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Back to Basics: What Flooring Types Are Best for Your Facility?

Jul 28, 2023 | Public | 0 comments

Back to Basics is an article series that highlights important, but possibly overlooked, information facilities management professionals should know.

Whether facilities managers are constructing a new building, taking on a major renovation, or simply redoing a small office, deciding what flooring to purchase is important. Considerations should include how the right flooring can affect occupants’ health, cleaning and maintenance, functionality based on the number and types of users, budget, and sustainability goals.

Furthermore, there are pros and cons to every type of flooring, such as its ease of installation or removal, whether it’s designed for low or heavy traffic volumes, and how comfortable it is to stand and walk on.

7 Types of Flooring to Consider

Some of the most popular types of flooring facilities managers should consider include:

1. Carpeting

Carpeting is a synthetic textile usually with an upper layer of pile attached to a backing. The most common types of carpeting are nylon, polyester, polypropylene, wool, and acrylic.

Carpeting is easy to install and a great option to absorb sound, and it provides comfort for people who frequently stand, such as those working in retail.

However, there are some drawbacks, including that it wears out quicker, it’s susceptible to water damage, and it can be difficult to clean. While some claim that more dust and allergens can accumulate in carpeted environments, this can be resolved through frequent vacuuming.

Some types of facilities that use carpeting include educational facilities, medical centers, offices, retail facilities, and hotels.

2. Vinyl

Vinyl flooring is a synthetic material with several layers of other materials, such as cork or foam, possibly a waterproof vinyl layer (if you are using waterproof vinyl), a design (image of your choice) layer, and a wear layer.

The main types of vinyl flooring include luxury vinyl tile (LVT), luxury vinyl plank (LVP), and sheet vinyl. High-quality vinyl will also have UV protection to protect it from the sun.

Most vinyl flooring is water-resistant, and it’s easy to install, comfortable, and affordable. However, vinyl can’t be refinished and isn’t environmentally friendly, as it’s known to emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Additionally, it’s hard to remove.

Some types of facilities that use vinyl include restaurants, government offices, churches, educational facilities, and medical centers.

3. Concrete

Concrete flooring is usually a flat slab of poured or precast concrete.

The benefits of concrete include that it’s affordable, it’s long-lasting, it has different design options, it’s able to add radiant floor heat, it’s low maintenance, and it’s environmentally friendly. Additionally, it’s resistant to fire, stains, water, bacteria, and odors.

The hardness of concrete flooring is a disadvantage, however. This can be an issue if something is breakable or if someone falls onto the floor. Basement concrete can also cause moisture, but this can be mitigated through proper sealing. Concrete can also crack over time because of changes caused by temperature, moisture, and settling.

Types of facilities that use concrete include warehouses, industrial facilities, food processing facilities, veterinary clinics, and stadiums.

4. Rubber

Rubber flooring is made from recycled materials like tires, sports equipment, and shoes or from the Hevea brasiliensis tree.

Rubber has its advantages, including that it’s able to hold up to high-traffic areas, it’s comfortable and quiet to walk on, it’s sustainable, and it has built-in waxes that help dirt get released from the floor. It’s also easy to install in smaller areas.

However, the initial cost is one of the biggest disadvantages, even though it costs less over time due to lower maintenance. Additionally, there are limited patterns of rubber to choose from. As for installation, it requires prior dry fitting, is very time-consuming for larger spaces, and may not appear seamless.

Types of facilities that use rubber flooring include gymnasiums, fitness centers, and healthcare facilities.

5. Laminate

Laminate flooring is made of four layers that include wear (top), design (decorative), core (high-density board), and the back layer (protection against moisture and balances the floor).

Laminate flooring has an abrasion criteria (AC) range from 1 to 5: 1 and 2 are for residential use, 3 is for light commercial environments, 4 is for moderate commercial use, and 5 is for high commercial areas like shopping centers.

Several advantages of laminate flooring are that it’s durable in high-traffic areas, affordable compared with other options, and eco-friendly, as it can be made of recycled materials.

As for disadvantages, laminate flooring can be damaged by moisture, especially if untreated. It also can’t be refinished and must be replaced if damaged.

Facilities that are likely to have laminated flooring include office buildings, cafes, salons, and retail.

6. Epoxy

Epoxy flooring is a synthetic resin floor system on top of concrete. This system consists of polymer resins and hardeners.

The strength of epoxy flooring is a huge advantage, but other advantages include its ability to handle extreme temperatures, chemicals, oils, and other fluids without corroding. The flooring is also resistant to stains and water and has a shiny and smooth appearance.

The disadvantages of epoxy flooring include how slippery it can be when it’s wet, requiring more time to dry than other types of flooring; the need for special cleaners; and the need for underflooring, such as cement or concrete, before installation.

Facilities likely to have epoxy flooring include electronic manufacturing, food and beverage production, pharmaceuticals and biologicals, and anywhere that uses heavy machinery and large equipment.

7. Quarry

Made of hard ceramic tile, quarry flooring is made from ground minerals that are harder than clay bricks. While the name suggests it’s formed by a quarry, it actually consists of feldspar, clay, and shales that are baked at hot temperatures.

The advantages of quarry include that it can be cleaned easily, it’s slip-resistant, and it’s durable. It also holds up in very harsh environments.

However, quarry is available only in limited sizes and requires a seal so it can handle lots of foot traffic. Quarry flooring can also break, and grout lines can trap materials like food, debris, and germs even when the floor is mopped.

Quarry flooring can often be found at craft breweries, commercial kitchens, customer service areas, and pool surrounds and patios.

Other Considerations

When facilities managers work with management to decide what flooring to install in renovations or a new building, they should take note of their experience with the previous flooring by asking the following questions:

  • Did the flooring hold up?
  • Was it easy to remove stains?
  • What were facility users’ opinions of the floor?
  • Are there more or fewer users than before?

Additionally, it’s important to consider the cost before deciding on a floor. Spending more might mean less maintenance, but for those with limited budgets, cheaper flooring options are best.

Which type of flooring is best for your facility depends on a variety of factors, but consider choosing one of the most popular flooring options, such as carpeting, vinyl, concrete, rubber, laminate, epoxy, or quarry.

The post Back to Basics: What Flooring Types Are Best for Your Facility? appeared first on Facilities Management Advisor.

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