The Next Generation in Sustainability – Well Buildings

When it comes to sustainability your building or the building you work in may be green – but is it well?

Darwin Fisher works with architects, designers, flooring manufacturers and builders that understand and implement sustainable solutions. This industry demands staying abreast of changes in building standards and how they relate to both the environment and people. The following is a high level overview of how sustainability has progressed over the past 25 years.

The WELL Building Standard

Sustainability: From buildings to its inhabitants. Photo credit: Unsplash, Mihaly Koles

Sustainability: A Brief History Starting with Buildings

In the past the sustainability movement began with the focus soley on building efficiencies standards. In 1993, over 25 years ago, the origins of this movement began with the founding of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC ). This is also when the development of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standard began.

LEED emerged as the leading and most recognized worldwide, green building rating and standards certification system that provided construction and design specifications to create healthy, highly efficient, resource-conscious buildings.

Today’s LEED buildings are constructed to use resources wisely and are less costly to maintain. They are also designed to maximize employee health and productivity by using “fewer resources, reducing waste and negative environmental impacts to decrease lifecycle costs.”

The WELL Building Standard and sustainability

Photo credit: Unsplash, Scott Webb

The Benefits of Sustainability: LEED Certification

According to the organization’s website, there are various benefits of being a LEED recognized organization, including:

  • Faster lease up rates
  • Higher resale value
  • Healthier indoor space
  • Lower use of energy, water and other resources
  • Better for building occupants, the community and the environment
  • Enhances brand
  • Establishes company as a leader in green building

Over the past several years there has been continued emphasis on creating better designed, more healthy workplaces to increase collaboration, productivity and overall wellbeing. New research has given way to the next phase of the sustainability movement launched in October 2014. After six years of research and development, The WELL Building Standard was introduced by The International WELL Building Institute (IWBI). This newer standard has primarily shifted the focus from the way a building is built to the inhabitants of the building itself.

Sustainability: The Next Phase Focuses on People

According to its website, “IWBI delivers the cutting-edge WELL Building Standard, the leading global rating system and the first to be focused exclusively on the ways that buildings, and everything in them, can improve our comfort, drive better choices, and generally enhance, not compromise, our health and wellness.”

The company’s website states it is leading the global movement to transform buildings and communities in ways that help people thrive and is backed scientific research.

The WELL Building standard is divided into seven sections: Air, Water, Nourishment, Light, Fitness, Comfort, and Mind. Each of these sections goes into much greater detail about exact requirements.

The WELL Building Standard

Today’s sustainable work environments. Photo credit: Unsplash

The WELL v2™ pilot is a recently launched version of its popular The WELL Building Standard, and the WELL Community Standard pilot is a district scale rating system that sets a new global benchmark for healthy communities.

The company further states that “IWBI mobilizes the global wellness community through management of the WELL AP™ credential, convenes a global network of organizations through IWBI membership, pursues applicable research, develops educational resources, and advocates for policies that promote health and wellness everywhere.”

In summary, a WELL certified building is designed to enhance the health, happiness and productivity of its users. Designers can now create spaces that incorporate solutions that affect the human body, directly impacting human health. By providing healthy, vibrant environments it’s a win-win situation for both companies and employees.

How healthy is your building?

For more information on how to become LEED certified or the WELL Building Standard certification, please click the links above.

For a free consultation on your next flooring design and installation please click here.

IMAX Workplace: The Pictures Behind The Flooring Story

After the successful completion of Phase One at IMAX headquarters, Darwin Fisher was asked to provide flooring installation for IMAX Workplace Phase Two.

IMAX Workplace flooring installation Toronto

Darwin Fisher natural stone installation at IMAX Workplace

The project, which is scheduled to conclude in September, has been a  massive undertaking that began several years ago. We’ve included pictures below to show the progress, flooring requirements and how they were integrated into the overall renovation.

IMAX Workplace Phase Two will require 20,000 square feet of various flooring materials including luxury vinyl tile, marmoleum and carpet tile for the reconfiguration of the balance of the existing offices and space. This includes meeting rooms, boardrooms, additional breakout areas and washrooms.

carpet tile Toronto

Darwin Fisher carpet tile installation at IMAX Workplace

“My favourite area would be the café and the intricate work seen there in terms of flooring,” said Lorna Howieson, Senior Director, Global Facilities and Administration, IMAX Corporation. “It looks great and is a fantastic space. Last time we focused on the reception area. This time it was the café. The result is great lighting, signage and the flooring is more intricate.”

LVT and marmoleum flooring examples Toronto

Darwin Fisher LVT and marmoleum installation IMAX Workpace

IMAX Workplace

Darwin Fisher LVT and marmoleum installation IMAX Cafe at IMAX Workplace

See our earlier blog post. Here we profiled the initial phase of the IMAX Workplace development project, which started in 2015. Over 40,000 feet of various flooring materials were required. Of that total there was 3,000 yards of carpet.

LVT and marmoleum examples Toronto

Darwin Fisher LVT and marmoleum installation at IMAX Workplace

This final IMAX Workplace phase will see renovations to over 80,000 square feet. Vestacon Ltd. is the general contractor and Gensler is implementing design.  Phase Two flooring manufacturers include Milliken carpet, LSI Floors, Tarkett Commercial Flooring and Mosa tile.

Regarding the flooring part of the project Howieson has expressed that it’s been a “positive relationship,” with Darwin Fisher.

IMAX Workplace

Darwin Fisher LVT and marmoleum installation at IMAX Cafe, IMAX Workplace

“We need to be ready on demand as delays can create a domino effect on other trades so having materials ready to go is a critical part of the project,” says Doug McDonald, President of Darwin Fisher. “It’s a fine balancing act coordinating with all of the differing trades and dealing with ever changing schedules, but things have been moving forward very seamlessly.”

flooring examples Toronto and Mississauga

Darwin Fisher LVT installation IMAX Workplace

IMAX Workplace Phase One Development Details

Darwin Fisher was part of the project from the beginning. Phase One required changes to meeting rooms, boardrooms, main reception, two theatres, more than a half dozen washrooms and break out rooms. Each of these areas had different flooring needs.

For the first Phase Darwin Fisher worked with Noran Industries Ltd., a construction management and commercial contracting firm, who was the general contractor for the project.

flooring examples Toronto, IMAX Workplace

Darwin Fisher LVT installation IMAX Workplace

Phase One was spearheaded by Quadrangle Architects, who was the prime consultant and lead for the project. The flooring installation took place over a 12-week period. Darwin Fisher worked with a variety of flooring vendors including Milliken Carpet, Tandus Centiva, LSI Floors, Johnsonite Commercial Flooring, Stone Tile International and Mosa.

 About IMAX and IMAX Workplace

IMAX, an innovator in entertainment technology, combines proprietary software, architecture and equipment to create experiences that take audiences beyond the edge of their seats to worlds never imagined. Top filmmakers and studios use IMAX theatres to connect with audiences in extraordinary ways and, as such, IMAX’s network is among the most important and successful theatrical distribution platforms for major event films around the globe.

IMAX is headquartered in New York, Toronto and Los Angeles, with additional offices in London, Dublin, Tokyo, and Shanghai. As of September 30, 2018, there were 1,443 IMAX theatre systems (1,346 commercial multiplexes, 13 commercial destinations, 84 institutional) operating in 79 countries. On October 8, 2015, shares of IMAX China, a subsidiary of IMAX Corp., began trading on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange under the stock code “HK.1970.”

To see more images from this project and other Darwin Fisher installations please click here.

For a free consultation on your next flooring installation please contact info@darwinfisher.com.

Pros and Cons of Commercial Flooring – Top 5 Types

There are various commercial flooring options based on technological advances that have driven the types of applications that are currently available. Some of the most popular choices include luxury vinyl tiles (LVT), vinyl composite tile (VCT), carpet tile and laminate wood. In this article we will be examining the pros and cons of each of these commercial flooring types and how newer technologies compare to engineered hardwood and broadloom.

Pros and Cons of Commercial Flooring by Type:

  1. Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT)

Pros

LVT has become a popular choice amongst dental offices and commercial offices that offer a residential feel. It’s available in a large array of designs that mimic wood and stone but is much more durable. It offers better acoustic properties than hard surface flooring like ceramic tile and it won’t chip or discolor.

LVT is long-wearing, requires very little maintenance and is protected be a clear layer which helps to maintain its appearance over long periods of time. It will not expand and contract in humid or dry seasons and is a fraction of the price of stone or real wood.

pros and cons of commercial flooring types

Darwin Fisher LVT installation at Entertainment One

 Cons

For offices where employees are standing all day it may not be the best flooring in terms of underfoot comfort. The wear layer varies in terms of thickness and it’s important that the thickness be chosen in conjunction with the application at hand or problems can surface in terms of floor traffic and long-term wear. 

  1. Vinyl Composite Tile (VCT)

Pros

The pros and cons of commercial flooring also extend to VCT which offers both style and functionality. It is budget conscious and easy to install, repair and offers simple daily maintenance such as quick damp mop. It has a long lifespan and is a cheaper solution than ceramic or hardwood. It is also ideal for spaces which are prone to high moisture levels.

If you require qualities in a rubber surface, mixed in with the appeal of laminate or linoleum flooring, vinyl is a great choice. This type of flooring is scratch-resistant. Vinyl floors are very common in dental offices and health care verticals because they offer style with functionality and ease of daily maintenance. Products made from 100% vinyl are classified as green solutions and eligible for LEED points.

Cons

 If not installed properly or in the wrong area, glue on the tiles can come loose and cause the tiles to lift at the corners. Maintenance requires regular waxing and polishing to maintain the protective coating on the surface of the tile. Over time color or pattern deterioration of the tile can be affected. Cleaning issues may also arise that are related to surface wear and tear.

