How to Protect Your Home’s Floors When Moving

Dawn M. Smith
Written by Dawn M. Smith
Updated March 18, 2022
A couple with their baby opening moving boxes on the floor
Photo: Morsa Images / E+ / Getty Images

If you protect your floors during a move, you’ll enjoy their good looks for years to come 

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The stars have aligned, and you’ve found the perfect house with an amazing combination of hardwood floors and luxury carpeting. To protect your flooring from accidental damage during the moving process, you’ll need to take some extra precautions. Don’t worry; if you need ideas for safeguarding your old home’s floors, these tips work for those, too. 

Difficulty: Simple (2/5) 

Flex your DIY muscles.

Total Project Time: 2 to 4 hours, depending on the amount of floor space you need to cover. 

Cost: $100-$300

The overall costs depend on whether you purchase affordable products or invest in high-quality reusable products. The linear square footage required for adequate coverage also affects the costs. 

What You’ll Need: 


  • Red rosin paper (for hardwood, carpet, vinyl, and linoleum)

  • Cardboard (for hardwood, carpet, vinyl, and linoleum)

  • Painters tape (for hardwood, carpet, vinyl, and linoleum)

  • Floor protection film (for hardwood, carpet, vinyl, and linoleum)

  • Plywood (for tile, vinyl, and linoleum)

  • Ram Board or X-board (for tile, vinyl, and linoleum)


  • Scissors

  • Box cutter

1. Make a Temporary Floor Protection Plan  

If your instinct is to protect your floors during move-in and move-out, your senses are strong because temporary floor protection could save your security deposit and avoid flooring repair and clean-up bills. But, before you buy floor protection, you should determine your plan of attack for moving day.

Make a furniture plan by mapping your furniture placement before move-in day so you can avoid damage from multiple moves across the floor. Keep in mind that many professional moving companies offer various floor protection options, from shoe booties and rubber-wheeled dollies to rolls of plastic floor covering. Of course, you can always buy more products if you feel like your floors need more attention.  

2. Measure and Clean the Floors

Prepare the moving area as thoroughly as possible by measuring the areas that need floor protection. If you decide to buy floor protection, you’ll want enough to do the job right. 

Then, take advantage of the clear space and deep-clean your floors. Any debris that's trapped under the floor protection could smash into the carpet or scratch hardwood, tile, or vinyl flooring. 

3. Buy the Right Floor Protection 

While some protection is better than none, it’s essential to invest in the product that works best for your type of floors. You can buy most products online or in home improvement stores. Keep in mind the right solution could be a custom combination of products, especially for high-traffic areas. 

  • Hardwood: The best protection for this type of flooring is red rosin paper, cardboard, and floor protection film.

  • Carpet: Similar to hardwood flooring, protect carpet with red rosin paper, cardboard, and plastic adhesive film designed for carpeting.

  • Tile: Try using ram board or an X-board or plywood sheets to protect your tile flooring.

  • Vinyl and linoleum: There are several options for covering vinyl and linoleum floors, including red rosin paper and cardboard, adhesive film, ram Board or X-board, or plywood sheets.

Keep in mind that you should also consider adding furniture protection to further protect your flooring. Invest in furniture sliders that slide under furniture legs to make secondary furniture move damage-free, as well as doormats for every entrance. 

4. Cover Flooring with Appropriate Materials

The final step is to apply your protection materials to your flooring. Follow these guidelines for best application.

Hardwood Floors 

If one of the reasons you bought your new house was because of the gorgeous wide plank hardwood floors, you should treat them right. The good news is you have several options. 

  • Red rosin paper and cardboard: This thick paper protects from light knicks and scratches, and it's sold in rolls. You can secure it with painter's tape and a layer of cardboard in high-traffic areas. 

  • Floor protection film: This tough rolled polyethylene film has an adhesive that secures the plastic to the floor. It stays secure and is resistant to tears and rips. When the move is over, it easily releases without damage for up to 45 days.

Carpeted Floors 

As cozy as they are, carpeted floors are magnets for dirt and stains, like mud from a wintery snow mix or colored sports drinks during a sweaty summer move. Your protection choices are the same as hardwood floors, but look for the plastic adhesive film designed for carpeting. It works for long and short fiber carpets.  

You can use the adhesive carpet film for carpeted stairs, but for the rest of the surfaces, rely on the red rosin paper and painter's tape due to their flexibility. 

Tile Floors

A woman lifting boxes from her new house’s corridor
Photo: zoranm / E+ / Getty Images

Fixing broken and cracked tiles is time-consuming, so make the extra effort to protect your floor. Use one or a combination of these methods to keep your mosaic pattern intact. 

  • Ram board or X-board. Rolls of high-end, strong, reusable floor protection. The cardboard offers the thickest protection.

  • Plywood sheets. Consider using plywood sheets for maximum floor protection if you have delicate tiles. Plywood absorbs damage from accidental drops and gouges. You’re basically benefiting from a second floor. Layering red rosin paper between your floor and the plywood prevents accidental surface scratches. 

Vinyl and Linoleum Floors 

Linoleum and vinyl flooring are the multi-purpose workhorses of many houses, so they’re designed to resist a lot of mishaps. However, fixing scuffs and tears is challenging. So, take your pick of temporary flooring options; they’ll all work: red rosin paper and cardboard, adhesive film, Ram Board or X-Board, and for high traffic areas like the kitchen, think about using a few plywood sheets for appliance installation.

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