January 12, 2020
Choosing floor coverings for your commercial space is best done by considering the usage first.
Different spaces place different demands on flooring and in the commercial realm, cost and durability are often driving factors, while style and design play a smaller, but still important role.
Let’s take a look at flooring for offices, shop spaces and work and storage areas.
What You Should Keep In Mind When Picking a Flooring
Flooring in Your Office Space Should Consider Your Clientele
A lot depends on who is invited in when selecting the right flooring for an office space. Will you be entertaining high profile clients? Or is your traffic more of the industrial nature?
- For the penthouse suite, combine hard and soft surfaces, such as tile with carpet inlays, or wood flooring, with rugs. Both create a lot of visual interest and texture for a more sophisticated decor. If you are already put off by the idea of a real wood floor because of its stiff price, you can consider options such as wood-look vinyl flooring for your business. It can imitate the timber look and feel with a few additional perks like being an affordable option and waterproof.
- If your office is of the professional variety, like a doctors waiting room or showroom, hard wearing short nap commercial carpet is a good choice. It muffles sound, is very durable and comes in a wide range of colours and patterns to set just the right tone.
- Vinyl flooring for industrial spaces or polished concrete are options to consider as these hard types of floor coverings are better suited for high traffic. To make the place feels comfortable combine with softer flooring options such as carpet tiles or broadloom carpet for halls, break rooms and offices.
Retail Space Flooring Should be Designed to Work Hard
The goods and services you sell may indicate your flooring needs. If your store is high traffic, choose for wear, for an upscale boutique, make sure style comes into play, and for smaller shops anything goes.
- In large commercial, or industrial stores, rugged vinyl roll flooring, tiles, or even planks are a good option. They are waterproof, wear-resistant and easy to clean.
- In a more upscale boutique environment, either elegant wood floors, or plush carpeting can set the opulent tone your customers expect.
- In smaller, bespoke shops that cater to a smaller clientele, most floors will work well. Remember that sound can be a big factor in ambience, especially in smaller spaces. Choose carpeting for quiet and intimate, or hard surface to make a space feel larger.
Common Commercial Grade Flooring Types and their Pros & Cons
1. Carpet Tiles
Carpet tiles have become increasingly popular in office fitouts for its affordability and versatility. As the name suggests, carpet tiles are pre-cut pieces of carpet that are designed to be directly installed onto the floor just like porcelain tiles without the need for a subfloor.
The largest benefit of commercial tiles is for the fact that the underlay is built-in, eliminating the need for a separate pad to be installed, and effectively reducing costs, labour and fast-tracking your schedule.
Carpet tiles are extremely low maintenance and versatile, with damaged tiles easily and quickly removed to be cleaned or replaced. Unlike broadloom carpet, replacement tiles can be stored efficiently and require minimal space.
Where broadloom carpet struggles to cost-effectively provide, carpet tiles offer a wide variety of design options including checkered patterns or textured layouts. Thanks to its tiled format, patterns are completely customisable allowing you to create your own unique style.
The only drawback of carpet tiles is complete-design limitations and cost. While tiles open up certain design aspects which broadloom is unable to achieve, it may not be suited for certain spaces. For example, larger patterns or mosaic styles in conference rooms or large office spaces.
- Quick and easy to install. Pre-cut to size with a built-in underlay means carpet tiles are much faster and less difficult to install.
- Customisable designs. Unlimited design choices with the power to create your own pattern. Lay tiles in standard format, checkered manner or experiment until you find a visually pleasing design suited to your space.
- Easily repaired. Any stained or damaged pieces beyond repair can be quickly and easily replaced without affecting the rest of your flooring.
- More expensive than broadloom. Pre-cut pieces with a built-in underlay will come at a higher cost to install.
- Visible seams. Because tiles are simply placed next to each other as opposed to being chemically bonded, seams will remain visually clear. That being said, this may not necessarily be a negative thing if a checkered or textured pattern is desired.
- Not as soft underfoot. Built-in underlays may not be as cushioning as the separate padding used with broadloom carpet.
2. Broadloom Carpet
Broadloom carpet is a more traditional form of commercial flooring and is more widely used in large corporate spaces. One of its largest benefits is that it can quickly and easily cover a large space with one elaborate design, wall-to-wall.
It is simply installed over a separate underlay, between the floor slab and the carpet, which makes it softer underfoot.
Design options aren’t as versatile as carpet tiles, however the shortfall of tiles is broadlooms biggest achievement. It comes with many design choices including large patterns, colours, even mosaics, and arrives in large rolled-up pieces ready to be cut to size for installation.
They allow for a seamless and consistent design in large spaces where carpet tiles often struggle to achieve. However, with such power comes one of broadloom carpet’s largest downfalls — replacement/repair.
If an area becomes irreversibly damaged by moisture, mould or mildew, the entire section must be removed and replaced to completely fix it.