  1. Carpet Tile

 Pros

Carpet tile technology has progressed to absorb sound and offers cushioning for employees who frequently stand. Carpet tile systems provide greater flexibility for installation and refitting for a variety of applications across many industries including healthcare, hospitality, retail, education and the entertainment industry.

Pros and cons of commercial flooring

Darwin Fisher carpet tile installation Sheridan Residences

Pros and cons of commercial flooring when it comes to carpet tile include varieties available with extra cushion and vinyl backing so that they don’t easily unravel. It is extremely durable and spot areas can be quickly changed without requiring additional installation expertise. New pattern matching technology ensures that design and patterns are maintained, and the appearance of the finished product resembles broadloom carpet when installed. If broadloom is chosen and an area is damaged, fixing the spot in question is a much larger and more complicated process in terms of seam and pattern matching. It also makes it difficult to fix if there is no broadloom attic stock available. Carpet tile can be easily fixed while broadloom is a larger endeavor. Carpet tile is more economical than broadloom and generates less waste. Broadloom carpet comes in rolls. Carpet tiles have a smaller footprint and are more modular.

pros and cons of commercial flooring

Photo credit Mohawk Group

 Cons

Carpet tiles need to be professionally cleaned so there will be maintenance. If the carpet and the secondary backing are not attached properly, over time they can separate, causing the installation to wrinkle or fibres to stray and pull at the separation point. The most common cause of delamination is improper formulation or application of the adhesive. Carpet tile is also perceived as “cheap” when compared to broadloom in terms of aesthetics.

  1. Laminate Wood

Pros

This man-made wood is favored as it resembles a variety of styles and finishes that mimic solid wood flooring. It is available at a much more affordable price point than real wood and is easy to maintain. It is often found in buildings that qualify for LEED certification points as it is more environmentally friendly option.

pros and cons of commercial flooring

Pros and cons of laminate wood

Cons

Laminate will not wear as well as some of the other new innovations. It is particularly susceptible to moisture due to that it is made from composite wood and can warp or buckle. It is not recommended for any areas prone to moisture.  It is also very difficult to repair.

  1. Engineered Hardwood

The pros and cons of commercial flooring when it comes to engineered hardwood, as seen in the picture below, include the following:

Pros

Engineered hardwood can be a great option for lower traffic areas. It doesn’t expand or contract as much as laminate flooring and is very pleasing from an aesthetic perspective. As it mimics solid wood flooring, it’s a great option that is less expensive to purchase. It is more environmentally friendly than solid hardwood.

Below is picture of how most engineered hardwood looks today. You can see the actual thickness of the hardwood and how it is laminated with plywood underneath to give stability and backing to secure to the subfloor. Most hardwood is produced this way as there are many layers of pressed wood to give stability, plus a thick wood veneer on the surface for several sandings, to be followed by a choice of a variety of sealants.

Pros and cons of commercial flooring

Engineered hardwood sample

Cons

When considering the pros and cons of commercial flooring when it comes to engineered hardwood, remember that while aesthetically pleasing, it would not be recommended in the main entrance of an office building. Seasonal precipitation and chemicals could damage the appearance and life expectancy. It further requires more maintenance over time in terms of dents, cracks, scratches and scuffs due to high volume of traffic.

It is one of the most expensive materials to install and also is not a good choice for spaces that are prone to moisture as it will warp and can buckle and crack.

Maintenance is also an issue as it requires the same type of maintenance in the long term as real hardwood.  If the scratches are deeper than the actual finish, isolating the repair is difficult. A very simple maintenance solution is to ensure the glides on the bottom of the legs of the furniture are replaced or covered with felt – this prevents surface scratching. Felt glides should be changed frequently as they will wear with use.

Pros and cons of commercial flooring

Hardwood flooring pros and cons

A refresh of the hardwood finish may be required every 8-10 years depending on the wear and tear of the floor. This is a process called ‘buff and coat’ whereby a contractor surface screens (light sanding) the top layers of the hardwood and applies a new coat of finish which can be varathane or longer wearing urethane.

Oil or hard wax oil finishes can be oiled and touched up for isolated scratches. The long-term issue is this type of hardwood finish, over and up to two years tends to dry out in our four-season climate, and requires nourishing through periodic re-oiling.

Pros and Cons of Commercial Flooring Summary

This pros and cons of commercial flooring article is designed to give you a better idea of what to expect when it comes to factors affecting performance, life expectancy and appearance retention when choosing a specific application. Depending on the installation project, each of the above types of flooring provide different levels of wear and tear and also vary in design and aesthetic impact.

As there are many products and applications to choose from, it’s critical to consult with a trusted contractor who understands the requirements of a particular space and how it will impact your flooring investment over time. It’s also important to consider how design will affect long-term functionality for the space, including employees, long after the project is complete.

For a free consultation on your next flooring installation please contact info@darwinfisher.com. For other articles on commercial flooring and industry related news, please click here. 

 

 

 

IMAX Flooring Installation Continues at Canadian Headquarters

As the company has continued to grow worldwide, so has IMAX Canadian headquarters in Mississauga, ON. In an earlier blog post, we profiled the initial phase of the expansion project, which started in 2015.

 “Darwin Fisher completed their scope of work for the project on time and budget,” said Lorna Howieson, Senior Director, Global Facilities and Administration, IMAX Corporation. “That is why they were invited back for Phase Two of this project.”

After the successful completion of Phase One, Darwin Fisher was asked to provide a variety of flooring installation, for 20,000 more square feet of the facility. Darwin Fisher will be focusing on flooring for the reconfiguration of the balance of the existing offices, which includes meeting rooms, boardrooms, washrooms and additional breakout areas.

IMAX headquarters

Phase One Darwin Fisher installation at IMAX headquarters

IMAX Flooring Renovations Phase Two Players

Vestacon Ltd. is the general contractor and Gensler is implementing design.  Phase Two flooring manufacturers include Milliken carpet, LSI Floors, Tarkett Commercial Flooring and Mosa tile.

To ensure the project runs smoothly from a flooring installation perspective, Darwin Fisher pre-ordered all materials which are stored at the company’s warehouse. Pre-ordering ensures proper die lots, colours and patterns in required materials.

“Similar to Phase One, having materials ready to go is a critical part of the project,” says Doug McDonald, President of Darwin Fisher. “Not having to worry about manufacturer lead time allows for more flexibility. For example, some materials are shipped from overseas and require a 12-week plus preorder time. We need to be ready on demand as delays can create a domino effect on other trades.”

McDonald further explains, “It’s a fine balancing act coordinating with all of the differing trades and dealing with ever changing schedules, but things have been moving forward very seamlessly.”

Commercial Flooring Examples Toronto

Phase One Darwin Fisher flooring installation at IMAX headquarters

Phase One IMAX Headquarters Renovation Summary

As was the case in Phase One, Darwin Fisher also makes it a priority to send in the same crew for each installation. This guarantees familiarity with the complex site. It also ensures the installation crew understands health and safety requirements.

 Phase One of the Canadian headquarter development required changes to meeting rooms, boardrooms, main reception, two theatres, more than a half dozen washrooms and break out rooms. Each of these areas had different flooring needs.

Commercial Flooring Examples Toronto

Phase One Darwin Fisher flooring installation at IMAX headquarters

Over 40,000 feet of various flooring materials were required. Of that total there was 3,000 yards of carpet. For the first Phase Darwin Fisher worked with Noran Industries Ltd., a construction management and commercial contracting firm, who was the general contractor for the project.

Phase One was spearheaded by Quadrangle Architects, who was the prime consultant and lead for the project. The flooring installation took place over a 12-week period. Darwin Fisher worked with a variety of flooring vendors including Milliken Carpet, Tandus Centiva, LSI Floors, Johnsonite Commercial Flooring, Stone Tile International and Mosa.

Darwin Fisher supplied and installed carpet tile, ceramic tile, natural stone tile and resilient flooring through out the renovated facility and newly developed areas, including the atrium and main reception.

Commercial Flooring Toronto - IMAX

Phase One Darwin Fisher natural stone installation IMAX headquarters

Installation included a new theatre which required broadloom. Located in front of the IMAX building, the area offers seating for 200 people. It is also used for research and development. A second theatre, designed to demonstrate the IMAX home system also required broadloom.

About IMAX and IMAX Workplace

IMAX, an innovator in entertainment technology, combines proprietary software, architecture and equipment to create experiences that take audiences beyond the edge of their seats to worlds never imagined. Top filmmakers and studios use IMAX theatres to connect with audiences in extraordinary ways and, as such, IMAX’s network is among the most important and successful theatrical distribution platforms for major event films around the globe.

IMAX is headquartered in New York, Toronto and Los Angeles, with additional offices in London, Dublin, Tokyo, and Shanghai. As of September 30, 2018, there were 1,443 IMAX theatre systems (1,346 commercial multiplexes, 13 commercial destinations, 84 institutional) operating in 79 countries. On October 8, 2015, shares of IMAX China, a subsidiary of IMAX Corp., began trading on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange under the stock code “HK.1970.”

Stay tuned for photos from Phase Two!

To see more projects by Darwin Fisher commercial flooring solutions please click here.

For your free commercial flooring consultation please contact info@darwinfisher.com

Dental Office Flooring Trends 2019: LVT Replacing Ceramic Tile, Linoleum + Carpet

As reported in our December blog new technologies are not only changing the flooring industry as a whole but have also become solid, sustainable options in many verticals. In this article we will be focusing on healthcare and specifically the impact of newer technologies on dental office flooring.

This sector has been quickly moving from linoleum and ceramic tile to luxury vinyl tile (LVT). Low maintenance products such as LVT , which we have profiled in the past, have been gaining influence as a viable solution based on design aesthetics, ease of installation, cleaning and maintenance. This type of floor surface is also slip resistant and offers smooth transitions from one area to another.

