Choosing a floor for a business or commercial enterprise isn’t the same as choosing a floor for a residence. When you’re weighing the benefits and drawbacks of carpet versus laminate flooring for a home or apartment, your primary concern is most likely looks, followed by care and maintenance requirements.
While looks do matter in some commercial settings, durability is also critical. Your business needs a floor that can survive in high-traffic areas and that cleans up quickly and easily. The type of commercial-grade flooring that’s right for your company also depends in large part on the type of industry you’re in. Businesses in the food and beverage or healthcare industry typically need to following hygienic and sanitation requirements that aren’t necessary in the automotive or manufacturing industries. Whether you’re upgrading an existing floor in a building or are moving into a new location and need to choose a floor, here’s what to keep in mind when evaluating your commercial flooring options.
What to Consider When Choosing Commercial Flooring
From carpet or tile to resinous flooring or concrete, you have several options when it comes to the type of floor you install at your business. The flooring that will serve you best depends largely on your business use, the number of people who pass through it each day and certain regulatory or legal requirements. Knowing the basics about your business allows you to pick the flooring that will last and be easy to maintain.
What your business does and how you use the building you occupy both play a significant role in determining the type of floor that will work best for you. For example, if you operate a veterinary clinic, your floor will likely see a lot of wear-and-tear from pets scurrying across it and potential pet accidents. The floor will need to be easy to clean and relatively low-maintenance. Since you’ll want to make a good impression on your clients, it’s also important that the floor you choose for your veterinary practice be aesthetically pleasing.
In contrast, the floor at a shopping mall isn’t likely to have the same level of demands placed on it as a floor at a vet’s office. The floor should stand up to foot traffic but won’t need to follow the same hygiene or sanitation requirements as a floor at a vet or medical office. The flooring in a mall should provide ambiance. When shoppers step foot into the mall, they should feel relaxed and at ease, and more importantly, ready to spend money. Installing an attractive floor will help to create the atmosphere you want.
Foot Traffic and Rolling Loads
Another thing to consider when choosing a floor for your company is how much weight or pressure will be put on the floor each day. Some flooring types aren’t designed to withstand a lot of weight, while others are perfectly suited to industrial settings and heavy machinery. For example, the flooring in an auto repair shop should be durable enough to take the weight of multiple vehicles, as well as strong enough to withstand damage from motor oil and vehicle fluids. For worker safety, the floor in a repair shop should have good slip resistance.
Think about the type of weight that will be put on the floor. There’s a difference between the amount of pressure created by people walking on a surface and the pressure of things rolling over it. If carts or other wheeled items will regularly roll across the floor, you’ll want to choose a flooring that can withstand the pressure from rolling loads as well as from foot traffic.
Sanitation and Hygiene Needs
While cleanliness is important for any business, for some industries, it’s critical. Companies in the food and beverage industry, the healthcare industry and the veterinary industry need to ensure that their facilities are clean and sanitary at all times. The type of floor you install can help you in this effort.
For example, if you need to maintain hygienic conditions, you’ll want to choose a flooring type that is inhospitable to germs. Seamless flooring, which doesn’t have grout lines or crevices, is less welcoming to bacteria and other pathogens than flooring types that have small gaps or seams. It can be tricky to clean grout lines or crevices, giving germs a place to hide and multiply.
The porousness of the flooring also determines how sanitary it is. Some flooring materials can absorb substances, such as spilled liquids, making them difficult to clean. Flooring types that are impervious to liquid or that have excellent moisture resistance are generally considered more hygienic.
Depending on your industry, a regulatory body might have some say over the type of flooring you install in your business. Businesses in the food and beverage industry usually need to meet requirements from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) or the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), while healthcare establishments, such as hospitals or pharmaceutical companies, need flooring that meets FDA standards.
All the components in a building need some maintenance from time to time. Someone will need to replace lightbulbs, make sure the heating system still works and repaint the walls. The flooring you install will also need maintenance.
The amount of maintenance the floor needs depends on the industry you work in and the type of floor you install. Some floors are meant to withstand lots of wear-and-tear and heavy traffic with little need for ongoing maintenance. You might need to refinish the floor every few years, provided you keep it clean and follow the guidelines after installation. Other types of flooring have a considerably shorter lifespan and may require regular upkeep or replacement.
You want to keep everyone who steps foot into your business as safe as possible. That means minimizing the risk of injury or accidents, such as slips and falls. When safety is a major concern, some types of flooring are better than others. For example, epoxy floors can have a topcoat that offers an extra level of slip-resistance, making them a good option for areas where people might be moving quickly or places where it’s more likely someone will slip, such as a wet kitchen floor or greasy floor in an auto shop.
Types of Commercial Flooring
Commercial flooring comes in various textures, colors and materials. A certain type of floor might be a good pick for one area of your business while a different type is more appropriate for another. Take a closer look at some of the more commonly used flooring options, as well as their particular benefits and disadvantages.