- Endless design possibilities. Enjoy modern broadloom designs and patterns that bring inspiration and innovation to a corporate space.
- Softer underfoot than carpet tiles. With additional padding, known as the underlay, broadloom carpet provides more cushioning underfoot.
- Cheaper than carpet tiles. Broadloom carpet is generally cheaper per square foot than carpet tiles, but this may vary depending on the design and shape of office space.
- A seamless finish. Unlike tiled carpet, broadloom comes in a 12-foot roll and is installed wall-to-wall for a seamless finish. Any areas where broadloom seams meet are sealed with a chemical to appear like a singular piece.
- Can be more wasteful. As broadloom carpet is cut to fit the size of a room, the process of cutting down large pieces, particularly the underlay, can create more waste during installation.
- Can be more expensive. The cost of unnecessary or unused materials can sometimes offset the savings.
- Longer to install. Since a carpet underlay must be installed first, as well as the carpet layer needing to be cut to the size of the room, it can be more time consuming and costly.
- Tough to repair and replace. Unlike carpet tiles, where a tile damaged beyond repair can be simply removed and replaced, the entire carpet may need to be removed, including the underlay.
It’s not your everyday type of commercial flooring and is heavily dependent on the nature of work, however that’s not to rule out concrete in an office environment.
Concrete flooring presents itself as a modern sophisticated approach to garnishing your office space and injecting a sense of industrialism.
Thanks to modern techniques of concrete finishing, concrete flooring can produce some of the most luxurious looking end products.
Price ranges from inexpensive to expensive based on the size of the space and finish applied. It’s suitable in most applications, including offices, warehouses, kitchens, schools and retail spaces.
As you would imagine, concrete flooring is extremely durable, can withstand heavy foot traffic and is one of the easiest types of flooring to clean.
Regular maintenance is required but is relatively easy, with a simple dust mop or vacuum to remove all the dust and dirt particles, followed by a neutral pH detergent for tougher stains or grease.
To ensure longevity of concrete flooring, a bi-monthly waxing will help keep the stains and spills from reaching beneath the surface.
- Low maintenance. Upkeep can include regular dusting and vacuuming, making it one of the easier floor types to maintain.
- Extremely durable. It’s quite obvious as to why concrete is extremely durable.
- Longevity. With regular maintenance and resealing every 2-5 years, concrete flooring can last a lifetime.
- Unique design possibilities. Thanks to modern technology, there are many finishes that create a unique end product.
- Hard underfoot. In its nature, concrete flooring is the hardest of them all. It is also more unforgivable when it comes to accidents.
- Prone to water damage IF. If the concrete has not been sealed properly water can seep in and damage any surface treatments.
- Cracking. Cracking can occur regardless if the concrete flooring was installed professionally. Due to weathering even the strongest of flooring will eventually crack as it is subjected to changes in temperature, moisture and settling.
4. Natural Hardwood Flooring
Arguably, the most aesthetically pleasing type of flooring, natural hardwood flooring continues to stun the office space.
An authentic feel characterised by an individual species of wood, natural hardwood flooring is a thing of beauty which continues to provide a classic and timeless look.
As a natural material, hardwood flooring is always going to suffer the most, despite it having a longer lifespan. Although it can be refinished to look as good as new for generations to come, it’s cursed with a decision-changing factor.
Wood is a porous material, this makes it highly susceptible to water and climate damage. Rendering unsuitable in rooms such as the bathroom, laundry or kitchen, where spills and moisture is common.
Although it can be sealed with a polyurethane coating, which will protect it against spills it will need to be removed and reapplied regularly. This means hardwood floor is not an ideal option for commercial spaces or high-traffic areas.
Don’t get us wrong, hardwood flooring is durable in the sense that it’s hard — can withstand heavy objects. However, its porous nature, constant requirement for a protective coating and limited applications makes it a hard choice.
Compared to the looks of luxury vinyl hardwood flooring is unmatched, with only the well-trained eye being able to tell the difference between the two. However, this unique finish comes at a cost, 2-3 times more expensive to be exact.
You’ll also have to take into account the availability of the wood species and the fact that you are not easily able to customise the design, can be a nightmare when replacing damaged slats. Hardwood is more suited to sport centres, residential spaces, and commercial spaces with low foot traffic.
- Visually timeless. Natural hardwood flooring is one of the most aesthetically pleasing floor types and is a timeless classic which can be resealed for years to come.
- Extremely durable. Compared to other floor types, hardwood is hard in nature and therefore more durable than most.
- Easy to clean and maintain. Regular maintenance and cleaning include sweeping and vacuuming.
- Limitless design. From designs based on species of wood to traditional or modern approaches with the option of a sealant, hardwood flooring provides endless design choices.
- Costly. Hardwood flooring is one of the most expensive floor types.
- Must be resealed. Hardwood must be refinished up to twice a year depending on the extent of damage (scratches and blemishes) and foot traffic.
