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Glides For Chairs & Why They Matter

glides for chairs

Glides are those often-invisible bits at the bottom of chair legs that provide protection for the chair leg and, probably more importantly, the floor below them. Glides are fixed to wooden chair legs with nails, screws or glue; on metal chair legs they tend to be inserts or caps – there are pictures of a cross-section of glides further down this article.

Why glides matter

All glides can wear out and glides can sometimes fall off chair legs. Worn-out glides or missing glides can quickly damage a floor. Chair glides should be regularly checked. 

worn-out-glide-scratched-tiled-floor2

Worn out glide has damaged flooring

Hard plastic or nylon glides are generally the best choice for hospitality environments, being suited to most floors; they usually last for many years, often for the whole lifetime of a chair.

hard-plastic-glide-on-chair-leg

Hard plastic glide on chair leg

Rough, textured or uneven floors

Rough floors or floors that can ‘catch’ chair legs that are being slid across them are a danger to not only glides, but also the chairs themselves. Furniture that goes on this type of floor needs to have the most robust plastic/nylon glides, but also the chair frame need to be particularly strong.

Noisy floors

The most typical reason not to use a plastic/nylon glide is that they can be noisy and felt glides seem to be a better solution - they are softer and may be quieter and smoother on some hard floors.

felt-glide-on-chair-leg

Felt glide on chair leg

BUT felt glides tend to be quicker to wear and are less easy to fix to the end of a chair leg, so may be knocked off more easily by resistance on a rough or textured or uneven floor

Felt glides will not slide easily across some surfaces, mainly carpets, so are inappropriate for these as well as hard floors that have a partial covering of rugs, for instance. A glide that sticks to a floor surface can lead to damage to a chair.

Soft floors

If the floor is soft (including parquet, lino, and some softer woods), a glide needs to spread the weight of the chair. For soft floors, glides need to be specified carefully; this rules out chairs with thin legs, if a wider glide cannot be separately specified.

 

When can glides be specified separately to the chair itself?

Usually glides are fitted as part of the process of construction and there is no choice. However some chairs (typically but not always chairs with wooden legs) can be specified with non-standard glides. Standard glides will tend to be better connected to the chair leg than non-standard glides.

Clattering chairs

Some chairs can clatter across a hard floor; for some metal-framed chairs, this can be because the screws connecting the frame to the seat and back are loose; but it could also be because of the hard glides.

Magiglides

Magiglides are a patented type of glide, combining a Teflon-like underside (in contact with the floor) and a hard rubber top (to absorb vibrations). They are screwed to the chair and allow it to glide better across most surfaces, but particularly carpets. In some circumstances we can add Magiglides to chairs (they are a slightly more expensive option that a standard glide).

magiglides-different-types
 

Replacing worn-out or lost glides

We will send replacement worn-out or missing nylon (nailed in) glides to our customers, free of cost, on request. 

The following video shows how to replace a nailed in glide.

Types of glide

There are hundreds of different glide – here is a cross-section:

Adhesive Felt Glides

Adhesive Felt Glides

nail on glides

Nail on Glides

Screw on felt glides

Screw on felt glides

Threaded Glide

Threaded Glide

Saddle Glides

Saddle Glides

Tilting Felt Glides for Tubes

Tilting Felt Insert Glides or 'tiltserts'

Topics: Furniture care, Specification tips

By Paula Stanbridge-Faircloth Paula Stanbridge-Faircloth on 19/07/19 10:38
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