Whether a newly constructed facility, a complete renovation of an existing building, or a remodel, getting the flooring right on commercial space is crucial. With so many high-quality options available, determining the appropriate material for the project can be confusing. Before deciding on flooring choices, it’s essential to understand the environment and traffic patterns of the space. Is the area prone to moisture? Will heavy equipment need to operate in the area? What about water from showers, sinks, or manufacturing processes? Looking for a safe, durable, visually pleasing solution within the budget can quickly become overwhelming. Before making a decision, review your options and seek professional advice.
Commercial Flooring Options
While this is not an exhaustive list of commercial flooring options, it provides food for thought for high-traffic spaces, like schools, restaurants, department stores, and airport terminals, where durability is paramount in the decision process. Here are a few top high-traffic flooring options for commercial spaces:
Terrazzo: On the durability scale, terrazzo is at the top. Terrazzo is manufactured by mixing elements like marble, granite, and quartz, with an epoxy binder, providing endless color and design options. Terrazzo’s unique construction makes it impervious to water damage, stains, and chipping when installed correctly. Even when terrazzo begins to look worn and dull from years of high traffic, a repolish makes it look new. However, this quality, durability, and design flexibility come at a steep initial cost. Terrazzo’s price per square foot often makes it cost-prohibitive for most small areas.
Quartz: Quartz is one of the naturally hardest materials on earth, making it an ideal solution for high-traffic flooring. Quartz flooring is a combination of quartz sand and calcium carbonate and is used to make tiles or mixed with epoxy, similar to terrazzo. As a tile solution for commercial spaces, quartz is more durable than ceramic and can withstand the weight of heavy equipment like forklifts. As an epoxy flooring, quartz is perfect for preventing dirt, liquid, and other contaminants that might damage the subflooring. While quartz provides many attractive options, it is not porous, making it very slippery when wet.
Epoxy: On the cost-effectiveness scale, using epoxy as a commercial space flooring is at the top. Epoxy flooring is versatile, durable enough for manufacturing facilities, and aesthetically pleasing for some retail spaces. However, correctly applying epoxy flooring requires the concrete to be cleaned and cracks to be patched with urethane before applying the flooring. Without adequate preparation, premature peeling or chipping is a likely result.
Rubber: Rubber flooring is an easy-to-install solution that provides durability with the added benefit of slip resistance and sound dampening. Rubber is an excellent flooring solution for high-traffic applications like hospitals and gyms. And the softened nature of rubber flooring helps prevent fatigue of employees and customers as they walk. However, the limited design, color choices, and lingering odor could become an obstacle for some spaces.
Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT): This commercial space flooring option is quickly becoming one of the most popular options available. Luxury Vinyl Tile, or LVT, comes in planks or tiles, using realistic images under a transparent vinyl layer that allows a wide variety of designs. Even trained professionals find it challenging to distinguish LVT from the material it copies. Because LVT is easy to install, affordable, and reasonably durable, it is an excellent option for airports, schools, lobbies, and hospitals. However, LVT isn’t a perfect commercial flooring space solution; it can fade in direct sunlight, dent, scratch, and scuff, especially from heavy appliances and furniture.
Carpet Tiles: High-traffic commercial spaces requiring soft flooring need to look into carpet tiles. The versatile tiles make it easy to replace worn or stained areas without replacing entire sections, giving carpet tiles a considerable advantage over broadloom. Many commercial carpet tiles are waterproof, removing concerns about spills and moisture seeping underneath. However, carpet tiles wear and soil faster than hard flooring options, so they require frequent replacing.
Often flooring selections are determined based on price, misconceptions of durability, or simply what might look best. Such was the case at a community center in Long Beach. Even though their Long Beach architect recommended the right flooring solution, the community center ignored the professional advice and went a different route. Unfortunately, the community center needed to replace the flooring in just a few years, ultimately costing more than the option provided by their architect. For Long Beach business owners ready to select the right flooring for a commercial space, consult a trusted professional and avoid costly mistakes by choosing the wrong product for your commercial space.