LVT is extremely versatile from a design perspective. It can replicate the appearance of natural stone or wood but will not wear like natural materials. LVT offers superior thermal and acoustic properties in comparison to hard surface flooring. It won’t chip or discolour and will not expand and contract as wood does in humid or dry seasons. It can also replicate real wood or stone at a fraction of the price. Products made from 100% vinyl are classified as green solutions and eligible for LEED points. LVT is also more economical  from an initial cost perspective (supply + install) over ceramic.

“Dentists are now doing everything they can to make the waiting area as comfortable as possible,” said Dan Burns, President of Canadian Dental Construction, who has 30 years of experience in dental office builds and renovations. “One of the first concepts to consider before all else is the dental office flooring. It will dictate the tone for the rest of the office as it will set the style and comfort a dentist wants for its patients.”

commercial flooring examples Toronto

Photo credit: Canadian Dental Construction

Dental Office Trends: The Move Away from Ceramic

For dental office flooring, there has been a move away from using only ceramic tile. Many of the newer flooring finishes like LVT are being used as they offer a variety of finishes while providing protection from water damage. These materials also offer more padding for longer wear, are damage resistant, easier to clean and require very little maintenance.

There are a few benefits associated with the newer loose lay technology:

  • It’s 5 mm thick and offers a cushioned surface which is ideal for hygienists and dentists who are on their feet all day.
  • Like traditional LVT it wears well and is durable while offering ease of maintenance.
  • After installation, if an accident occurs, the modularity of LVT loose lay flooring systems offer an easy way to isolate a damaged area and provide the flexibility of spot repair rather than having to replace the entire floor.
  • It is aesthetically pleasing as there are many different designs and colours available to meet a variety of project installation needs from a design perspective.

“One of the emerging trends we’ve seen is that loose lay thick LVT (5mm) has performed so well that people just aren’t bothering with ceramic anymore,” says Elizabeth Zhou, project co-ordinator at Darwin Fisher. “Loose lay has been installed at over 10 dental office installations in 2018. This includes the sterilization and lab areas that have typically been ceramic tile in the past. “

Dental Office Trends: LVT Becoming a Long-Term Solution

Loose lay LVT has many of the same performance attributes of traditional LVT but goes above and beyond with other benefits that make it a better option. Loose lay is also fast becoming an ideal product for raised access flooring that are typical to new office builds. It can be easily removed and replaced when needed to areas that require constant or frequent access. Its flexibility allows it to be adapted to be installed over other existing flooring materials for retrofits. It is also now thick enough that it can be laid to be flush with other products in the area such as carpet, hardwood or tile if required for transition areas in dental office flooring.

dental office flooring examples Toronto

Photo credit: Canadian Dental Construction

Due the fact that it requires minimal adhesive when compared to traditional LVT, Loose lay has also become the preferred flooring choice as it is easier to install, remove and replace in terms of maintenance and spot fixing if required. Loose lay also offers better acoustic properties than traditional LVT. The thickness and textured surface helps to absorb sounds which is also ideal for optimizing privacy between patient examination areas.

Dentist offices are no longer cold and clinical. There have been many changes as compared to 20 years ago. “For example, we now design the operatories to be less intimidating so we take as much focus as we can off of the patient chair and plan the room around audio visual….The look is much neater, cleaner and less intimidating for the patient. Even softer lighting in the ceilings is taken into account,” explains Burns.

dental office flooring trends

Photo credit: Canadian Dental Construction

“From a flooring contractor’s perspective the biggest change to date that we’ve seen is  dental office flooring moving away from linoleum or ceramic tile to LVT”, explains Zhou. “LVT is a better solution acoustically over tile. Plus, it’s easy to maintain and repair.”

Also in the past the design community drove 75% of the chosen flooring. This has also changed as Darwin Fisher is driving the flooring selection for almost all of its dental office projects. The migration was made possible over a short time as new and more optimal flooring technologies like LVT were made available that were better suited to the healthcare environment.

“There are still some ceramic tile requests but less than before. For new offices I am actually seeing it more in the entrance vestibule and washrooms rather than sterilization/lab area,” concludes Zhou.

dental office flooring trends

Photo credit: Canadian Dental Construction

Currently, over 80% of dental office flooring installations are LVT for Darwin Fisher clients. The odd time Darwin Fisher gets request for carpet tile; however this is generally if the existing office has carpet and an economical flooring replacement is needed. However, in most instances the dentist will opt to upgrade to new LVT to replace the old flooring.

For more information about dental office renovations and flooring installation solutions please contact info@darwinfisher.com

2019 Commercial Flooring Trends: Innovation and Design

Commercial flooring trends in 2019 will continue to see design technology innovations in addition to a continuing demand for more informal office spaces.

According to market research, new materials that offer ease of installation in commercial and industrial flooring applications are also driving this market.  

2019 Commercial Flooring Trends: New Designs, Colours, Accents and Textures

In the past most commercial  projects were straightforward functional builds. There wasn’t much in the way of design and many projects were similar.  Today the commercial flooring market has seen a strong emergence of colour/texture palettes, which was rare in the past. More resources are now being spent on accents and textures in the design of a space. There are more colours, borders and features inlayed within walls/floors in commercial projects, including non-public spaces. 

2019 commercial flooring trends
Photo credit Centura: Accents and textures in porcelain tile

These types of features have been made possible by the introduction of plank carpet tiles and specialty cut LVT & porcelain tiles (see our previous blog posts) with new product design technology. Floor and wall finishes are now available in all shapes (hexagon, triangle, plank and tile) and sizes.

Although these materials are currently trending they are long lasting and will provide return on investment as they are quite durable and require low maintenance.

commercial flooring trends 2019
Darwin Fisher LVT installation

2019 Commercial Flooring Trends: Luxury Vinyl Tile

LVT is extremely versatile from a design perspective. It can replicate the appearance of natural stone or wood but will not wear like natural materials. LVT offers superior thermal and acoustic properties in comparison to hard surface flooring. It won’t chip or discolour and will not expand and contract as wood does in humid or dry seasons. It can also replicate real wood or stone at a fraction of the price. Products made from 100% vinyl are classified as green solutions and eligible for LEED points.

Equipped with a protective wear layer the floor generally needs very little attention to maintain its appearance. It’s water resistant and makes it easy to wipe away surface spills. It’s a good commercial flooring application  alternative as it does not require a high amount of maintenance over its lifespan. A simple sweep or damp mop is all that is required.

2019 Commercial Flooring Trends: Carpet Tile

Carpet tile technology has progressed significantly. Carpet tile systems provide greater flexibility for installation and refitting for a variety of applications across many industries including healthcare, hospitality, retail, education and the entertainment industry.  It is extremely durable and spot areas can be easily changed without requiring additional installation expertise.

Commercial Flooring Examples Toronto 2019
Darwin Fisher carpet tile installation

New pattern matching technology ensures that design and patterns are maintained, and the appearance of the finished product resembles broadloom carpet when installed. Fixing broadloom is a larger and more complicated process in terms of seam and pattern matching. It also makes it difficult to fix if there is no broadloom attic stock available.

According to the Milliken Flooring Blog carpet absorbs 3x more noise than hard flooring and can increase productivity by offering extra cushioning for employees who spend a lot of time standing.

2019 Commercial Flooring Trends: Digitally Printed Porcelain Tile

Thanks to manufacturing advancements and innovations in digital printing processes, today’s porcelain finishes mimic a variety of materials that are often difficult to easily discern with the naked eye. The new technology affords detail so precise that these products can mirror the look and feel of a traditional hardwood floor.

commercial flooring design trends 2019
Photo credit Centura: Porcelain tile that looks like stone

“More designers are open to this because they mimic the look of real wood but provide you with ease of maintenance,” says Elizabeth Livingston, Architectural & Design Consultant for Toronto-based, Centura Tile. “This technology has resulted in incredible detail and vividness of surface designs applied to porcelain, resulting in tile virtually indistinguishable from actual marble, stone and wood, as well as the ability to create an endless number of unique designs and colours.”

commercial flooring design trends 2019
Photo credit Centura: Porcelain tile that mimics wood

“When you have wood, the available finishes are limited,” says Livingston. “When you have a wood porcelain plank the finishes are generally anatural finish, but some lines are available in a polished finish as well as atextured finish for wet areas. The digital possibilities are endless.”

No longer limited to traditional sizes, tile can now be manufactured in what are called planks, or tiles that are rectangular in shape. Manufacturers now offer tiles in an assortment of thicknesses from 3.5mm to 20mm thick pavers. Options as thin as a 3.5 mm thick profile can be used for walls, or ventilated façade systems, or on the underside of soffits for large structures such as universities or office buildings.

GrandView Research, Inc., reports the global commercial flooring market size for was valued at USD 27.06 billion in 2016. Product innovation and hassle-free installation technologies in the floor covering sector are expected to expand the industry size over the next eight years.

“Rising demand in construction industry coupled with changing consumer lifestyles and growing demand for insulation are expected to remain the key market drivers. The increasing availability of innovative building solutions that are durable and require low maintenance is projected to impact the industry.”

2019 Commercial Flooring Trends by Vertical

The new technologies are not only impacting the flooring industry as a whole but have also become solid, sustainable options in many verticals. 

Health care

Low maintenance sheet and tile products make the most sense for this sector —including rubber, linoleum, sheet vinyl, and vinyl as this vertical requires a multitude of elements including sanitization for pathogen control and containment. Ease of cleaning, sterilization and maintenance are critical. Floor surfaces also need to be slip resistant and offer smooth transitions from one area to another.

Education

Driven by ever diminishing budgets flooring has to be low maintenance and offer long term durability to protect investments. Often used in these environments are polished concrete, VCT, carpet tiles, and broadloom for main areas with wood and rubber used in recreational areas.

