Commercial flooring needs to stand up to much more than home flooring, especially in high traffic areas. Fortunately, there are many options available to fit any budget and set of needs.
Here are some questions that will help you choose the right, high-traffic commercial flooring material for your business or office.
What look are you going for?
A high-end, contemporary look might require an industrial material, such as polished concrete or ceramic tile.
Businesses looking for a more natural appearance and texture might opt for a stone or vinyl tile. Vinyl tiles are designed to look like stone but are easier on the feet and harder to damage.
If you’re looking for a homey feel, carpeting or laminate might be the right fit for you.
Do you need to absorb sound?
Hard floors tend to reflect and amplify sound, while carpet will absorb sound and keep the area quiet. Some vinyl tiles will also reduce sound to some extent. If you’re planning on having many people (potentially in heels) move around your business all day, you don’t want to be alerted when each person is present.
Is the area exposed to water?
Carpeting and laminate can be easily damaged by water, either spilled or brought in with foot traffic. Polished concrete, natural stone tile, and ceramic tile are more resistant to water damage. The same is true in places like the kitchen, bathrooms, and around the water cooler, so take those places into account when choosing flooring.
How much maintenance are you willing to do?
Commercial flooring can range in necessary maintenance from little required upkeep to constant cleaning. Polished concrete and vinyl are easy to keep clean but carpets require much more attention when it comes to maintenance. If you prefer carpet, consider using tiles rather than wall-to-wall so it is easier to replace damaged areas.
How important is sustainability?
If sustainability is important, either as part of your unique selling proposition or because you’re working to achieve an environmental certification, you’ll want to choose a material that is low emission and environmentally sustainable. Polished concrete, bamboo-based or natural stone laminate, and naturally sourced linoleum are good options.
What’s your budget?
Budget is likely the most important factor in your flooring choice. You want to get a good value: something not too expensive that will stand the test of time.
Initial cost outlays can range from less than $3 to well over $50 per square foot. Polished concrete and carpet are the least expensive on average, followed by vinyl and linoleum. Ceramic tile is a moderately expensive option, and natural stone is usually the most expensive.
You should take into account the total lifetime cost. Consider the level of upkeep, and the number of times the flooring may need to be replaced. Because it can so easily be damaged, carpeting has a high total cost of ownership, while stone and ceramic tile take less money to maintain.
The flooring you choose will help set the tone for your business. With a little guidance, you can pick a material that is cost-effective and timeless for your high traffic commercial area.