shiny, scratch-less stairs.

For your stairs, the best option is red rosin paper because it’s easy to fit in any area. So, it won’t take long to slide it over each step.

What Is the Best Way to Protect Hardwood?

The best way to protect hardwood is to either use ram board or furniture sliders. Ram board is durable, so it’ll handle the whole moving process. Plus, you can reuse it, so it won’t be a waste of money.

Alternatively, you can use furniture sliders for tables, chairs, and cabinets with legs.

Pro Tip: While the room is completely empty, it may be a great time to go ahead and put a fresh coat of wax on the floor. Not only will it make your hardwood floors look better, it will also help them be more durable. Check out more on how to wax a hardwood floorOpens in a new tab..

What Is the Best Way to Protect Carpet?

The best way to protect carpet during your move is to apply self adhesive carpet film. It’s basically a sheet that you stick to the mats and move your furniture over it. It’ll stick to the carpet, but it won’t ruin it. Plus, it’ll protect the floor from any accidental spills.

It shouldn’t be left for a long time, though, or it’ll leave an adhesive residue.

Don’t forget shoe covers too. Those things can be a life saver for carpet.

Final Thoughts

With so much going on moving day, sometimes floor protection can be overlooked until there is a problem. By planning ahead you won’t have to wait until a huge scratch rips into your hardwood floors before you address your floors when moving.

The best way to protect floors during a move is to create some type of temporary floor protection with red rosin paper, ram board, or furniture sliders. You can also cover the furniture’s legs with wrapping paper to avoid scratching the floor.


I've been a college coach for going on 20 years now and that career has led Jen and I on quite the journey. We've lived in 7 different states and have moved a dozen different times. We've learned A LOT over the course of all those moves and we want to pass on our knowledge to help others going through the moving process.

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