How to protect a wood floor at a party

Hi everyone, I’m looking for some advice on protecting a wood floor.

In the summer I will be having a house party for c.60-70 people. It will be both inside the house and in the back garden where I have gravel and decking (no grass).

The flooring throughout the downstairs is original Victorian pine (house built in 1880). Being pine, it’s soft and susceptible to scratches and dents from wooden chairs and shoe heels.

The party follows my wedding breakfast, so people will be dressed up (ie the women will mostly be wearing heels).

Given the indoor/outdoor nature of the party, I can’t ask people to remove their shoes, and it would be deemed an odd request anyway (I know, some cultures prefer it. Not me).

So, how can I protect my delicate wooden floors? I’m prepared to spend £1-200 ($150-$300). Carpet underlay? Cheap rugs? My friend actually puts down astroturf when she throws a party, but I want it to look a bit classier.

Wow! Protecting wood floors is very difficult.

Have you compared the cost of covering the floors with renting a hall and holding the party there?

Covering the floors can be very expensive and may still fail to protect the wood in case of inebriated guests who spill drinks that can damage wooden floors.

The cost of renting a hall may not be all that great. I would first decide if the party must be held at my home. Is there any chance you can hold it in a banquet hall?

I remember one party held in a basketball gymnasium in my high school. Women wore high heels and they absolutely destroyed the floor. The floor had to be ripped up and replaced.

But the women were not to blame. It was the first party ever held in that school. They never again allowed anyone to wear shoes of any kind in that gym. Someone caught a lot of flak for that because it was extremely expensive to replace the floor.

That’s what I’d do, anyway.

I like bamboo rugs and the rubber-back ones which are sold as “kitchen rugs” because they’re real easy to clean. The bamboo rugs can be cleaned with water (I roll them up loosely and shower them), the other ones can be put through the wash (don’t put them in the dryer on high though).

Yes, that’s what I’m leaning towards. I used to have a coarse rug in the kitchen from Ikea that could withstand a nuclear blast (I only threw it out as it suffered through puppy toilet training)

Unless you get wall to wall carpeting, rugs aren’t going to provide enough coverage. Plus, scattered rugs and/or mats strike me as having a serious risk of posing a slip hazard or even a trip hazard. Perhaps you could buy 70 or 80 pairs of cheap slippers, and just ask your guests to change. I’m sure you can find something that fits within your stated budget. Make it part of the event, and you and your spouse can lead by example. The slippers can be worn indoors and out, and discarded at the end of the event. “Soft floors from 1880” is sufficient explanation for anyone.

I’ve been to homes where “no shoes inside” is the routine. I can envision the possibility of some confusion at the end, when folks are getting their own shoes back – some inevitably will look just like others. Maybe go the extra step and have an equal number of small bags (paper or plastic) for people to put their shoes into, and marking pens for a name on the outside. Put a bag in each pair of slippers, and have a box of crayons handy. That way, nearsighted old Aunt Jane won’t leave wearing Sister Sophie’s treasured gold pumps and half the men won’t wonder why “their” Oxfords now feel funny.

I would go with the cheap rugs idea. Home Depot has some pretty cheap ones, or Grossman’s Bargain Outlet.

So they had to play basketball barefooted?

Either lay some strong protection, or ban heels.

I am sure that there are people who will lay suitable protection for you, but it may well stretch your budget. On new builds, it is normal to lay plywood over delicate floors right up until all the workmen leave.

Have you considered carpet tiles? They’re more dense, rigid, and slim than a typical cheap rug, so they’d be less of a tripping hazard. They can also be installed with more continuity than simply throwing down several cheap rugs, so perhaps it would subtly hint at “go/no-go” zones (if you can’t manage to cover the entire floor).

Buy 100 pairs of cheap flip flops like they do at most weddings.

Home Depot carries a product called Ram Board that is specifically designed to protect floors during construction. It’s $30 for a 3’x50’ roll. So your $300 buys $1500 sq ft of protection. It’s not the most attractive thing in the world, but it’ll do the job.

That’s what I would suggest, or fuzzy socks

That looks like a possibility. Pity they splatter it with logos!

Old pine floors are nothing special round here, it’s a Victorian terraced house which is extremely common in the UK. Most people I know have them.

I’m not too worried about flat shoes, but do people think it would be ok to ask people not to wear stilettos? Or take them off? Perhaps a softly worded note in the invitation?

This will be a casual evening following a much more upscale daytime event at a hired venue. I imagine most people will go back to their hotels inbetween, and may change into more casual clothing in any case.

Flip flops, with thongs? Seems to me that would be a major inconvenience for those wearing socks or hose.

On both sides?

While everyone appreciates comfortable shoes, I can’t help but wonder if some of the ladies plan to wear an outfit that includes high heels, even to the casual evening event. Sometimes fashion overrules comfort. It may not be be unreasonable to ask, but it’s probably unrealistic to expect 100% compliance.

Heh! Heh! :slight_smile:

My mistake. I should have said no shoes except for running shoes.

Thank you.

Here is a possible solution:

Since the OP is looking for advice, let’s move this to IMHO.

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