When designing or renovating business space, your first thought should be what’s underfoot. How you cover your floors can be the difference between a successful work space or an expensive mistake.
Unfortunately, price is often the controlling consideration in choosing flooring material; a decision which bypasses all the opportunities that good flooring can contribute to your business.
The initial cost of a quality flooring option may be deceptive. Price is important—but choosing a cheaper, less durable flooring option at installation may be more costly in the long run. Replacing a failed or worn floor is expensive enough, but it also has hidden costs. Floor replacement disrupts workflow, having an enormous impact on productivity. Starting with the most effective flooring option will ultimately be kinder to your budget.
A well-chosen floor can be a great foundation to business success. Flooring can define specific work areas, control noise and even contribute to safety. Effective flooring can direct customer traffic; flooring color and texture contribute to worker productivity and successful customer experience. Floors can even be used as a branding opportunity.
Deciding what material to use on a floor begins with understanding what the space needs. What kind of traffic will the floor bear? Is contamination a consideration? Is sound control important to the use of the space? Is worker comfort a consideration? Does the space present unique challenges like the use of harsh chemicals or exposure to dirt? Consider maintenance procedures when considering floor coverings. Once you’ve satisfied the physical requirements, consider the look and feel of the space. Style is an important consideration in choosing a workplace floor. A hardwood floor in an office or waiting room gives a totally different feel when compared to a space covered in carpet or tile.
Start with a good foundation
No matter what material you select, creating a safe, sustainable floor begins with proper under layer. Suitable backing and underlayment to support your flooring will enhance durability and overall success of the floor cover. This is especially important in healthcare facilities where contamination from spills may leach into subflooring. Even with regular floor maintenance, a contaminated under layer may harbor bacteria contributing to higher rates of infection that influence patient outcomes.
Take care that the backing material is laid appropriately so there are no bumps, bubbles or ripples. A well laid backing will support flooring material, deadening sound and contributing to comfort. A poorly laid sub flooring material can actually hasten wear and destroy the floors’ surface resulting in costly repairs or replacement. Flooring that has become cracked or broken can harbor mold or mildew or shelter insects.
Generally, commercial carpets don’t require carpet padding—with some notable exceptions. Carpet padding should be added on stairs, in areas where people stand for long periods of time, and where noise reduction or temperature control are important.
Over the last decade, commercial and industrial flooring options have expanded beyond the simple choice of carpet, wood, concrete or tile. Epoxy, polymer coatings and rubber flooring, once reserved for industrial uses, have entered the retail business market. Eco friendly options are more available and more diverse than ever before. These flooring options come from sustainable resources and avoid the use of polluting chemicals. Cork, recycled wood and bamboo are only a few of the new green materials showing up on the floors of commercial facilities and retail spaces. No matter what material you choose great flooring can give you years of serviceable comfort and make the transition to your new or renovated business space much smoother. To read more about the best flooring for high traffic areas, click here.
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