This weekend my wife and I celebrated our 3 year wedding anniversary. Saturday night was supposed to be our romantic night away, a night to let work go and spend some quality time with each other. As we were walking through Jefferson Pointe Shopping Center I remembered I had presented a proposal for the flooring in one of the new retail stores. I knew we were not awarded the project so I was curious on the flooring chose for the space. My wife might tell you I have a few habits that drive her a little crazy, and for our special night out she was fine with going to look at a work project, just as long as I promised to not bend down to analyze and touch the floor. I guess she wanted to be on a date with a regular guy, not one who was crawling around to analyze the chosen finished floor. I have a little habit that when I see a floor that catches my eye, whether good or bad, I just bend to assess the floor and the material chosen to finish the space.
In my mind every floor installed was to serve a purpose, or to solve a problem for the client. In commercial environments a floor is also regularly used to cover up the concrete underneath. No one would want to see the concrete, right?… This is where my business, Dancer Concrete Design has a niche market in the flooring industry. Rather than cover the concrete we serve our clients by processing the floor through staining and polishing processes to expose the beauty and characteristics of this durable surface, concrete.
So back to me touching floors….The reason I do this is because I want to understand what the material is, why it was installed in this specific environment, and how it is performing and wearing with use. So many times the wrong floor is chose for a space and it fails to perform as needed, does not meet codes, or may be very costly to maintain.
There are so many flooring choices to choose from for a commercial environment and each one has specific benefits and weakness. This can be a tough choice for an owner as they compare cost and weigh which choose is truly the best fit in their environment. I feel there are 4 categories every floor should be assessed in to determine which floor provides the best solution. These are Design, Durability, Maintenance, and Safety. Below I will go into more detail about each of these categories and how assessing your flooring choice in each one may help guide you in your decision.
I recently heard something about design that really stuck with me. The lady being interviewed shared that, “Great design takes everyone into consideration.” That really stuck with me because design is so much more than just picking a floor that looks good. Great design takes into consideration how color and material can affect moods, how the lighting will affect the floors appearance, how the floor serves to help create flow in a space, and many other facets of form and function in a room. Great design also encompasses the other categories of durability, maintenance, and safety.
Great design is more than just how a floor looks in the space. Design takes into consideration the look, durability, maintenance, and safety of the floor.
This category asks the question will this floor hold up to the conditions of the space? What is the life span of this floor? Is this product rated for the appropriate traffic and conditions of the space? Selecting a floor that is rated for your conditions is a must. Check with manufactures and installers to make sure the floor is covered under warranty for your specific application.
Make sure your floor is correctly rated for your specific application and will hold up long-term to the conditions present in the space.
I am not a fan of cleaning, so for me I would want a floor that requires the least and the easiest maintenance possible. When selecting the right floor the cost of maintaining the surface over its lifespan can easily be overlooked. But did you know many floors maintenance and care over the life of the floor can be 4 -10x the initial installed cost? I think all buyers should understand the maintenance requirements and a thorough understanding of the procedure and cost to maintain a floor for the short-term and long-term.
VCT tiles are one of the most affordable floors to initially install at around $1.50 – $2.00 sq. ft. (large commercial space), but may cost upwards of $20.00 sq. ft. over the lifetime of the floor with the subsequent waxing and stripping needed to keep the floor looking nice.
The safety of all involved parties is one of the most important aspects of choosing a floor. When choosing a floor for your space, all codes and regulations should be checked to make sure the right floor is installed in the space. One of the major factors to look for is the Slip Coefficients of Friction of the surfaces. Air quality is also a factor that is gaining attention. A thing such as VOC’s emitted by the floor or the floor possibly harboring bacteria and mold should be assessed.
Seamless epoxy offers a slip resistant finish (even when wet) and the 8″ integral cove eliminates the ability for mold and mildew to grow in the wall to floor transition.
I hope that these 4 categories help you make wiser decisions about your flooring. As you can see, there is quite a bit more to think about with flooring than just picking out a color that complements a space. When viewing your options it may be a good idea to bring in an experienced designer or flooring professional, and if you happen to be looking at stained or polished concrete flooring you can always contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.