Retail/Hospitality/Entertainment

A wide variety of options areavailable that are generally driven by the specific brand. For example DarwinFisher recently installed new flooring in one of Winner’s newly renovatedstores. We partnered with Pro-Con for a Winner’s Merchants International  installation. The department store chain required a new fit at Lindsay Square Mall in Lindsay, ON.  This location represents the first store in Canada to apply Winner’s new, modern and more upscale design. Changes included a wood grain luxury vinyl tile floor finish and accent areas, in addition to vinyl tile, providing a more sophisticated look see more here.

There are different finishes seen in the retail sector. A mixture of wood, polished concrete, LVT, and digitally printed porcelain tile can be found amongst others.

Digitally printed porcelain finishes are especially well suited to commercial use such as restaurants, hotels, spas, entertainment and retail spaces, making it a perfect fit for any high-traffic area that requires durability and long wear. This type of porcelain can also be offered in slip resistant finishes where required.

2019 Commercial Flooring Trends: Corporate Offices Becoming More Informal

“We are definitely seeing a trend towards creating a more comfortable home-like experience in the office,”says Susan Quinn, Account Executive of Toronto-based, Mohawk Group. “In order to retain and ensure employees are happy at work there is an influx of residential finishes and concepts being brought into the corporate environment…Clients are wanting softer, more tactile surfaces with lots of big pattern and texture.”

 

2019 commercial flooring trends
Photo credit Mohawk Group: Patterns and textures

“We’ve seen some major changes in the development of new materials and applications that are technologically superior and aesthetically pleasing,” says Doug McDonald, President of Darwin Fisher Commercial Flooring, Inc.

“As there are a wide range of choices available, specifying product can be challenging,” says McDonald.  “As a result, we offer all of our customers our expertise and assistance in evaluating products performance/cost ratios to ensure a budget meets all the targets of a project”.

For a free consultation on your next flooring installation please contact info@darwinfisher.com. For other articles on commercial flooring and industry related news, please click here. 

Residential Meets Commercial Office Flooring Design: Part II

Flooring design represents the first step as many organizations continue to adopt a more residential style of workspace. The intent behind this trend? Boost employee morale and productivity through comfortable, open spaces that foster connection.

As a follow up to our previous blog in this series, we have seen a continued trend of organizations providing flexible hours and workspaces. The result has been more residential style flooring designs and office layouts which provide welcoming environments, while providing all of the amenities of home.

Toronto flooring examples Darwin Fisher

Photo credit: Mohawk Group

As a result, a large array of new materials and their application are giving way to the blurring boundaries between commercial and residential, beginning with flooring design.

Flooring Designs: More Choices Through Technological Advances

Advances in application technology have yielded cost savings for clients by imitating expensive design. This includes thin format porcelain panels that look like marble slabs, LVT with graining and texture to look and feel like real wood and rectangular porcelain tile with 3D design to look like a chevron pattern. All of these options are much more economical to purchase and install.

Toronto flooring contractor

Photo credit: Mohawk Group

New materials also offer bright, vibrant colours and more detail has become standard. Dull neutrals and unassuming colours are now replaced by energetic, creative selections to match the more informal furniture now being found in collective work areas and office entrances.

“We are definitely seeing a more home-like experience in the office,” says Susan Quinn, Account Executive of Toronto-based, Mohawk Group. “In order to retain and ensure employees are happy at work there is an influx of residential finishes and concepts being brought into the corporate environment. Modern offices are being built with collaboration, communication and modularity in mind to enhance productivity and employee satisfaction.”

Corporate designs are becoming multifunctional in nature and include smaller furniture footprints that can be easily rearranged. Plush, comfortable couches are more the norm and traditional cubicles are being replaced by open concept configurations and modular, movable furniture.

Commercial flooring examples Toronto

Photo credit: Mohawk Group

Quinn explains there is now a stronger focus on amenity areas, including increased opportunities for touchdowns as well as areas that are plug and play. Kitchens are becoming more residential with comfortable seating and gathering areas. There is also more attention focused on interfacing with outdoor areas.

Increased Employee Productivity

Blair Setford who is Director, Product Management, at a wealth management company in Mississauga, ON agrees. He enjoys his work environment because he is able to walk down the hall from his office, through the modular kitchen, and out onto the patio. Here the company often hosts corporate/department BBQs and events and provides outdoor tables, including high top seating for its employees and guests. When weather permits, internal meetings are held on the patio, depending on the time of year, and Setford feels these options make employees more productive.

Commercial flooring examples Toronto - Darwin Fisher

Photo credit: Blair Setford

“We like to get outside and enjoy some sunshine, “ says Setford. “Because we are in a suburban location we have to look for amenities to attract talented people to our location and that’s one way we can do it – our own patio.”

The office at Setford’s workplace is a mixture of carpet tile and laminate flooring design. The kitchen offers a foosball table plus a variety of different types of seating for employees. Often employees will congregate in the kitchen an enjoy a game of foosball, or two, at lunch or while having a meeting.

Darwin Fisher commercial flooring Toronto

Photo credit: Blair Setford

The blending of home and office flooring design has also been seen at Darwin Fisher. Elizabeth Zhou, Darwin Fisher’s Project Co-ordinator sees a continuing pattern of more design resources being spent on accents and textures. There are a lot of accent colours, borders and feature within walls/floors in commercial projects, even in non-public spaces.

Flooring Design: A Variety of Finishes And Patterns

“We see more herringbone and chevron installation patterns of carpet, LVT and porcelain tiles that has been made possible with new product design technology. Floor and wall finishes are also now available in all shapes (hexagon, triangle, plank and tile) and sizes,” says Zhou.

This trend has showed no sign of slowing down as there is increased demand for softer, more tactile surfaces with varied patterns and textures. It has become more the norm for today’s more residentially-infused office designs take into account the entire experience. Customers, guests, employees and their comfort is now the focus on every aspect of the designed space.

For information on how to incorporate residential design into your next commercial build or renovation, please contact info@darwinfisher.com

Craft Contracting and Darwin Fisher: Paradise Developments

Darwin Fisher Commercial Flooring has a trusted network, partnering with contractors who share the same vision related to craftsmanship and customer service. Recently, Craft Contracting and Darwin Fisher collaborated on a new build project for Toronto-based, Paradise Developments.

Paradise Developments, established in 1972, has been building communities for over four decades. Paradise has built over 13,000 homes to date and is known for its experience and craftsmanship. The builder takes all details into account including location, amenities, open spaces and streetscape, when collaborating with planners, architects, designers and trades.

“Homebuilding gives us a profound sense of fulfillment as we strive every day to provide better environments, contribute to better schools, and support the communities with a sense of social consciousness – all with a level of integrity, respect and compassion for the world which we live in,” the company states.

Commercial Flooring: Starting the Project for the New Head Office

Paradise needed to provide a central location not only for staff but for their new home buyers. This new location would offer final selections for newly purchased homes including flooring, kitchen countertops and bathroom finishes. This required a new head office for the developer.

Darwin Fisher Commercial Flooring was contracted by trusted partner, Craft Contracting, to install part of the required flooring for Paradise’s new head office in Toronto at Heron’s Hill Way.

Commercial flooring projects Toronto

Photo credit: Craft Contracting

Aligning with Craft Contracting

Craft, established in 1998, provides design-build, construction management and general contracting services to corporations in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).  The company’s experience includes design-build, commercial improvement and renovation projects. The construction company also works closely with building owners, design firms, leasing agents, and property managers.

“From start to finish, we strive to delight our clients through our collaborative approach. Craft takes a hands on approach for all projects under our care and supervision. From the first meeting to final walk through after job completion, we strive to delight our clients through our collaborative approach ensuring that both design/business criteria and financial goals are met,” the company states.

The Final Result

Darwin Fisher Commercial Flooring was chosen to install a variety of flooring materials throughout the newly constructed office. The main lobby and stairwell were finished with porcelain tile, including a feature wall in the main entrance.  All porcelain tile and wall tile for Paradise Development’s first floor showroom was also provided by Darwin Fisher.

Tile was installed for kitchen showroom concepts and for the staff cafeteria. Darwin Fisher further installed tile in all bathrooms in the building, the front entrance and all flooring on the first floor. Carpet tile was then installed for open areas on the second floor, including staff offices and boardrooms.

Craft and Darwin Fisher worked together to provide a stunning result despite an intensive schedule of working with a variety of different trades to get the job finished on time and to the satisfaction of Paradise Developments.

For more information about Craft and to see all of the final project images please click here.

For more information about Paradise Developments, please click here.

For a free consultation on your next commercial flooring installation please contact info@darwinfisher.com.

 

 

 

Five Expert Tips For Maintaining Your Hardwood Investment

Maintenance After Installation Series: Focus on Hardwood

There are many decisions to make before embarking on your hardwood installation project. Working with a provider who understands the varied intricacies involved is important, as well as seeing the chosen product pre-installation, to ensure it satisfies the needs of both the designer and end user.

Following are a few expert tips to consider before beginning. These considerations will also affect long-term maintenance and protect your hardwood installation investment over the life expectancy of your floor:

1. Determining the Location for Hardwood Installation

Before the hardwood is chosen there are several things to determine, including where the installation taking place. Hardwood, while aesthetically pleasing, would not be recommended in the main entrance of an office building. Seasonal precipitation and chemicals could damage the appearance and life expectancy. It further requires more maintenance over time in terms of dents, cracks, scratches and scuffs due to high volume of traffic.

The office environment where the hardwood is being installed is also key as it must offer no lower than 35% relative humidity. This is harder to maintain during the winter season, but most newer buildings (within the last 10 years) offer humidification pumps to accommodate and maintain relative humidity.

Commercial Flooring examples Toronto

2. Choose the Right Product for Your Hardwood Installation Project

Most commercial hardwood installations are prefinished which means that the product chosen is stained, urethaned and ready for install. This engineered hardwood represents most of the commercial product sold today, however raw wood installations that are sanded, stained and urethaned on site, are generally required when there are special widths or design elements that cannot be met by prefinished requirements.

