Rubber chair tips are shoes for tables and chair legs. These durable and versatile accessories work both ways, shielding the ends of furniture legs from wear and tear and keeping worn-and-torn ends from damaging the floor. Not all tables and chairs have rubber tips upon rolling out of the factory, so installing a set on them is a good idea.
But protection isn’t the only benefit non-skid tips for chairs and tables offer. When you consider the main ingredient in these tips, rubber can be a wonderful material. It’s used everywhere, from sealing packages to keeping boats and ships afloat. For the purposes of this post, let’s talk about the benefits which apply to chair tips.
Items crafted from rubber, such as rubber bands, can be stretched up a factor of 10 from their original length thanks to the material’s molecular structure. The long and short of the science is the polymers remain crosslinked when stretched and return to their base form when released.
Non-slip rubber tips can’t be stretched as much as rubber bands, but they’re elastic enough to fit on most furniture legs. Regardless, it still pays to get the diameter of the legs to ensure a proper fit. A great way to do this is using Australian coins of different denominations.
19 mm – as big as AUD$0.05 and AUD$2.00 coins
22 mm – as big as an AUD$0.10 coin
25 mm – as big as an AUD$1.00 coin
28 mm – as big as an AUD$0.20 coin
32 mm – as big as an AUD$0.50 coin
Getting the right size helps the tips last longer, as they won’t be subjected to constant stretching over their lifetime. It also saves you money, especially when you buy small quantities first as a litmus test of sorts.
Elasticity isn’t the only thing which makes rubber resilient against wear and tear. Non-slip chair tips are usually made from natural rubber, a type of rubber which sees widespread use due to its high tensile strength and resistance to cutting and scraping. However, its impurities make it ill-suited for exposure to heat, light, and ozone – basically outdoor use.
Regardless, when used for indoor chairs and tables, rubber tips can withstand the test of time. To reduce the risk of damage to the tips, we suggest avoiding dragging the furniture across the floor when relocating. Lift the furniture instead (with help, if necessary).
Rubber’s excellent adhesion to most surfaces is well-documented in countless examples, which include non-slip rubber furniture pads against the living room floor. Studies show this is possible as the rubber temporarily deforms to latch onto the surface’s imperfections. You can’t see this happen unless you look at it under a microscope, but it happens, nonetheless.
This stickiness allows furniture fitted with rubber tips to remain stable despite external forces. If you try to drag the furniture, the tips may exert resistive force, sometimes causing the furniture to shake or wobble. All the more reason to lift it when relocating instead of dragging it.
It’s important to keep the surface underneath the tips dry. According to one study, any liquid on a surface smoothens it, reducing rubber’s grip on the surface’s imperfections by as much as 30%. The tips won’t be as effective in keeping the furniture in place.
Arguably the most important benefit of rubber tips is, as mentioned earlier, their ability to keep furniture’s legs from inflicting damage to the floor. Some flooring materials can resist scratching better, but others like hardwood and vinyl can’t. Given less durable flooring options are also low cost, replacing them with tougher but costlier flooring is out of the question.
Rubber tips are soft yet thick enough to keep the jagged or sharp edges of furniture legs, whether wood or metal, from scratching the floor. Coupled with their durability, the tips can also handle the weight of the furniture and everyone sitting on them (or, in the case of tables, the stuff on top of them). Keep in mind rubber is also a choice material for heavy-duty uses like construction.
Adding another layer of protection is helpful. Thick-enough carpets or rugs can prevent the legs from leaving blemishes on the floor, not to mention enhance the room’s aesthetics.
For something so small, non-slip rubber tips for furniture legs work hard. Elasticity allows them to protect furniture legs of various shapes and sizes. Durability lets them last long with proper use. Stickiness keeps them stable on any dry surface. Finally, their thickness protects vulnerable floors from damage. All these benefits for around a dollar fifty apiece. So, whether you’re seeking to protect your floors or extend the life span of your chairs’ legs, rubber chair tips stand as a testament to the remarkable results that can be achieved through ingenuity, simplicity, and practicality.