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Office Flooring: Pros and Cons of 5 Floor Types

Posted on Jan 11, 2017, by Michael Eckert

Selecting new office flooring  can be difficult, with so many different types to choose from. Today, I’m sharing the pros and cons of five common office floors to help you determine which one best fits your budget, practical requirements and design intent.

Featured product: Whale Song – Narwhal - Modular

1) Natural Hard Surface Flooring

 Office flooring types - stone flooring.jpg

Pros

Natural hard flooring, such as stone, wood or ceramic, will give your office space the instant ‘wow factor.’ When new, natural hard surface flooring looks amazing and will create a stunning first impression.

Cons

Unfortunately, hard surface flooring requires a hefty budget. It also calls for special know-how to install, which will bump up the cost of installation.

Furthermore, it needs careful maintenance, and its appearance deteriorates over time: wood gets scuffed, scratched or indented by foot traffic—and especially from high heels—and stone and ceramic can crack or stain. The initial ‘wow factor’ can easily get lost after only a few years.

2) Vinyl Composite Tile (VCT)

 Office flooring types - VCT.jpg

Pros

VCT is one of the most affordable flooring options with its low purchase price. It’s also very durable: with proper care and maintenance, it can outlast many other flooring types by several years.

Cons

The aesthetics of VCT may not create the look you want for your office: thanks to years of use in hospital corridors and waiting rooms, it’s often associated with cold, sterile environments.

Additionally, VCT has extensive and very labor-intensive maintenance requirements: the surface is sealed by regular waxing and polishing, which significantly increases the total cost of ownership. This means that despite its low purchase price, it may not be the most affordable option over the lifetime of the flooring.

3) Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT)

Office flooring types - LVT.jpg

Product: Freelay – Heritage Wood - LVT

Pros

LVT offers a wide range of design options which mimic the look of natural stone or wood, but at a fraction of the price.

Additionally, it has simpler maintenance requirements than other types of hard surface flooring, making it easier and less expensive to maintain over its lifetime. It also has better thermal and acoustic properties than other types of hard flooring, which can create a better office environment with less temperature fluctuation and lower noise levels.

Cons

While LVT is the best type of hard surface flooring for underfoot comfort and acoustics, it doesn’t match the noise absorption of carpet. Lower noise levels can reduce stress and increase productivity, so depending on the specific workplace, you may prefer carpet over hard flooring.

Find out more about the pros and cons of Luxury Vinyl Tiles.

4) Broadloom Carpet

Office flooring types - Broadloom carpet.jpg

Product: Heritage – Circuit - Broadloom

Pros

When it comes to choosing carpet for your new office, broadloom, also known as wall-to-wall carpet, is the traditional option. Modular carpet tiles are a much more recent innovation.

Broadloom carpet offers much better acoustic profiles compared with hard surface flooring, and with noise being one of the biggest workplace complaints, installing carpet rather than hard flooring can make a noticeable difference to your employees.

Cons

Broadloom carpet is less durable than carpet tiles, because it doesn’t have the multi-layered structure and built-in backing that protects the carpet fibers from wear. If your broadloom carpet is stained, you can’t spot-replace like you can with carpet tiles, so it’s more difficult to maintain your broadloom carpet’s as-new appearance. Moreover, fitting broadloom to interior environments can create a surprising amount of offcut waste.

5) Carpet Tiles

Office flooring types - carpet tiles.jpg

Product: Whale Song – Narwhal - Modular

Pros

Like broadloom carpet, carpet tiles offer significant acoustic benefits for your office. However, the layered structure of modular carpet means they absorb more structure-borne sound than broadloom – as much as 25% more, which can amount to a noticeable improvement with productivity benefits for your employees.

Additionally, some carpet tiles have cushion backing, which helps absorb the impact of foot traffic and protects carpet fibers from the wear and tear that speeds up appearance degradation.

This cushion backing also offers health and wellness benefits: it can reduce muscle fatigue when standing by 24%, improving underfoot comfort - particularly important for any employees who spend a lot of time on their feet, or if you want to improve company-wide health and wellness by offering sit-to-stand working.

Cons

In the early days of carpet tiles, broadloom was still preferred, because carpet tiles looked like tiles: visible seams detracted from the overall aesthetics of the space. This is a significant concern for commercial designers and facility managers alike, and in some cases you may find that poor-quality carpet tiles do look less attractive than broadloom.

However, you can overcome this by engaging a flooring manufacturer that specializes in carpet tiles, and offers pattern matching technology to ensure that designs match perfectly from one tile to the next.

how to choose carpet tiles that last [free whitepaper]

Michael Eckert

Written by Michael Eckert