With commercial flooring the first thing that you want to do is consider the specific application that it will be used for. Flooring for a high traffic hallway has different requirements then flooring used in a showroom for a retail outlet. You have to match the materials to the environment, traffic, and use.
Installation: Any flooring that you choose is going to have an initial cost associated with purchasing and installing the material. However you want to look at both that and long term costs associated with your choice. In some cases selecting the more expensive flooring option may pay off by requiring less maintenance or repair.
Maintenance: It is important to consider the costs associated with maintaining any commercial flooring. Carpeting can simply be vacuumed on a regular basis. Materials like natural stone and vinyl may require more labor intensive cleaning and buffing in order to maintain their appearance. In areas where fast and easy cleanup is important hard surfaces are vital. In wet environments you need impenetrable surfaces in order to avoid cracking and the growth of mold maybe a vinyl or a safety flooring.
Durability: Even with regular maintenance many commercial flooring applications will wear out and need to be replaced every few years. The longer the life of the material, the less this will be a cost issue.
Ease of Replacement: The durability of a material can be balanced against how easy it is to remove and replace. While granite is extremely durable it is also quite hard to remove. On the other hand carpet wears out every few years in high traffic applications, yet it is relatively inexpensive to replace.
Safety: The traction of a flooring material is especially important in high traffic areas. Polished marble floors are attractive and elegant, but when buffed they will present a danger for slippage in hallways and high traffic areas. If it is a moist environment you may want a material with extra traction such as Safety flooring.
Comfort: Depending on how the environment is used, you may want to use the flooring to create a certain ambiance. Carpet is popular in spaces where you want people to feel warm, and at ease, such as in hospitals or schools. Carpet can also dampen noise in applications where people will be trying to concentrate or rest. In places where you want to impress, such as retail show rooms, you may see marble, slate, or mosaic porcelain tiles used in flooring.
Researching Materials: When choosing flooring for a commercial application you have to look closely at how the space is being used. Higher traffic areas such as lobbies and hallways will always put more wear and tear on the materials then rooms and chambers. Once you have determined the most important characteristics needed for the flooring in the environment then you should choose a few different products. These should be shown to both your design team and the cleaning staff in order to determine which will be most suitable for the space. Depending on the size of the facility and the specifications of the job, you may be able to get the vendor to agree to install flooring in a single room, in order to test it out. This will allow you to use the room thoroughly, putting the material through its paces in order to evaluate its suitability before making a full purchase.
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