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Originally published Saturday, August 23, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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Ask Martha

Protect your home from scratches and dings

You love your freshly painted porch and wicker rocker. Or you did, until the rocker began scuffing up the glossy floor. Why can't they just...

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You love your freshly painted porch and wicker rocker. Or you did, until the rocker began scuffing up the glossy floor. Why can't they just get along? They can. Just think of them as siblings in need of a well-placed buffer. In fact, the best surface protectors also dampen noise and make furniture easy to move or keep where you want. Most slip under or stick to clean, dry surfaces. You can find them at hardware and home-improvement stores.

COUNTER, TABLE AND CABINET PROTECTION

Appliances: Pads made from either felt or olefin will stick, slide and buffer sound. Choose from pre-cut squares or circles, or buy sheets you can cut to fit the shape of whatever you are protecting.

Pottery: Velour disks are available as adhesive-backed squares or rounds. They'll prevent wares from scratching finished wood, metal, glass and tile.

Shelves and drawers: Shelf and drawer liners will protect cabinet paint or lacquer. Choose ones that are nonskid and don't have an adhesive backing. Cut to size, and set in place.

Cabinet doors: Use adhesive-backed disks made from foam, felt or cork on the interior corners of cabinet doors, where they'll dampen sound. These disks are more durable than felt pads and are best used as bumpers.

Candlesticks: Felt, cut to size, is a custom fix. Trace the candlestick's base onto felt, and then cut just inside the line. Use an acid-free glue to attach the felt to valuable items.

Desktop accessories: Cork pads are harvested from the bark of oak trees and are backed with adhesive. Stick them on lamp bases, vases or plant pots and they'll protect tabletops from scratches. They also provide often-used items, such as desk accessories, with gentle traction on smooth surfaces.

Tabletops: Table pads are a worthwhile investment for valuable dining-room tables. Have one made to measure, using solid core board and insulating fiberboard for strength and heat protection. Placed under a tablecloth, they're undetectable. After the party, fold them away.

Pastry boards: Place rubber bumpers under a pastry board and it won't move while you roll out dough. They also keep a chilled board cool by offering a buffer between it and your room-temperature countertop.

FLOOR PROTECTION

Vinyl and wood floors: Plastic sliders help furniture glide over bathroom and kitchen floors. (Unlike felt, they'll work on wet surfaces.) Attach them using peel-off adhesive or screws. They skim over linoleum, tile and vinyl flooring with ease.

Pet-food dishes: Nonskid dots keep movable objects, such as a thirsty dog's water bowl, in place. Stick these slightly textured, dense foam or vinyl dots to the clean, dry bottom of the bowl.

Hardwood floors: Heavy-duty felt pads let you glide chairs, tables and floor lamps over hardwood floors and tile. Strips cover the elongated footprints of tubular furniture and rocking chairs. Stick a couple of disks together to level tables and chairs.

Casters: Rubber, glass or wooden cups act as shoes for wayward furniture legs, providing solid footing to protect soft floors from the dents of metal casters or heavy loads. They prevent skidding on floors that slope, and don't leave carpet indentations.

Rugs: Rug pads prevent rugs from sliding out from under you as you walk on them. They also protect delicate floors from rough rug backings that can scratch. Vacuum under both regularly; machine wash and air dry pads to refresh their grip.

Ceramic and tile floors: Rubber tips fit snugly over furniture legs to prevent skidding and scratching. They're especially helpful for metal-legged pieces and eliminate the nerve-fraying sound of chairs scraping across tile. Check them periodically to be sure that the metal isn't wearing through.

WALL PROTECTION

Picture hanging: Adhesive hooks secure lightweight objects to walls without nail holes and leave no trace should you decide to remove them. Placing vinyl cubes on the backs of frames eliminates tilting and safeguards against scratches on your walls.

Doorstops: They keep doors from slamming into walls and baseboards. Countless configurations fit any décor. All doorstops have rubber bumpers to absorb shock.

Household tools: Slide rubber tips onto the top of the handle of your mop, broom, and long-handled duster to save walls from the scuffs. They provide enough traction to keep tools leaning exactly where you left them, not on the floor.

High-traffic corners: Surface guards protect the protruding corners of your most heavily traveled intersections from scuffs and chipping. Nail or screw on wooden trim pieces. It's much simpler to touch them up with paint than to repair and repaint chipped plaster.

Questions may be sent to mslletters@marthastewart.com or Ask Martha, care of Letters Department, Martha Stewart Living, 11 W. 42nd St., New York, NY 10036. Sorry, no personal replies.

Copyright 2008, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia

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