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How to Choose The Best LVT for New Offices

Posted on Jun 27, 2017, by Alan Fennell

Luxury vinyl tile (LVT) is an increasingly popular flooring for commercial installations. But with concerns over rising noise levels impacting employee productivity, there's growing uncertainty over the use of particular hard flooring in office environments.

Today we're exploring whether LVT is an ideal fit for an office as well as three crucial factors to consider to ensure you select the best LVT for your specific space.

Featured image: 191 N. Wacker, Chicago, Illinois, USA. Design firm: Eastlake Studio

Is LVT Suitable for an Office Interior?

One of the most common office complaints - especially in open-concept floor plans - concerns elevated noise levels. As such, hard flooring, such as ceramic or porcelain, has started to fall out of favor in wellness-conscious workplaces. Despite this, real wood flooring remains popular thanks to its high-end aesthetic and associations with biophilic design, but its price point is often prohibitive for many organizations.

Fortunately, there's an alternative that satisfies both the aesthetic and acoustic requirements in today's work environment.

Luxury vinyl tile mimics the look of natural wood (or stone, and is even available in abstract pattern designs), at a much lower cost. Additionally, its multi-layered construction allows LVT to provide a very different acoustic profile than other types of hard flooring: it is much better at absorbing sound, creating a quieter work environment compared to real wood or another hard flooring.

3 Considerations When Selecting LVT for Offices

When selecting LVT for an office interior, it's important to specify a product that meets all of your practical and aesthetic requirements. There are three crucial considerations to ensure you select the ideal LVT for your space:

1) Selecting the Right Type of LVT

One of the most common mistakes made when selecting LVT is choosing flooring that's not suited for the installation conditions. The levels of foot traffic in an office should determine the type of LVT that is best engineered for the environment.

The wear layer is a clear coating that covers the printed layer, protecting it from damage. LVT is available with different thicknesses of wear layer, and the thickness of the wear layer is the primary factor in determining how durable the flooring is, and in turn, how busy an environment it is suited for:

  • 8 mil - for residential use only.
  • 12 mil - for residential and light commercial use.
  • 20 mil - for commercial areas with low-to-medium levels of foot traffic.
  • 28 mil - for commercial areas with high levels of foot traffic and rolled traffic (like trolleys or delivery carts).

The number of people using an office, and how much (if any) wheeled traffic occurs in the building, determines how thick the wear layer needs to be on LVT for a specific space, to ensure it lasts to its full potential.

2) Creating the Desired Look

In addition to selecting LVT that performs well and is durable enough to stand up to sustained levels of foot traffic for years to come, it goes without saying that you want to select flooring that looks the part.

LVT is available in a range of aesthetics, including wood, stone, and abstract pattern and textures, so you can achieve the look you envision. Flooring has a significant impact on the aesthetics of an office: it is seen across the entire space, and therefore, has a significant visual impact.

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Franklin Park in Fairmount and Logan, alternating bands in herringbone plank

3) Is LVT the Best Option Throughout the Space?

While LVT offers an acoustic profile suitable for office environments, there are other health, wellness and productivity angles to consider.

One rapidly growing workplace trend is sit-to-stand working. If your company has a number of standing workers or wants to introduce sit-to-stand working, it would be beneficial to consider using carpet in conjunction with LVT, specifically in areas for standing work. This will provide greater underfoot comfort and support for those who stand throughout their day.

Additionally, carpet is a safer flooring: you are less likely to slip and fall on a carpeted floor than on hard flooring, and falls are likely to be less severe. It's wise to use carpet in areas where the likelihood of slips and falls is increased, such as on stairs and entryways, especially if you don't have a tiered entry system.

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Alan Fennell

Written by Alan Fennell