Stone and ceramic tile flooring create a striking aesthetic, and so it can be a popular choice for high-end office lobbies or reception areas, as well as in spaces you conventionally expect to be tiled, such as bathrooms and kitchens. But in modern commercial environments, are hard stone or ceramic tiles the best - and safest - option?
Today we're looking at three reasons to reconsider using tile flooring in your next design project.
1) They're Not as Tough as You Expect
Stone or ceramic tiles aren't as durable as you'd think, and they tend to have poor impact resistance. Something as simple as dropping a heavy object, whether that's a coffee cup or the corner of a chair, can cause tiles to crack, chip or shatter.
With careful use, cleaning and maintenance, stone and ceramic tile flooring can last for years. However, in a busy commercial environment, it can be difficult to maintain the conditions required to ensure the longevity of tiles.
2) They Pose a Health and Safety Risk
Slips and falls are one of the leading causes of injury in the workplace. The 2016 Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index calculated that slips and falls cost employers in the US over $15 billion - accounting for one-quarter of the most serious workplace injuries.
Highly polished tiles are the preferred aesthetic for commercial installation, but this results in the tiles becoming slippery and increases the risk of falls. Stone and ceramic tiles also become slippery when wet - particularly in inclement weather - which further increases the risk.
In addition to its safety implications, hard tile flooring also impacts health and wellness in other ways. Stone and ceramic are poor insulators, creating less than ideal thermal comfort and offering nothing in the way of underfoot support. In an active commercial environment, that can quickly result in cold, sore feet.
3) You Can Achieve the Same Look Another Way
Stone or ceramic tiles aren't a terribly practical flooring choice for commercial environments; in many cases, the appeal of tile flooring is almost entirely aesthetic.
However, it's possible to achieve the same design aesthetic a different way - without compromising on the practicalities. If the durability and health and safety risks - not to mention the cost - are off-putting, a better option may be to consider Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT) flooring instead.
LVT mimics the look of natural hard flooring, offering the same beautiful design aesthetic but without the complex maintenance requirements. Additionally, the tile's surface is protected by a clear wear layer, making LVT hard-wearing, durable and less susceptible to damage by impact or foot traffic.
Remember these key points:
- LVT will not crack if heavy items fall on it, thanks to its natural impact resistance.
- Vinyl tiles are much lighter than stone, ceramic and porcelain, making them easier, more practical, and cheaper to use and install.
- LVT is quieter underfoot and much warmer than stone, ceramic or porcelain.
- LVT also requires little maintenance to keep it looking good for years after install.
- Even if an LVT product becomes damaged, it can be easily and cost-efficiently repaired or replaced.