Building Blocks: Tips for Selecting the Right Flooring Material

There are a variety of commercial flooring products out there. How do you choose one that is right for your project? Whether building from scratch or retrofitting an existing space, the following tips will help you shop commercial flooring, mats, and other safety products that will meet both structural and aesthetic needs.

In this special feature, we’ll start with an evaluation of goals for the new flooring installation. Then, we’ll cover the basics on selecting a flooring material with special substrate needs in mind. Finally, we’ll quickly review how certain materials are preferable for areas of high vs. low visitor traffic.

First Things First: What Are Your Flooring Goals?

Prior to project onset, it’s a good idea for all project leaders to have a forward discussion about the goals of the new commercial flooring installation. Consider the following:

  1. What is the current floor made of, and does it present maintenance and safety challenges?
  2. If the current material makes ongoing maintenance and safety a significant issue, is there an alternative that is easier to maintain?
  3. Are there certain aesthetic elements that should be preserved, like texture, color, or other custom fitting/ design?
  4. What are the costs associated with purchasing and installing new flooring?
  5. Are lower cost alternatives available that do no sacrifice aesthetics, structural integrity, or overall value?
  6. Is the flooring for a LEED certified facility? If so, are certified products available that will earn you LEED credits?

The questions above are by no means a final list, however they serve as a good spring board for discussing goals for the new flooring installation. It’s also a good idea to include architects, engineers, property owner(s), and on-site facility managers. Though some of these individuals may not have input on the final decision, they nevertheless offer unique perspectives on the facility operations and maintenance that can be used to arrive at a good flooring decision.

Next, Evaluate Underlying Conditions

“Substrate problems are a significant and complex challenge,” writes Lew Migliore, contributor and writer for Facilities Net. This is because underlying substrate conditions can significantly affect the long-term appearance and functionality of the new floor.

For example, lying hardwood flooring directly on top of concrete may cause the wood to expand over time. This is a byproduct of the way moisture is slowly released by concrete. To avoid this problem, contractors typically install a special layer between the concrete and hardwood floor. Additionally, hardwood floor is installed in such a way that allows for gradual expansion and contraction.

Finally, Think About Visitor Flow

Facility traffic is a topic we discuss frequently on the Eagle Mat Blog because it is a vital component in the decision making process. Whether evaluating flooring surfaces or the safety mats that will be placed atop them, understanding the ebb and flow of visitor traffic is key when choosing a material that will last.

In general, higher traffic areas benefit most from tougher flooring surfaces and matting materials. Dense olefin carpeting, recessed Berber mats, and heavy duty grill systems like the Pedimat are all excellent options to consider.

On the other end of the spectrum are areas that experience a much lighter degree of visitor inflow and outflow. These areas are subject to less wear and tear, so facilities can implement softer, more comfortable, and more colorful flooring options without the fear of having to replace them frequently. Rubber-backed carpet mats are still recommended at major points of entry to keep things clean, dry, and safe for visitors throughout operating hours, no matter how low traffic is expected to be.

Commercial Flooring and Safety Mat Consultation

Eagle Mat and Floor Products proudly represents the finest in commercial flooring, carpeting, and matting. With more than 3 decades experience, our team is qualified to assist your project leaders in selecting the perfect commercial flooring and matting products for any commercial facility.

For additional information and product consultation, call Client Services at 1-877-333-1018.