Below is picture of how most engineered hardwood looks today. You can see the actual thickness of the hardwood and how it is laminated with plywood underneath to give stability and backing to secure to the subfloor. Most hardwood is produced this way as there are many layers of pressed wood to give stability, plus a thick wood veneer on the surface for several sandings, to be followed by a choice of a variety of sealants.

Commercial Flooring Toronto Darwin Fisher

Engineered Hardwood Sample

3. Choose the Right Finish for Your Hardwood Installation

The next consideration is the actual finish. There are 3 types of hardwood finishes. lacquer, water-based urethane and oil or hard wax oil finished. “The majority of the market is lacquer or varathane hardwood,” says says Graham Linton, General Manager of Interior Care.

“The water-based urethane finishes have no VOCs (volatile organic compounds) so are low in odour. They also have a hardener component that cures. This means less downtime as it can be walked on after four hours,” says Linton.  “This allows average sized jobs to be complete and ready for use in one day.”

Interior Care is a member of Darwin Fisher’s trusted partner program. Interior Care offers a comprehensive client maintenance package. Established in 1964, the firm is owned and operated by the Linton family. Servicing all types of flooring finishes, including hardwood, this firm is now in its third generation. It is one of the largest privately-owned specialty flooring maintenance service businesses in Canada. Staff maintain over 700 corporate offices in Southern Ontario.

4. How the Hardwood Installation Finish Affects Maintenance

“Varathane hardwood can be maintained with specialty cleaning products or with a damp mopping – never over wet,” says Linton.  “Hardwood installs that have an oil finished product make scratches less visible and can be oiled out. With urethane or lacquer, it’s difficult to impossible to fix scratches without a refinish.”

Linton goes onto explain that if the scratches are deeper than the actual finish, isolating the repair is difficult. He recommends a refresh of the hardwood finish every 8-10 years depending on the wear and tear of the floor. This is a process called ‘buff and coat’  whereby a contractor surface screens (light sanding) the top layers of the hardwood and applies a new coat of finish which can be varathane or longer wearing urethane.

“The newer trendier hardwood finished floors are oil finished,” says Linton. “This is in contrast to the hard varathane or urethane finishes that show scratches and need full finishing to correct.” Oil or hard wax oil finishes can be oiled and touched up for isolated scratches. The long term issue is this type of hardwood finish, over and up to two years tends to dry out in our four season climate and requires nourishing through periodic re-oiling.

 5. Daily Maintenance of Your Hardwood Installation to Preserve Investment

“For daily maintenance for these specialty oil finishes there is a product to clean and refresh called ‘soap conditioner.’ This is a regular wet cleaning procedure and is simply part of your weekly upkeep of the hardwood,” says Linton.

Another very simple maintenance solution is to ensure the glides on the bottom of the legs of the furniture are replaced or covered with felt – this prevents surface scratching. Felt glides should be changed frequently as they will wear with use.

Darwin Fisher Commercial Flooring examples Toronto

Photo credit: Unsplash

Following these expert tips will not only ensure a successful hardwood installation project, but return on investment over the life of your flooring. Backed by a simple but effective maintenance care program, your hardwood will maintain a quality appearance despite the wear and tear of regular office traffic.

For a free consultation on your next flooring installation please contact info@darwinfisher.comFor other articles on our maintenance after installation series, please click here. 

For more information regarding Interior Care, please click here.

 

Service Canada: A Darwin Fisher Case Study

Service Canada is a federal institution that is part of Employment and Social Development Canada. Service Canada’s origins began in 1998 when the Canadian government began developing an integrated citizen-centered service strategy based on detailed surveys of citizens’ needs and expectations.

Operations launched in September 2005, when Service Canada began to officially provide Canadians with a single point of access to a full range of government services and benefits by Internet, telephone, in person, or by mail. According to Wikipedia, Service Canada currently has well over 600 in-person offices  and over 200 mobile outreach service units that operate in remote and isolated areas. Over the years, Service Canada has partnered with over 14 other departments and agencies to provide access to more than 50 government programs and services. It also had established close to 500 points of service across Canada – many of which are outreach and mobile offices designed to deliver programs and services into rural and remote areas.

These numbers are growing, and the ultimate goal is to provide Canadians with a single point of access to all government programs and services regardless of where they live or how they wish to interact with the government.

Service Canada

Through this expansion, Service Canada’s St. Catharines location required new flooring as the existing installation had issues and odors. At that time, Service Canada was also launching a new look which included furniture, paint, light fixtures and accents that were required for the 8,500 square foot (sq ft) space.

Service Canada Job Awarded to Darwin Fisher

A request for proposal was issued by Public Services and Procurement Canada and Darwin Fisher Commercial Flooring was the chosen contractor for the project. When the project was awarded, the design was executed by Service Canada. Darwin Fisher then provided mock ups, based on service Canada’s requirements, for approval.

The product chosen was Mondo Contract Flooring rubber flooring sheets and tiles. This would be used for 4,500 sq ft of the flooring. Mondo is a global leader in the rubber flooring market, engineering quality surfaces to meet the highest standards in the industry. Through decades of experience and R&D, Mondo has developed contract rubber flooring that is durable, comfortable, easy to maintain, hygienic, safe and environmentally responsible for education, healthcare and corporate environments.

Commercial Flooring Examples Toronto

Darwin Fisher installation Service Canada

Mirela Nasaudean, was the Project Manager (PM) and Designer at Public Works Canada (now called Public Services and Procurement Canada), at the time of the project.  Nasaudean explained that leases are generally 5-10 years, therefore finishes are chosen to have long life efficiency. As a result, research for products (which used to be 3-5 years) has now changed to 5-10 years.   The other thing that is becoming more important is environmentally sustainable products like Mondo. Other factors that affect the decision making process include cost, reliability, delivery, timeliness and professionalism.

Service Canada Flooring Installation

The rubber flooring and tile installation was complex as flooring accents were required. This precision detail included inlays and an integrated design (see more Service Canada project pictures here). The remaining 4,000 sq ft required carpet tile, also installed by Darwin Fisher. In the past Nasaudean had used another installer and she was not pleased with the job. “I’ve seen very bad installation. To make my clients happy I need to ensure the product is installed properly and right.”

Commercial Flooring Examples Toronto

Darwin Fisher installation Service Canada

Nasaudean also explains that when the project is initiated the line of communication is crucial. “As the PM I need an open line of communication with all of the subs and contractors. Darwin Fisher was always on site and on top of the job throughout the installation process. I can’t speak enough about what a great experience I had working with Darwin Fisher,” she said.

“They are friendly, extremely professional and I trusted them right away. They execute quality installations and immediately assess and correct issues if they arise. They have also been there for me long after the job is over and I don’t have to chase them. It’s one phone call and my needs are taken care of. They always do a great job and I will always recommend them…I’ve always had a great experience with them. “

For a free consultation on your next flooring installation please contact info@darwinfisher.com

Don’t Risk It! 9 Things to Ensure You Hire A Reputable Flooring Contractor

When looking for a reputable commercial flooring contractor it’s important to consider the firm’s longevity, past history, product knowledge and overall service offering.

A proven track record in delivering solutions for distinct and unique commercial workplace requirements is key. Professionals with this expertise understand the challenges and demands of different types of projects spanning from renovations to new builds. They will be able to handle all aspects from design right through to installation. Your contractor will be the one who will offer options, point out pitfalls and educate you so that your project is a success.

1. A Reputable Commercial Flooring Contractor – Shows Project Work and Shares References

Finding a contractor is more than a Google search that offers options nearest you. A firm with a good reputation and references to share is a good first start.

Reputable flooring contractor | Darwin Fisher

Get references

You will want to ensure that they are adept at surveying the location in question and how that relates to the type of flooring to be installed. They will examine any possible flooring concerns through an initial onsite meeting.

2. A Reputable Commercial Flooring Contractor – Stays on Time and on Budget

Your contractor will help in evaluating product performance/cost ratios to ensure a budget meets all the targets of a project.

Reputable flooring contractor | Darwin Fisher Commerical Flooring

Stays on time and on budget

Proposals should provide line item budgets that capture the detail of site preparation and installation factors, post installation maintenance and the many details that make a job unique. This approach ensures the tracking of the status of the project as it moves through the implementation cycle which will be important for staying on time and within budget parameters.

3. A Reputable Commercial Flooring Contractor – Manages Resources On Site

Ensure your reputable commercial flooring contractor uses qualified installers and will designate a project manager that will be on site to monitor the project as it unfolds. A seasoned team is required to work with other on-site trades to ensure efficient co-ordination of activities. There are complexities associated with scheduling when combined with working with a variety of different trades that can affect day to day outcomes.

Reputable commercial flooring contractor Toronto | Darwin Fisher

Project management on site

When there are no gaps in communication it will help to alleviate problems before they occur and allow your contractor to suggest alternatives and recommendations. This ensures that your requirements are efficiently and effectively executed.

4. A Reputable Commercial Flooring Contractor – Has Good Product Knowledge

Reputable commercial flooring contractor Toronto | Darwin Fisher

Solid relationships with manufacturers

It’s important for commercial flooring contractors to have positive and long-standing relationships with the manufacturer’s brands they carry. True flooring specialists will have in-depth knowledge of the products that they install. They will make recommendations for your specific project and advise what type of products will offer the best performance.

Understanding the challenges associated with life expectancy, appearance retention and ongoing maintenance are issues that require consideration. Installing the wrong product can create many issues. Prior to installation, a good flooring contractor will help with providing product characteristic data which will help to mitigate future problems – from the sub floor to surface.

5. A Reputable Commercial Flooring Contractor – Belongs to a Commercial Flooring Standards Network

Ask if the commercial flooring contractor belongs to a well-known trade organization. Since 2006, Darwin Fisher has been a Starnet Worldwide, Commercial Flooring Partnership member. Starnet is comprised of over 170 full-service flooring contractors representing more than 300 locations throughout North America.

