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How to Select the Best Commercial Vinyl Flooring Tiles

Posted on Apr 5, 2017, by Alan Fennell

Selecting vinyl flooring tiles for design projects can be a complicated process. With so many designs and options to choose between, how do you identify which is the best fit for your client from a practical, as well as an aesthetic, standpoint?

Keep these four key practical considerations top of mind to specify the best vinyl flooring tiles for upcoming projects.

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1) Durability

You should be confident that the vinyl flooring you select for clients will continue to look as good as it does after it is first installed for years to come. In a commercial environment, floors will be subjected to high levels of foot traffic, so selecting flooring that can withstand high levels of use is critical.

What to Look For

Both Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT) and Vinyl Composite Tile (VCT) have the potential to be very long-lasting flooring choices in a commercial environment - with proper maintenance. LVT is more innately durable, as it's less susceptible to scuffs and scratches due to the clear wear layer that protects the printed surface of the tile against wear and tear.

The primary factor that determines how long LVT lasts is the thickness of the wear layer. Flooring manufacturers offer LVT with wear layers in a range of thicknesses, from 8 mil, which is unsuitable for commercial use, up to 28 mil, which suited to high-traffic commercial areas with significant foot traffic.

2) Easy and Cost-Effective Maintenance

The two most common types of commercial vinyl flooring have very different maintenance requirements. As a general rule, the more complex the maintenance requirements, the bigger your client's maintenance budget will need to be.

What to Look For

LVT and VCT both require regular sweeping and mopping to keep the surfaces clean and dust free. Also, VCT requires regular waxing and polishing, to apply a wax coating that protects the surface of the tile against daily wear and tear. Therefore, it's to be expected that VCT will require more maintenance and a bigger maintenance budget.

3) Aesthetics

Of course, how the visual aesthetic of flooring influences an environment's overall design and ambiance is also vital.

What to Look For

Consider where the vinyl flooring will be installed: After decades of use in hospital environments - which is a testament to its durability - VCT has become associated with cold, sterile environments, which may not be the right look for your clients.

Fortunately, vinyl tiles are available in a wide range of designs - from abstract patterns to those that mimic the look of natural stone or wood - so you're bound to find an option that creates your desired aesthetic.

LVT also provides a greater range of textures than VCT. Designs on VCT are very flat, whereas on LVT, it's possible to create relief texture on the surface of the tile, bringing the aesthetics closer to mirroring natural stone or wood.

4) Total Cost of Ownership

It's easy to base decisions on the purchase price, but it's important to consider the total cost of ownership for the lifetime of the tiles. Often, tiles with the lowest purchase price will require the most labor-intensive (and therefore expensive) cleaning and maintenance, resulting in more expenses over their lifetime.

What to Look For

Something as simple as the type of vinyl flooring can give a clear indication of the total cost of ownership. VCT requires extensive, intensive maintenance, including regular sealing, waxing and polishing to protect the tile surface against everyday wear and tear. In contrast, LVT requires little more than regular sweeping and mopping, as it's protected against daily use by a clear wear layer. As a result, LVT is often less expensive than VCT over the lifetime of the flooring, despite its higher purchase price.

 

the buyers guide to LVT [free eguide]

Alan Fennell

Written by Alan Fennell