Don't make me refinish these floors...
September 26, 2010 7:38 PM   Subscribe

What kind of doormat can I use to protect my wood floors?

My front door opens directly into my living room, which has wood floors (doug fir). I refinished the floors this year and they look great except that I already have water damage by the front door. I think this is from people coming in and leaving their shoes in that area. I bought a rubber backed mat but it actually seems to have made the problem worse, presumably by trapping water under the mat against the floor. (I am on rubber mat #2, the second one was more expensive and supposed to cure the problem but does not work).

At this point there is enough damage that I would most like to cover that area up with something that would also protect it. But mainly I just want to prevent further damage. Is there a product, mat, cover, anything? that I can buy that will do that? I'm particularly looking for personal recommendations of products that you used and liked.

More info: the polyurethane is good quality, Boma commercial grade stuff. There is no damage anywhere else, including the kitchen or near the bathroom. Particularly wet or muddy people & dogs use the backdoor and leave their shoes in the mudroom there. People coming in the front door are no more than a little damp at the worst. I've never seen puddles on the floor or noticed that the rug was damp although apparently it has been. There is no damage under the other rugs in the house. And I'm pretty sure water is coming from shoes and not through the front door because I have a large covered porch and you step up to enter the house so it's impossible for water to seep under my door. The area behind the door where I leave my own shoes has no damage. There is no mat there and I wonder if it being open to the air is the reason why the finish still looks good?
posted by fshgrl to Home & Garden (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I have a plastic tray that I bought at Christmas Tree Shops (a discount store in my area) that has raised sides, into which I've put a doormat. The tray keeps all the water in, while the mat allows the water to drain off the shoes. I have to empty the tray every once in awhile, especially in winter, but it works really well to keep the carpet free of moisture and dirt from boots.
posted by xingcat at 7:43 PM on September 26, 2010

LL Bean makes a entryway door mat called Waterhog. I use one and it works. Check out their website.
posted by JohnE at 7:58 PM on September 26, 2010

My dog really loves to load her mouth up with water from the dish and then wander the house and let it spill out. I've found that there is no substitute for towels. Different than your problem, yes, but keeping a hand towel near the door (but out of sight) might be effective. I find that using a towel under my foot to mop up the floor helps in keeping things dry- and keeps the floor cleaner for longer. More high maintenance than a good doormat, of course.
posted by palacewalls at 10:59 PM on September 26, 2010

Response by poster: xingcat- I thought of something like that but it's right in my living room so I need to make it look attractive. Or at least passable. The LLBean mat looks good but it's not clear that it's waterproof or just absorbent? I need something that keeps water from making any contact with the floor at all. I guess I'll call them tomorrow.
posted by fshgrl at 11:58 PM on September 26, 2010

On the care instructions for our new floor (cork, not wood, fwiw) it specifically says not to use rubber-backed mats. They can discolor the floor, and trap moisture underneath.

No helpful suggestions, just a caution, sorry.
posted by annsunny at 1:08 AM on September 27, 2010

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