Carpet tiles are squares of carpeting that can be mixed and matched or custom designed for your business. They are ideal for office spaces or areas where you’d like a soft floor, such as a play area in a classroom.
If you are interested in installing carpet tiles in your building, you have a wide range of options. The tiles vary in quality, with some made to withstand heavy foot traffic, and others not so much. Some varieties feature moisture resistance, making them less likely to be hospitable to mold growth and easier to clean.
One feature that makes carpet tiles more appealing than other soft-surface flooring options is that they are relatively easy to replace if damaged. You simply remove the stained or damaged tile and replace it with a new one. For that reason, it’s usually good ides to order more tiles than you need when installing the carpet so you can keep a few as backups in case of damage.
Broadloom carpet, also known as wall-to-wall carpet, comes in rolls. It can be low pile or high pile and stain- and water-resistant or not. Compared to carpet tiles, broadloom carpet can feel softer underfoot. It also looks more cohesive than carpet tiles, since it doesn’t have seams.
Broadloom carpet can be a good option in industries where acoustics matter and there isn’t much of a concern about hygiene or spills. For example, it can be a good pick for a therapist’s office or a law firm, since the carpeting can absorb sound, allowing for private conversations.
Because the carpet comes in a roll and is all one piece, replacing damaged areas can be more challenging than replacing carpet tiles. If part of the carpet is stained or otherwise damaged, you might need to replace the entire carpet or cut away the damaged part and patch in a new section from any carpet leftover after installation.
Luxury Vinyl Tiles
Vinyl flooring had a bad reputation for many years since early versions looked cheap and didn’t last very long. Luxury vinyl tiles (LVT) have helped to give commercial vinyl flooring a new lease on life, though. LVT can imitate many flooring materials, such as hardwood, stone tile or ceramic tile. It is usually less expensive than authentic hardwood or tile and are also easier to care for. You can clean it with a damp mop or use a floor cleaner to remove stains or marks.
LVT is usually water-resistant, making it a good choice for areas exposed to some moisture, such as the floor in a restaurant dining room or the lobby of an office building. A drawback of LVT is that the floor isn’t seamless, so it’s not an appropriate option for hospitals or commercial kitchens. Quality can also vary considerably, with some types of LVT proving to be less long-wearing and durable than others.
Polished concrete flooring can be shiny and attractive. It’s made by buffing the surface of a concrete floor with polishing pads, removing imperfections and giving the floor a sheen. How shiny the floor ends up depends on the level of polishing. A polished concrete floor can be matte, low sheen, semi-gloss or high sheen. While you might not see reflections clearly in a matte or low-sheen floor, high-sheen flooring is very reflective.
A polished concrete floor can withstand a lot of foot traffic and last for years with little need for maintenance, but it can be labor-intensive and expensive to install. It’s not ideal for industrial settings or areas with a lot of spills or moisture exposure.
Tile flooring can take many forms, from LVT and vinyl composite tiles to stone or ceramic tiles. Tile flooring has some advantages. Some materials, such as quarry tile, are heat resistant and can withstand repeated exposure to grease and other substances. Other types, such as vinyl composite tiles, are incredibly durable as well as budget-friendly.
Compared to other commercial flooring types, though, tile flooring is often notably labor-intensive. Vinyl composite tiles need to be waxed and polished regularly, while the grout used between some tiles can break down quickly, wearing out before the tiles themselves.
Resinous flooring is chemical-resistant, slip-resistant, durable, easy-to-clean and low maintenance. It also offers aesthetic benefits, as it comes in various colors, patterns and finishes. For example, Metalix flooring imitates the look of polished concrete while offering chemical resistance and greater ability to withstand wear-and-tear.
Resinous floors are seamless, meaning there are no crevices or grout lines where bacteria, molds and other pathogens can hide. Their seamless construction makes them an excellent choice for commercial industries with tough hygiene and sanitation requirements, such as the healthcare, pharmaceutical, veterinary and food and beverage industries.
Resinous flooring is created by pouring a base, such as epoxy or urethane, over a concrete surface. The base cures, creating a durable, seam-free top layer. Depending on the type of resinous flooring you choose, different membranes can be added to increase the function of the flooring. For example, an additional membrane can increase the water-resistance or slip-resistance of the flooring. Some types of resinous floors can resist thermal shock, making them a good option for areas that see dramatic fluctuations in temperature.
Durex Coverings Installs the Commercial Flooring You Need
Durex Coverings is a leading resinous floor contractor in Pennsylvania and Maryland. Whether you need a new floor for a hospital, automotive repair shop, restaurant kitchen or another commercial setting, we have you covered from the design process through the installation process. We have many resinous and epoxy flooring products available and look forward to helping you choose a floor that meets the needs of your company, now and in the future. To learn more, contact us today.