With $3 billion in annual sales, Starnet is the single most influential force in the contract flooring industry. From its nationwide network of dealers to its best-in-category vendor partners, everyone involved with Starnet is at the top of the industry.

Reputable flooring contractor Toronto | Darwin Fisher

Through the alliance, Darwin Fisher has partnerships with the most skilled commercial flooring professionals and highest quality flooring manufacturers, to deliver successful installation projects all over North America. Values are built on quality, reliability and service that is guaranteed by the organization’s code of ethics.

Access is provided to other dealers who provide a forum to discuss new issues. This ensures Darwin Fisher is part of a bigger group enabling clients with leading-edge technology and resources. Starnet also offers a list of preferred suppliers, which guarantees the quality all materials supplied.

6.  A Reputable Commercial Flooring Contractor – Minimizes Disruption and Downtime

A reputable commercial flooring contractor will also look for ways to minimize or eliminate downtime and disruption.  Darwin Fisher offers technology called Levitate –  an Office Lifting System that allows carpet to be replaced with no downtime. Levitate is a series of custom designed mechanical tools which are placed underneath any type of office furniture to lift it smoothly and safely. Once the furniture and workstations are raised the carpet is quickly and easily installed without disruption to employee workstations.

7. A Reputable Commercial Flooring Contractor – Has A Warehouse to Help Lower Costs

Having a warehouse is also an important value add. The flexibility and functionality of a warehouse helps improve customer service, lower costs and offers the availability to have the right products delivered, at the right place and time. It can also be used to  store products that need longer lead times when being shipped from overseas. It is also helpful if there are several iterations of a larger project which require the phasing in of a variety of flooring materials, and longer-term storage is needed.

Reputable Commercial Flooring Contractor Toronto

Has a warehouse to help lower costs

8. A Reputable Commercial Flooring Contractor – Understands Manufacturer Warranty

Inquire about after sales and installation service. Reputable contractors with good relationships with manufacturers will be registered and understand warranty information as an authorized dealer.

9. A Reputable Commercial Flooring Contractor – Stands Behind Completed Work

Your contractor should  be with you every step and long after the project is complete. If there are any issues after installation, a good contactor will stand behind their work and remedy the problem.

Go further than a simple Google search. Ensure your chosen contractor has  experience, longevity, is financially stable and can offer an array of past projects and references. This will ensure your satisfaction and project success.

For a free consultation on your next flooring installation please contact info@darwinfisher.com.

 

 

Our Partner Network: Focus on Ingenuity – Building It Like They Used To

Darwin Fisher’s long-standing relationship with Mississauga, ON-based Ingenuity was built on shared values and a passion for the industry. From new builds to renovations, their collaboration demonstrates how a team-oriented approach is essential to client satisfaction and project success.

Ingenuity was founded in 2006 by Mario Viti, Peter Viti and Matthew Bucci. The firm’s mandate was to bring attention to detail and craft while putting people first (clients, communities, tenants, trades) by offering exceptional quality and service.

At that time, the three founders realized that a once positive perception of the construction industry had shifted to cynicism, distrust and a lack of confidence.

“Our industry used to be one of a shared love for craft as true craftsmanship went into every room, building or neighborhood that was built,” say Mario Viti, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer at Ingenuity. “When you enter a building that was built 100 or more years ago, you can still see the care for craft, the details and the passion that went into the project. At some point, when tight timelines and bottom-line pricing started to become the requirement, our industry expectation shifted. Construction companies began doing whatever it took to ensure a quick build at a cheap price.”

Ingenuity: Anchored in Craft and Quality

As a result, Viti explains the industry slowly built itself a reputation for being untrustworthy, notorious for ‘shoddy workmanship’ and lacking in adherence to project timelines and budget.  “Ingenuity was founded to offer transparency, honesty, true-to-expectation pricing and full risk assessment. We deliver on what we promise. Our goal then was to rebuild the trust in our industry and get it back to being one anchored in craft and quality. Today we are a seasoned, dedicated, and passionate group that helps clients envision a new room, building, or business park.”  Ingenuity’s owners are highly involved with every project and start every day on-site. “Our team is comprised of other experienced, passionate individuals, who feel pride in every project that takes place.  We help other people see, appreciate, and enjoy the spark at the heart of our craft,” adds Viti.

As a commercial builder and general contractor, Ingenuity clients range from those with a vast, detailed knowledge of the construction industry, to clients who have never been part of a construction project. As a result, every project is customized, making sure all details are explained, while ensuring the client feels informed and comfortable at every stage of a project.

“We have personal and meaningful partnerships with some of the industry’s most talented individuals and firms,” says Peter Viti, Co-Founder and Principal at Ingenuity . “This includes architects, interior designers, land developers, business owners, real estate consultants, business real estate professionals and of course a variety of trusted and passionate subtrades that we hand-pick for their quality of work and not their bottom-line price.”

team-oriented design, build and commercial flooring project

Ingenuity + Darwin Fisher: Earth Fresh

Carefully Chosen Partners

Ingenuity chooses partners that share common values. This means not being the cheapest, fastest or most profitable. Partners are carefully chosen and share a common goal of being client and craft focused, while having a strong passion for the industry.  “We begin all projects with a team-oriented approach” says Co-founder and Managing Partner, Matthew Bucci. Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) is an approach to building that boils down to all project collaborators working together on the same page from the get-go.  The model creates efficiencies, reduces redundancy and makes better use of what all project members bring to the table. It’s a ‘whole is greater than the sum of the parts’ mentality because everyone is on the same page about the vision from the outset.  “The partners we work with often share the same mentality,” adds Bucci.

Ingenuity and Darwin Fisher – A Team-Oriented Approach

Darwin Fisher has been an Ingenuity partner for over 10 years, collaborating on a variety of projects. “Darwin always delivers,” says Adam Kozak, Ingenuity Project Manager. “That’s why we trust them to provide a quality service from tender to closeout. The proposals they provide are unmatched. Every piece of work is clearly defined. There is no confusion in relation to the scope of work. During construction, they work with us to accommodate the schedule. In the end, they help deliver the project on time and on budget. “

Kozak goes on to explain that for projects such as Earth Fresh, (see below) Darwin Fisher is always equipped with a strong and reliable staff that are able to provide the support needed. “They offer design services that help the client optimize their expectations and select material best suited for their needs. Their dependable resources ensure the team that the right decisions are made throughout the project.”

team-oriented design, build and commercial flooring project

Ingenuity + Darwin Fisher: Earth Fresh

Ingenuity’s All in One, Team-Oriented Solution

Ingenuity offers an all-encompassing solution or can work in varying capacities as per project requirements. Its three main service offerings include the following:

  1. Design-Build

    – building a concept in partnership with a client using hand-picked designers, architects and subtrades to develop into the complete project as envisioned by the client.

  2. General Contracting

    – the project is designed and Ingenuity brings its construction expertise to assemble the right team to see the design come to life with full construction services.

  3. Professional Services

    – Ingenuity will consult on a project and bring construction and design expertise to a group as needed.

“Every project becomes a new challenge for us,” says Bucci. “Every client has a different idea; a different expectation and each project comes with its own intricacies that sends us down a new path of discovery.  We find ourselves learning something new with every project that comes our way.  Twelve years into Ingenuity, we can confidently take on a project as small as an interior retail fit-out to as large as a multi-building, multi-acre business park with individual tenants who each has their own set of needs, design expectations and personalities.”

Peter Viti agrees. “We’ve learned how to work in old buildings, respecting and preserving its heritage. We’ve worked with local conservation authorities, respecting the greenspace around us.  We’ve worked with brands that range from potato growers to aerospace engineers to coffee shops and grocery stores. Our depth of services is growing every day as we learn with every new project.  We don’t see our own education in this industry stopping anytime soon.”

See other Darwin Fisher projects here. For a free consultation on your next flooring installation please contact info@darwinfisher.com.

For more information about Ingenuity please click here.

3 Proven Strategies for Maximizing Your Carpet Investment

Maintenance After Installation Series: Focus on Carpet Tile

In our last blog post we examined picking the right product for your next build or renovation. Once the flooring product you’ve chosen is installed, protecting your investment over the product’s lifespan is the next step.

In this article, which will be the first of our flooring maintenance series, we will focus on carpet tile.

commercial carpet tile cleaning and maintenance Toronto

Darwin Fisher Carpet Installation: Entertainment One

A good rule of thumb is to budget an extra 10-15% stock at time of purchase so that if a specific area becomes damaged or worn, individual tiles can simply be swapped out. This is especially apparent in heavy traffic zones like reception and under desk swivel chairs. Beyond regular wear and tear a maintenance program will also preserve appearance.

The Importance of Maintenance and Cleaning Programs

On an annual basis, there are three long-term maintenance strategies to protect your carpet, image and guarantee your overall investment:

1. If you maintain your carpets as per manufacturer guidelines, your 10-year appearance warranty will be met if any issues arise to the wear/appearance

2. The actual quality of the carpet appearance will last longer extending the life of your investment

3. A maintenance plan protects the image of your company on a monthly basis, rather than a once a year cleaning. Visible soiling and staining are reflected for the remaining 11 months and can cause damage

For general maintenance, modular systems can be easily cleaned by vacuuming. The backing commonly found on carpet tile allows for ease in spill and soiling removal. Staining is confined to the fibre rather than absorbent backing common in broadloom carpet. However, these simple steps may not be enough.

Commercial flooring cleaning and maintenance

Photo credit: Interior Care

Darwin Fisher’s trusted partner program, offers a comprehensive client maintenance package through Toronto-based Interior Care. Interior Care, established in 1964, is owned and operated by the Linton family. Now in its  third generation, it is one of the largest privately-owned specialty cleaning services in Canada. Staff maintain over 700 corporate offices in Southern Ontario, cleaning in excess of 10 million square feet of carpet each month.