- Hard underfoot. Softer than concrete but harder than vinyl, hardwood flooring is less forgiving on the feet.
- Acoustics. It does not provide any sound insulation or assist with the acoustics of the space. However, this can be countered with rugs or other sound absorbers.
Laminate is one of the most popular floor types amongst Aussie homeowners, but is it suited in the workplace?
Laminate flooring is an affordable flooring option that is highly durable, low maintenance and easy to clean, with a regular mop, sweep or vacuum.
It’s also resistant to moisture, spills and stains, making it suitable for almost any application ranging from high traffic offices, kitchens, waiting rooms in healthcare centres, corridors and schools.
What makes laminate flooring very popular amongst homeowners is the UV resistance technology applied in the wear layer. This makes it resistant to fading which is especially useful in areas that are exposed to the sun.
Using a high definition printer, laminate can be produced to mimic more expensive floor types including natural hardwood, stone and tile decor. Giving you the power to customise the style, design, colour and texture.
Laminate flooring has been designed for an easy floating installation using a tongue and groove locking system for a simple install.
- Cheaper alternative. Offers an inexpensive alternative in achieving a hardwood, stone or tiled floor finish.
- Highly durable. Scratch, stain, dent and fade resistant.
- Easy to install. Floating floors using a tongue and groove locking system makes for a simple install.
- Softer underfoot. Compared to other floor types, laminate can be softer underfoot.
- Low maintenance. Regular maintenance and cleaning include sweeping and vacuuming, with the occasional spot clean.
- Inconvenient. Unlike hardwood, laminate cannot be refinished and will need to be removed and replaced.
- Prone to water damage. Excessive water can seep into the seams and cause swelling. Will need to be removed and replaced.
- Repetitive design. Due to the repetitive nature of the patterns there are more chances of 2 identical boards being placed next to each other if not installed correctly.
- Acoustics. It does not provide any sound insulation or assist with the acoustics of the space. However, this can be countered with rugs or other sound absorbers.
6. Vinyl Sheet
When it comes to visual appeal and authenticity, vinyl flooring is unmatched.
One of the main reasons why vinyl flooring has become such a popular choice in both residential and commercial spaces is that it can be printed to mimic a wide variety of materials, including natural hardwood, ceramic tiles, natural stone, and for half the cost.
Vinyl sheets are typically installed using one to two large sheets which have a photographed image of the pattern applied below the wear layer.
Due to the production process, sheet vinyl can be printed without grout lines to create a more seamless and authentic feel, unlike your luxury vinyl planks or tiles. However it becomes quite bulky and limited to one style per sheet.
Without seams, sheet vinyl provides greater protection against moisture penetrating the surface and entering the subfloor. For this reason, commercial sheet vinyl is the perfect choice for an office, healthcare centres, day care centres, restaurants, schools or hospitality where there is high foot traffic or moisture.
Unfortunately, unlike LVT/LVP, if vinyl sheet is damaged or stained beyond repair, you really only have two choices. You either replace the entire floor with a new sheet or you cut out the damaged section and fill in the gap with a new piece.
Both options can be quite costly, you also risk compromising water penetrating through the seams of where it has been cut. You may also fail to mimic the original pattern.
That being said, vinyl sheet is extremely durable, has the ability to withstand heavy foot traffic, and is highly resistant to moisture.
- Water resistant. Made with waterproof materials combined with a seamless finish, sheet vinyl is extremely water resistant and is perfect for water prone areas.
- Comfortable. Soft underfoot and warm to touch, sheet vinyl is much easier to stand on for long periods of time.
- Longevity. Well maintained vinyl sheet can last up to 10 to 20 years.
- Affordable. Mass-produced in huge roles, sheet vinyl is an affordable alternative to achieve a high-end finish.
- Low maintenance. Can be cleaned with a simple sweep, vacuum or mop.
- Endless design possibilities. Thanks to modern printing technology, you can now get improved colour, clarity, textures and patterns which provide a more genuine and authentic feel.
- Easy to install. Measured to the size of the room for a wall-to-wall installation. For DIY, we recommend playing it safe and going with a professional installation as it does quire the ability to make accurate measurements and precise cuts.
- Difficult to repair. If sheet vinyl is severely damaged by a scratch, dent,, water, gouge or a stain, your only option is to either replace the entire floor or remove the affected area and replace with a patch.
- Discolouration. Low quality vinyl can become yellow overtime. It can also take place because of direct sunlight. However, good quality vinyl with a UV inhibitor can prevent sun damage and discolouration.
When it comes to purchasing commercial flooring, it is always a good idea to ask your rep as many questions as possible to ensure you get exactly what your business needs. If you’re struggling to make a decision or simply just after some advice, contact our team or head into one of our boutiques and we will be happy to assist.
Jupp’s provide a wide range of floor options for your business and has a dedicated team who is ready to help with your design, decision and installation. Contact us today for an obligation-free quote.