When you choose new flooring for your organization, you’re choosing a product that employees, patients, students and visitors will use, day-in and day-out, for years to come. Your choice of flooring will have a huge impact on the design and feel of the environment, the comfort of its users, and even their health and wellness. Today, we’re looking at five important ways carpet tiles affect health and wellness.
1) Indoor Air Quality
Indoor air quality is a huge concern for schools, offices and hospitals alike – and carpet tiles have an important role to play in improving air quality.
Carpet is able to trap airborne irritants and allergens within its fibers, keeping them out of the breathing zone until they can be removed by vacuuming. Without fibers to capture breathable particulates, the breathing zone over hard surface products contains almost nine times as many breathable particulates as those found over a carpeted area. When it comes time to clean, it’s harder to remove these particulates: as mopping often serves to spread allergens around the floor, instead of extracting them.
Carpet tiles can also help to combat mold and mildew problems. It’s often possible to incorporate antimicrobials into the carpet’s backing, and when carpet tiles make use of open cell cushion backing, moisture can escape through the carpet’s seams - preventing mold and mildew developing as a result of trapped moisture.
2) Indoor Environmental Quality
In addition to improving indoor air quality, carpet tiles can go a long way towards improving the wider indoor environment.
Carpet tiles (especially those with cushion backing) have insulating properties, and can improve thermal comfort, making it more comfortable to sit, stand and work in a space. With a wealth of design options available, carpet tiles also make it easy to transform a space into a bright, welcoming and aesthetically pleasing environment. With 92% of teachers believing that classroom design has a strong impact on students’ learning and achievement, a small investment in attractive, comfortable carpeting can go a long way towards improving all aspects of school performance.
3) Physical Comfort
Whether working in a sit-to-stand office environment, pacing hospital corridors or standing in a classroom all day, underfoot comfort is a growing concern for employees and organizations alike.
Thankfully, depending on the characteristics of the carpet, independent laboratory testing has shown that carpet tiles can reduce heel impact loads by as much as 30%. Choosing a type of backing known as open cell cushioning can decrease muscle strain by as much as 24%, using the same type of cushioning found in athletic shoes to reduce the distracting and uncomfortable impact of fatigue and muscle ache.
4) Productivity and Focus
In open office environments, high levels of noise can contribute to increased stress levels and decreased productivity among employees. In schools, young children are especially susceptible to the distraction and loss of focus caused by ambient noise; and in hospital environments, noise levels are cited as the primary reason for low patient satisfaction.
With noise so detrimental to all areas of performance, it’s essential to take action to reduce noise levels. Thankfully, carpet tiles can help reduce both airborne and structure borne sound, minimizing the disruptive impact of HVAC systems, conversation and outside noise. Cushion backing offers up to 50% greater noise absorption than hard surface products, and by choosing a carpet tile with an open cell backing, you could significantly improve the acoustics of your space.
5) Slips and Falls
Slips and falls are a leading cause of injury in many schools and senior living communities. In the US alone, non-sports related injuries cost the school system an estimated $74 billion each year. With up to 40% of those injuries caused by falls, your choice of flooring plays a huge role in improving safety, reducing litigation and minimizing injuries.
When compared to common forms of hard-surface flooring, carpet tiles can help reduce both the incidence of slips and falls, and the likelihood of resulting injury. Carpet tiles offer much greater traction than products like Vinyl Composite Tile (VCT), especially after cleaning, or when exposed to moisture from rain or snow. In the event of a fall, only 17% of falls on carpet result in injury – a stark contrast compare to 46% of falls on hard surfaces resulting in injury.