There's lots to consider when selecting classroom flooring, and with different flooring types excelling in different areas, it can be hard to work out which is the best option.
The popularity of luxury vinyl tile (LVT) is surging - but is it a smart option to use in classrooms?
3 Top Priorities for Classroom Flooring
Every flooring installation - whether it's in a commercial, education or residential environment - has similar basic requirements: you want flooring that's beautiful and durable enough to withstand the day-to-day wear and tear of the installation environment. However, for classroom flooring you have several additional priorities:
The best classroom flooring will minimize the risk of slips and falls - which are a leading cause of injury in schools. All types of hard flooring, including LVT, become slippery when wet - such as in wet weather, or after cleaning. This doesn't happen with carpet - which is also better at absorbing impact, meaning that in the case of a fall, injuries are less severe than falling onto hard surface flooring.
That being said, many schools prefer to have hard flooring in classrooms, thanks to its perception as being more able to stand-up to the rigors of demanding (and messy!) classroom environments. In this instance, LVT is the best option for improved safety: its multi-layered construction means it has better shock absorption than other types of hard flooring.
2) Easy to Clean
Classrooms experience high levels of foot traffic every day - with thirty students filing in and out, several times a day. As a result, they need to be easy to clean, in order to maintain a healthy and welcoming classroom environment.
Carpet is the least labor-intensive flooring type to keep clean, as vacuuming takes less time and effort than sweeping or mopping. However, if your school favors hard surface flooring in the classroom, LVT is the best option as it has much simpler maintenance requirements than other types of hard flooring.
Learn more about the maintenance requirements of common flooring types.
3) Beneficial to the Learning Environment
One of the biggest priorities for classroom flooring is that it helps to create a positive learning environment. Managing acoustics is key for creating a classroom environment that supports learning by enabling all students to hear the teacher, wherever they're seated in the room.
LVT offers the best in sound absorption of all hard flooring types - though it's a far cry from the levels of sound absorption you can achieve with carpet.
Is LVT a Good Flooring Choice for Classrooms?
For acoustics, underfoot comfort and health and safety, the best flooring option for classrooms is cushion-backed carpet. However, many schools are hesitant to install carpet throughout for several reasons: carpet is seen as being harder to keep clean, as spills can soak into the fibers; and it's perceived to be a worse option for allergy sufferers.
If your school is set on having hard flooring, then LVT is by far your best option. It offers the best acoustic and shock absorbing properties of all hard flooring types, meaning it creates a classroom environment that facilitates learning and comprehension, while also improving classroom safety. Additionally it's easy to clean, offering significant maintenance time and cost savings compared with vinyl composite tile (VCT) laminate, or real wood flooring.