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How to Save Money on Your Airport Flooring

Posted on Aug 12, 2016, by Michael Eckert

Every day thousands of travelers pass through your airport, wheeling luggage and pushing carts. With such extreme levels of foot traffic moving all through the building, you need to be certain your flooring can withstand the demanding environment. But when it’s time for a refit, replacing the flooring all through your airport is a huge – and expensive – job.

Today I’m looking at the biggest expenses in your flooring renovation project, and how you can save money on your airport flooring.

Featured image: Lincoln Airport, Lincoln, Nebraska, USA

6 Biggest Costs of Replacing Airport Flooring

1) Purchase

Up-front, the biggest cost for your flooring project will be the purchase of new carpet. You’ve got a huge floorplan to cover and a demanding set of requirements, which means your new flooring won’t come cheap.

2) Removal of Existing Flooring

An often-overlooked cost to factor in to your budget is the removal of your existing flooring. Who’s going to remove it and how much will it cost for it to be taken off-site afterwards?

Some flooring manufacturers offer a takeback program, where old flooring is removed and repurposed – for example donated to charities or education facilities.

3) Floor Preparation

Preparing the sub-floor by removing traces of old adhesives, and priming and sealing the sub-floor, is often thought of as an essential part of the flooring installation process.

4) Installation

Labor and materials make up the bulk of your installation costs. Any savings in time or materials will add up to substantial savings across the whole of your project.

5) Maintenance

Maintenance costs will hit your budgets year after year, so when looking for new flooring you should bear maintenance requirements in mind so that you don’t end up with a huge bill every year.

6) Replacement

The lifetime of your carpet is another cost factor to consider. Would you be better off buying a cheaper carpet that will last 5 years, or a more expensive one that will last 10 years?

How to Reduce the Costs of Replacing Airport Flooring

Lower Your Installation Costs

Priming and sealing the sub-floor can cost $2-3 per square yard. This is done to protect against floor compatibility problems, particularly plasticizer migration migration: where PVC found in some carpet tiles reacts with adhesive left-over from previous installations, causing flooring tiles to loosen and slide over time.

However, some types of cushion backing (like open cell cushion backing) don’t contain any PVC and are non-reactive, so won’t react with residual traces of adhesives. This means you don’t need to worry about priming and sealing the subfloor. And while $3 per square yard doesn’t seem like much, this will add up to savings of thousands of dollars across your whole floorplan.

Consider Total Cost of Ownership

Calculating the total cost of ownership over the projected lifetime of your flooring will help you compare the costs for different options. The biggest way to bump up the cost of your flooring is to choose carpet that wears out quickly, needing to be replaced more regularly when compared with a more durable option. Three factors that affect carpet durability are:

1) Wear Rating

The wear rating of your carpet will give an indication of its expected durability. The Texture Appearance Retention Rating (or TARR) is an independent, third-party wear assessment, designed to give buyers an indication of how well a specific carpet tile will perform in a specific end-use situation under expected levels of foot traffic. For airports you will need flooring that achieves (or exceeds) a Severe TARR rating.

2) Cushion Backing

Carpet tile backing is the most important factor that affects the durability of your flooring. In hardback tiles, the carpet fibers directly absorb the impact of foot traffic. In carpet tiles with closed-cell cushion backing this is reduced in the short term, but over time the cushioning breaks down and can no longer absorb foot pressure.

The best option to protect your carpet tiles from high levels of foot traffic is open cell cushion backing, which ‘re-inflates’ after compression, protecting the carpet fibers more effectively and for longer.

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Michael Eckert

Written by Michael Eckert