“Our maintenance plans remove embedded dust and allergens not reachable by your daily vacuum service,” says Graham Linton, General Manager of Interior Care.

All employees at Interior Care are certified. The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration (IICRC) is an established certification body for the textile cleaning industry. Its standards are endorsed and a requirement of carpet manufacturers worldwide.

Commercial flooring cleaning and maintenance

Photo Credit: Interior Care

Interior Care service technicians are required to maintain their certification status by attending three annual, two-day IICRC instructed in-class programs . Each individual is required to maintain a passing grade of 80% as part of their ongoing training.

“Regularly maintained carpet tile by an IICRC certified firm will ensure a healthier environment for your employees,” explains Linton. “Also, regular carpet care (as specified by all carpet manufacturers) can increase carpet investment two to four years past the expected eight to 10-year life expectancy. When ignored, abrasive and gritty soiling wears on fibre which shortens appearance retention and can cause premature wear over time.”

Scheduled Maintenance Benefits

Linton’s team will visit the client on location and develop a maintenance plan for monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly service. This is determined by the appropriate level of maintenance required for the specified office.

Commercial Flooring Cleaning and Maintenance Toronto

Darwin Fisher carpet installation: Entertainment One

This is reliant on a number of factors including:

  • Office traffic and number of employees
  • Colour of the carpet (lighter carpets show more dirt and spills)
  • Level of appearance required (i.e. a professional law firm or a training centre)
  • The actual location of the carpet that requires cleaning (entrance as opposed to second floor)

In addition to regular carpet care, seasonal weather patterns can require front entrance matting systems. Darwin Fisher and Interior Care supply custom fit traffic matting which has two purposes:

  1. Prevent slips and falls on a wet hard floor (see future articles in this series)
  2. To absorb wet soiling specifically in winter. Each step on a traffic mat removes a high percentage of wet soiling that would otherwise be absorbed into the office carpet tile – another preventative maintenance step to better protect overall investment.

Stay tuned for future articles on how to protect your flooring investment as we profile different applications throughout the remainder of the year.

For a free consultation on your next flooring installation please contact info@darwinfisher.com

For more information regarding Interior Care, please click here.

The Sample Library and Picking the Right Product for Your Project

When installing a commercial project, it’s important to predetermine what works best through flooring samples. Aesthetics are important but the material must be able to withstand traffic patterns and the requirements of the intended location.

For example, carpet tile is ideal for high performance locations such as offices, schools, hotels, airports and retail projects, as it is extremely durable.

Commercial Flooring Examples and Samples Toronto

Darwin Fisher: Carpet tile installation

Beyond performance, understanding life expectancy, appearance retention and maintenance required is also key. Installing the wrong product can create many issues. Prior to installation, research on product characteristics will help to mitigate future problems – from the sub floor to surface.

Flooring Samples Help Determine Which Materials Make Sense

Whether the project is a large or small installation, the required lifespan will determine time, complexity of preparation needed and the choice of materials. These factors will also dictate budget. There are many flooring options and related samples to choose from including carpet tile, luxury vinyl tile, hardwood and ceramic.

As today’s flooring choices offer a vast array of styles, colours and finishes, Darwin Fisher provides flooring samples of varying different materials onsite. A flooring sample library acts as a valuable resource for both designers and end users when picking the best-suited materials for the installation at hand.

Flooring Manufacturer Samples

Flooring samples from a variety of reputable flooring manufacturers are made available here. Products fall under the categories of carpet, resilient and hard surfaces and hardwood and laminate.  Manufacturer samples include leading product vendors: Milliken, Mohawk, Armstrong, Olympia Tile, and Mannington Commercial.

Commercial flooring samples Toronto

Commercial flooring manufacturers

Images of products are provided online, however actual flooring samples can help make the final decision for preference, colour, pattern, ‘look and feel’, surface finish and other characteristics.

It will also help to determine materials for project parameters that have specific needs. For instance, requests for non-glue flooring are increasing, especially in newer buildings that demand raised access flooring. Some modern office buildings will not allow for fixed flooring installs. As a result, products like luxury vinyl tile (LVT) and carpet tile are in higher demand as they can easily be removed or reconfigured.

There are many different styles to choose from. LVT is extremely versatile from a design perspective. It’s a good commercial flooring application alternative as it does not require a high amount of maintenance over its lifespan. It can replicate the appearance of natural stone or wood but will not wear like natural materials. LVT offers superior thermal and acoustic properties in comparison to hard surface flooring. Equipped with a protective wear layer the floor generally needs very little attention to maintain its appearance.

Commercial Flooring Examples and Samples Toronto

Darwin Fisher: Entertainment One raised flooring installation

Determining the Best Materials

Carpet tile is well suited to high traffic areas. It also offers greater acoustic benefits. Noise levels are significantly reduced with carpet tiles when compared to any other type of hard surface flooring product. Carpet is better at absorbing noise over hard surfaces and will also absorb impact traffic. It can increase productivity by offering extra cushioning for employees who continuously stand. From a maintenance standpoint, spot areas can be easily changed without requiring additional installation expertise.

Carpet Tile Installation and Samples Toronto Darwin Fisher

Photo by Anton Darius | @theSollers on Unsplash

Hardwood while aesthetically pleasing, would not be recommended in the main entrance of an office building. Seasonal precipitation and chemicals could damage the appearance and life expectancy. Hard surface products such as hardwood, stone and ceramic also increase budget. They further require more maintenance over time in terms of dents, cracks, scratches and scuffs.

There are many decisions to make before embarking on your next project. It’s important to work with a provider who understands the intricacies involved with all types of surfaces, from carpet to hardwood and laminate, to ceramic tile. It’s also important to physically see the chosen product before it is installed to make sure it satisfies the needs of both the designer and end user.

All commercial flooring application projects bring varying challenges and understanding the associated details before any materials are installed will ensure the success of your project.

For a free consultation on your next flooring installation please contact info@darwinfisher.com

The Warehouse: Why Inventory Management is Important to Your Project Success

The warehouse is critical to a successful flooring installation as unforeseen circumstances can arise when simultaneously working with multiple trades.

“Projects are generally turnkey but when delays are encountered, despite careful planning, it can create chaos if there’s no contingency plan,” says Doug McDonald, President of Darwin Fisher Commercial Flooring. “Over the years we have encountered issues at both small and large installation sites, including scheduling delays, equipment, electrical and plumbing problems and other instances that can offset project timelines.”

Warehouse Benefit 1: Inventory Management

Inventory management is important for commercial flooring contractors as it offers a wide array of benefits. A warehouse is not only a place to store product but offers a location to prepare and ship orders. This provides extra value to both Darwin Fisher and its customers as it allows for the right product to be available and delivered at the right place and time. Having a warehouse is paramount to making sure a project runs smoothly as it allows Darwin Fisher to have its materials and experts on site at a moment’s notice.

Warehouse, commerical flooring toronto

Photo by Samuel Zeller on Unsplash

Not only does the warehouse help to better manage project timelines, it helps to improve customer service and lower costs. Consolidating deliveries to one location, instead of shipping multiple items individually from various sources, is more efficient.  One central location where shipments can be examined, processed and sent out as a single order helps to easily maintain supply and demand for materials. It can also act as a storage repository for unique products that take longer to order or may have to be ordered in batches (ie. dye lots). During this time, the warehouse protects and secures items that are needed for the verticals that Darwin Fisher services. Items can be checked for both quality and proper order fulfillment before being dispatched.

Benefit 2: Scheduling Control

“We also need the warehouse to store client materials through pre-order, or as a service to clients when installation times are delayed, or project parameters change,” explains McDonald. “Once it’s time to move items, each order is retrieved, grouped, packaged and checked for completeness before being sent to the job site.”

In the case of a recent job for Toronto-based Pusateri’s Fine Foods, the delivery truck could not be accepted due to other trades working on the new site. However, this became a simple delay. When it was time for the installation, the materials were consolidated and shipped.

Warehouse benefits, commercial flooring toronto

A warehouse helps manage scheduling conflicts with other trades

In this situation, the warehouse acted as a buffer, balancing the time and demand for materials for just in time delivery. Without the warehouse, requirements to manage items required for jobs would be more complex.

Benefit 3: Storage

There are also client requests for storage of additional stock post installation. “We can accommodate our clients through attic stock which is stored in the warehouse,” says McDonald. “For example, if broadloom carpet is damaged a few years after installation, extra stock is required for seam and pattern matching. Without this option, fixes and repairs can be more logistical in nature. Having a place to store leftover or extra product for our clients contributes to our overall service offering.”

The warehouse has been used for storing products that demand extended lead times when being shipped from overseas, or, when there are several iterations of a larger project that require installing different flooring materials over long periods. A recent example of our work with IMAX Corporation, which is a large project that is being phased in over several years, demonstrates this requirement. Click here to read more.

Commercial Flooring Toronto - IMAX

IMAX flooring installation by Darwin Fisher

In summary, Darwin Fisher’s warehouse offers convenience in terms of shipping and handling. Having a warehouse contributes to lower costs by increasing efficiencies in the project management process, offering flexibility, and ensuring the product is available on demand.

For a free consultation for your next build or renovation, please contact info@darwinfisher.com

 

Commercial Flooring Trends: Advancements in Design, Technology and Installation

Technology advancements and installation techniques are driving commercial and industrial flooring applications and trends in specific areas.

“We’ve seen some major changes in the development of new materials that are both technologically superior, but also aesthetically pleasing, that have had a positive impact on the industry,” says Doug McDonald, President of Darwin Fisher Commercial Flooring, Inc., based in Mississauga, ON. “This includes new and innovative products.”

