A Guide to Furniture Glides and Choosing the Right Ones

Protecting floors and furniture in schools might sound like you are asking for too much. That’s like asking for every student to clean up after themselves at lunch: it just can’t happen. While you can’t protect your floors or furniture all the time, there, fortunately, are ways to reduce the damage caused to them drastically. That’s where furniture glides come in. Read this guide to furniture glides and choosing the right ones to see how you can protect your school furniture in a cost-efficient, time-efficient process. The many furniture glides and flooring options might surprise you, but this guide will teach you how furniture glides protect any school or business conveniently.

What Are Furniture Glides?

To discover the furniture glides that best fit your school, it’s important to understand what furniture glides are and the purpose they serve. Furniture glides are pieces of a furniture base fitted to the legs to protect the floor and the furniture. These glides also help to reduce sliding noise, slippage, and furniture misuse by students.

What Furniture Glides Do

School furniture sees constant wear and tear, given the high amount of foot traffic. As previously mentioned, furniture glides protect the floors and furniture from scratches, dents, and markings. More so, they help configure the bodyweight of whoever’s on it with the weight of the furniture. For instance, a chair’s durability and bodyweight support depend on its glides. The right furniture glides balance out the weight of the chair with the person’s weight so that the chair doesn’t break or leave a scratch on the floor.


Of course, much of a furniture glide’s reliability pertains to the type of flooring used in the school. There are three things to consider when choosing the right furniture glides for schools: the kind of flooring, quality of floor design, and protective care. Some additional aspects to think about are the weight of the furniture and scale, no matter which type of flooring the school uses. For instance, stacking chairs adds weight and pressure on that area, so the right furniture glides must withstand that excess weight buildup.

That’s not to say that schools should stop all flooring care and protection. In fact, these are essential to maintaining a school’s functionality. All floors you will place furniture glides on must have no bumps, cracks, dirt, or debris. By keeping the floors clean, you can increase the lifespan of your furniture and furniture glides. With that, some types of flooring to keep in mind include laminate, parquet, elastic flooring, linoleum, natural stone, ceramic tile, carpet, vinyl, and exposed concrete. The base of the furniture glide protects against damage to these types of floors.

Size and Shape

Naturally, furniture glides have different sizes and shapes that depend on the legs of your school furniture. Consider buying gliders that are one size larger than the legs, as this allows for easier mobility and even weight distribution. Remember to consider the shape too. Whether rectangular or circular, match the glides with the furniture legs for the best protection.

Base Material

Of course, as aforementioned, the base material of the furniture glide protects the floors and furniture from damage. You should consider different base materials for their respective flooring options. Some of the most common furniture glide bases are nylon, rubber, steel, felt, and plastic. Here are some of the benefits and risks associated with them.


Nylon is arguably one of the most popular furniture glide options due to its strength, durability, and universal flooring applications. They work on almost all types of floors. However, one notable exception to their high quality is that nylon furniture glides collect dirt, sand, and other particulates over time. It can also eventually damage softer floor types, like wood or VCT tile.


Rubber, elastomer, or TPR glide bases offer a soft, sticky, non-skid surface for chairs. Rubber bases are great quiet options for chairs or other furniture. They reduce mobility, which helps protect against students who lean back or float around the classroom. The chairs don’t slide around, scratch the floors, or create disruptive noises if repositioned. One drawback is that rubber bases are not as durable as nylon.


Steel bases are more expensive than other glide bases because they’re one of the most protective against permanent floor damage. They also do not damage soft floors like nylon. Carpets work best for steel glide bases since they can cause unwanted streaks on VCT tile. Remember not to place them on a wet carpet so you can avoid rust.


Felt is another popular type of furniture glide base. It is one of the softest base materials available and makes for easy and quiet furniture sliding. Felt bases leave no streaks and create significantly less noise than other base materials, making them perfect for the classroom or library. Still, over time, felt bases could get dirty. Not to mention, they have the shortest base life since felt bases often fall off or break over time. When they do, you should replace or integrate them into the base of the glide.


Lastly, plastic furniture base glides are great options because they don’t collect dirt and sand as easily as nylon. They also put less stress on the floors from the weight of the chair. They are often used for VCT floor tiles but are also beneficial for wood, stone, tile, or carpet flooring. While durable and more cost-efficient than steel or rubber bases, plastic bases might need replacing more frequently.

We at Shiffler created this guide to furniture glides and choosing the right ones because we understand the importance of quality furniture glides and bases. Our selection of chair tips and glides ensure perfect floor protection. With over 40 years of business as the leading manufacturer and distributor of furniture glides, our vast selection of furniture sliders, leg tips, casters, table tips, and more ensure that your furniture and floors remain spotless. Call us today to speak with a team member to find the right furniture glide for your school, home, or business.

A Guide to Furniture Glides and Choosing the Right Ones