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How to Select the Right Type of Floor Covering for Your Commercial Space

Posted on Mar 15, 2017, by Mike Brown

When it comes to selecting flooring for your commercial space, there are various options to choose from, and they all have their respective merits and drawbacks. It can be difficult to determine which type of flooring best suits your organization's specific needs. To make the right decision, you need to look beyond the aesthetics of each flooring type and consider the day-to-day practicalities first.

Featured image: Zendesk, San Francisco, California, USA. Design firm: Design Blitz.

5 Common Commercial Flooring Types

Some of the most popular types of commercial flooring include:

  • Natural Hard Flooring - Real wood or stone flooring is selected for its high-end look and feel: it gives commercial spaces a 'wow' factor but is very expensive to purchase, install, and maintain over time.
  • Laminate Flooring - This mimics the look of real wood flooring but for a fraction of a cost. However, it is prone to warp if exposed to moisture - either through cleaning or from the subfloor.
  • Luxury Vinyl Tile - This offers the design aesthetic of natural wood or stone at a much more desirable price. It is easy to clean and maintain and is extremely durable. It also offers better thermal and acoustic properties than other types of hard flooring.
  • Broadloom Carpet - Also known as wall-to-wall carpet, this is the traditional option for a carpeted floor, particularly in residential spaces. It's usually harder to maintain than modular carpet tiles, partly because you can't easily spot-replaced stained or damaged sections.
  • Modular Carpet - Carpet tiles can be extremely durable, depending on the type of tile backing. Some types of carpet tile can be very easy to spot-replace if they are damaged over time: you can remove the damaged tile and replace it with one from your attic stock. However, poor-quality carpet tiles will have visible seams between tiles, which can detract from the aesthetics of your commercial space.

In addition to these five, there are a variety of other flooring types, but they are less commonly utilized in a commercial environment - such as Vinyl Composite Tile, which is more commonly used in healthcare settings.

Free Tip Sheet: 6 Ways to Guarantee Commercial Flooring Project Success

How to Select the Best Flooring for Your Commercial Space

With so many different types of flooring to choose from, the right option for your commercial space will depend on your priorities for the space, how it will be used, and your budget for ongoing cleaning and maintenance. To help you make the best decision, we've identified three crucial - but often overlooked - things to consider when purchasing commercial flooring.

1) Is the Space Open or Closed?

Are you selecting flooring for a large open-plan space, or is your facility divided up into many individual rooms, offices or cubicles?

The way your space is divided will have a significant impact on ambient noise levels, which affects everything from employee health and wellness to their productivity levels. In an open office environment, you should opt for carpet rather than hard flooring: sound travels further on hard surfaces, and a soft construction will help to reduce reverberation, lowering ambient noise levels.

The best option in an open-concept layout will be to select carpet tiles with open cell cushion backing: these are the best at absorbing sound because of the structure of the tile backing.

2) How is the Space Used?

Will everyone using the space be sitting the majority of the time, or will employees spend an extended period of their day standing?

Cushion-backed modular carpet provides the ultimate in underfoot support and comfort: it can reduce muscle strain and fatigue by 24% over the course of a day. Moreover, if employees will be moving around a lot throughout the space, this will increase ambient noise levels. On hard flooring, the noise caused by foot traffic will be amplified - potentially disrupting the rest of your team.

3) What is the Budget for Maintenance?

Your budget for cleaning and maintenance has a surprising impact on what is the best type of flooring for your organization - but it's often overlooked entirely during the purchase process.

For example, wood flooring requires careful maintenance to keep it looking its best - and the cost of specialized cleaning materials quickly adds up. If you're aiming for the look of wood, you could drastically reduce your maintenance bill by installing luxury vinyl tile instead, which is easy and significantly less expensive to maintain.

When you're selecting new commercial flooring, it's important to consider the total cost of ownership - not only the purchase price. Doing so will protect your maintenance budget for years to come.

the buyers guide to LVT [free eguide]


Mike Brown

Written by Mike Brown