With an estimated 30 million passengers traveling through U.S. airports each year, carpet in airports is subject to rigors unseen in any other environment. With acres of floor to cover, carpet also has a profound impact on the look and feel of the entire airport for years to come.
To select tough, long-lasting floor covering, capable of inspiring travelers and easing them on their way, it's important to drill-down into durability and design, and identify the factors that are most important when it comes to airport carpet.
1) Physical Resilience
An airport is a demanding place for carpet: it's subjected to endless foot and rolling traffic. To maintain an as-new appearance, it's important to specify carpet that will take rigorous use in its stride and perform well under exceptional circumstances.
Wear rating classification systems, such as TARR, provide an objective measure of a carpet's resilience to crushing, matting and general degradation caused by frequent use. In practice, this means that any carpet used in an airport environment needs to be classified for "Severe" use.
2) Resistance to Soiling and Staining
When we talk about "durability," we're referring to appearance retention: keeping the flooring looking as new for as long as possible. In the hustle and bustle of the airport, stains and spills are commonplace, so it's important that flooring won't discolor at the first hint of a spilled latte.
Built-in stain protection is a great help here, but so is the floor's color: highly patterned, darker-colored carpet will react much better to spills and splashes than a simpler, lighter carpet.
3) Ease of Replacement
When a crushed case of duty-free red wine ends up seeping into the airport's carpet, it's immensely helpful if the maintenance team can quickly spot-replace the affected areas - without requiring an entire refit of the carpet.
It's for this reason that modular carpet is so popular in demanding environments, combining best-in-class durability with the ability to switch out damaged areas with attic stock easily.
Re-carpeting an airport is a significant investment, and one that needs to pay-off for years into the future. With that in mind, there's a degree of risk mitigation to consider. Water-tight warranty packages are key for manufacturers to support their durability and longevity claims.
Before you finalize a purchase, make sure to talk through the carpet manufacturer’s warranties, and be aware of loopholes that could arise in the event of a claim.
5) Design Freedom
An airport's carpet is the last thing travelers see before embarking on their adventures, and the first sight to greet them on their return. In addition to selecting high-performing carpet, you have a great opportunity to create a memorable, inspiring, and unique design addition to your airport.
As we recently saw with Portland Airport, floor covering is one of the biggest factors in determining your airport's identity. Choosing to install a customized, branded design is a powerful way to demonstrate your airport's ethos. Digital dye technology now makes it possible to combine Severe wear-ratings with near-limitless design freedom - inviting you to transform your carpet into something found nowhere else in the world.