Grand View Research, Inc., reports the global commercial flooring market size was valued at USD 27.06 billion in 2016 and product innovation and hassle-free installation technologies in the floor covering sector are expected to expand the industry size over the next eight years.

commercial flooring market trends

Source: Grand View Research, Inc.

Driving these innovations and trends are a variety of flooring features that have been made possible with new design technology, offering finishes that are available in a variety of shapes and sizes.

At Darwin Fisher we’ve seen many new offerings in the following areas:

Commercial Flooring Trends: Luxury Vinyl Tile

LVT is extremely versatile from a design perspective. It can replicate the appearance of natural stone or wood but will not wear like natural materials. LVT offers superior thermal and acoustic properties in comparison to hard surface flooring. It won’t chip or discolour and will not expand and contract as wood does in humid or dry seasons. It can also replicate real wood or stone at a fraction of the price. Products made from 100% vinyl are classified as green solutions and eligible for LEED points.

Commercial Flooring Trends in Toronto

Darwin Fisher Luxury Vinyl Tile Installation at IMAX Corporate office

Equipped with a protective wear layer the floor generally needs very little attention to maintain its appearance. It’s water resistant and makes it easy to wipe away surface spills. It’s a good commercial flooring application alternative as it does not require a high amount of maintenance over its lifespan. A simple sweep or damp mop is all that is needed.

Commercial Flooring Trends: Carpet Tile

Carpet tile technology has progressed significantly. Carpet tile systems provide greater flexibility for installation and refitting for a variety of applications across many industries including healthcare, hospitality, retail, education and the entertainment industry.  Carpet tile is extremely durable and spot areas can be easily changed without requiring additional installation expertise.

New pattern matching technology ensures that design and patterns are maintained, and the appearance of the finished product resembles broadloom carpet when installed. If broadloom is chosen and an area is damaged, fixing the spot in question is a much larger and more complicated process in terms of seam and pattern matching. It also makes it difficult to fix if there is no broadloom attic stock available.

Commercial Flooring Trends in Toronto

Darwin Fisher Carpet Tile Installation

According to the Milliken Flooring Blog carpet absorbs 3x more noise than hard flooring and will also absorb impact traffic. It can increase productivity by offering extra cushioning for employees who spend a lot of time standing.

Commercial Flooring Trends: Digitally Printed Porcelain Tile

Thanks to manufacturing advancements and innovations in digital printing processes, today’s porcelain finishes mimic a variety of materials that are often difficult to easily discern with the naked eye. The new technology affords detail so precise that these products can mirror the look and feel of a traditional hardwood floor.

“More designers are open to this because they mimic the look of real wood but provide you with ease of maintenance,” says Elizabeth Livingston, Architectural & Design Consultant for Toronto-based, Centura Tile. “This technology has resulted in incredible detail and vividness of surface designs applied to porcelain, resulting in tile virtually indistinguishable from actual marble, stone and wood, as well as the ability to create an endless number of unique designs and colours.”

The digitally printed porcelain finishes are especially well suited to commercial use such as restaurants, hotels, spas, entertainment and retail spaces, making it a perfect fit for any high-traffic area that requires durability and long wear. This type of porcelain can also be offered in slip resistant finishes where required.

commercial flooring trends Toronto

Photo credit: Centura Tile

“When you have wood, the available finishes are limited,” says Livingston. “When you have a wood porcelain plank the finishes are generally a natural finish, but some lines are available in a polished finish as well as a textured finish for wet areas. The digital possibilities are endless.”

No longer limited to traditional sizes, tile can now be manufactured in what are called planks, or tiles that are rectangular in shape. Manufacturers now offer tiles in an assortment of thicknesses from 3.5mm to 20mm thick pavers. Options as thin as a 3.5 mm thick profile can be used for walls, or ventilated façade systems, or on the underside of soffits for large structures such as universities or office buildings.

Also Trending: Residential Meets Commercial

“We are definitely seeing a trend towards creating a more comfortable home-like experience in the office,” says Susan Quinn, Account Executive of Toronto-based, Mohawk Group. “In order to retain and ensure employees are happy at work there is an influx of residential finishes and concepts being brought into the corporate environment…Clients are wanting softer, more tactile surfaces with lots of big pattern and texture.”

New Designs, Colours, Textures and Accents

Elizabeth Zhou, Darwin Fisher’s Project Co-ordinator notes that when she first started in the industry, most commercial projects were straightforward functional builds. There wasn’t much in the way of design and many projects were fairly cookie cutter.  “Gradually I started to see more conceptual drawings and colour/texture palettes, which was rare in the past. Now they envision how the space would look, showing more attention is being paid to the aesthetic feeling rather than just functionality.”

Zhou sees a continuing pattern of “more resources being spent on accents and textures in the design of a space. There are a lot of accent colours, borders and features within walls/floors in commercial projects, even in non-public spaces.”

flooring trends toronto

Photo credit: Centura Tile

With today’s choices, Darwin Fisher clients are much more inclined to request accent colours and textures even if it comes at an extra cost. “We now usually field a flooring choice being cut in with one or two accents colours. We also see more herringbone and chevron installation patterns of carpet, LVT and porcelain tiles,” says Zhou.

These types of features have been made possible by the introduction of plank carpet tiles and specialty cut LVT & porcelain tiles (see our previous blog posts), that has been made possible with new product design technology. Floor and wall finishes are now available in all shapes (hexagon, triangle, plank and tile) and sizes.

“I also see very clever cost saving trends to imitate expensive design: thin format porcelain panels that look like marble slabs, LVT with graining and texture to look and feel like real wood, rectangular porcelain tile with 3D design to look like a chevron pattern etc. These are all much more economical to purchase and install,” explains Zhou.

Although these materials are currently trending they are long lasting and will provide return on investment as they wear well and require low maintenance.

“There are a lot of flooring types and applications to consider. We offer all of our customers our expertise and assistance in evaluating products performance/cost ratios to ensure a budget meets all of the targets of a project,” concludes McDonald.

For information about flooring applications and installation, please contact info@darwinfisher.com

 

Levitate Furniture Lift System: Ring In The New Year With Installation Savings Of Over 50%

What’s standing in the way of your New Year office renovation? Probably a few tons of furniture. The dismantling of systems furniture, wiring and workstations is expensive in terms of time, resources and budget, but it doesn’t have to be that complex. The solution? Levitate Furniture Lift System.

If you are thinking it would be nice to bypass all of the disruption and expedite a carpet installation project in a quick, efficient time frame, your New Year’s office resolution may be closer than originally thought.

Levitate Furniture Lift Carpet Flooring Examples Toronto

Levitate Furniture Lift For Carpet Installation

“Darwin Fisher has continually invested in flooring installation technology that will help facilitate projects to save our clients time and money,” said Doug McDonald, President of Darwin Fisher Commercial Flooring. “When it comes to new carpet installation our clients’ concerns automatically relate to employee downtime as time is money.”

Darwin Fisher has the expertise and skill to take care of all carpet installation needs while minimizing office disruption. We have worked with companies as large as Toronto-based Pusateri’s Fine Foods, the National Football League (Canadian office in Toronto), Mississauga, ON-based IMAX Corporation, various large call centres and many other clients, ranging from small to large organizations.

Levitate gives us the ability to replace carpet without dismantling office workstations, desks and other furniture, in addition to eliminating time-consuming disconnection and reconnection of telephone lines and computer cables.

Levitate furniture lift system examples

Levitate Furniture Lift For Carpet Installation

Levitate is an office lifting system which enables Darwin Fisher to re-carpet occupied office areas without the need to remove any furniture. This solution offers significant savings in time, cost and eliminates lags in office productivity.

Levitate: Cost Savings in Excess of 50%

The associated manpower and skill needed for set up and take down is substantial. Re-carpeting an office area typically entails complex organization and a long list of cost considerations:

  • specialist furniture dismantling
  • removal teams
  • telephone engineers
  • computer technicians
  • storage
  • staff relocation
  • downtime

All of these costs are eliminated with Levitate. The reason? Levitate is a series of custom designed mechanical tools which are placed underneath any type of office furniture to lift it smoothly and safely. The furniture goes up effortlessly and the carpet gets installed properly.

“This is made possible by Levitate’s ‘no jolt’ screw system which raises furniture off of the ground in one smooth, controlled and safe motion,” explains McDonald. “A traditional refit often requires the services of numerous teams of different contractors. We ensure the entire job is handled by one professional Darwin Fisher team that provides a reliable and coordinated approach.”

Levitate: Raise Your Image Without Raising Your Budget

Levitate results in the following savings for Darwin Fisher clients:

No downtime

Downtime for many companies means lost business. With Levitate we can replace large areas of carpet overnight rather than waiting to the weekend, helping to keep downtime to an absolute minimum. Your office is left completely intact. When the job is complete, each workstation is in its proper place, computers boot up, personal effects are untouched. The experience is seamless.

No damage

Unlike other office lifting systems Levitate’s unique jack mechanism lifts furniture in one smooth and controlled motion. This “no-jolt” system means that your office will be completely protected throughout the refit.

No disruption

Staff experience a smooth transition with installation. With Levitate there is no need for staff to spend time emptying and refilling desks and filing areas, as their workstations are kept completely intact and simply lifted, while carpet is installed underneath.

No extras

A traditional refit often requires the services of numerous teams of different contractors. With the Levitate system, the whole job is handled by a single professional team, providing a simple, one team approach.

If the only thing standing between you and a new carpet is a couple of tons of furniture let us alleviate the weight of your problem with Levitate.

For more information about your next carpet installation please contact info@darwinfisher.com

For more information about Levitate Furniture Lift System, please click here.

 

 

Our Partner Process: Spotlight on Pro-Con Construction

Darwin Fisher seamlessly works with all of our partner networks, including designers, general contractors and project managers, in a timely, proactive manner. No matter how small or large the project, we have a proven process that we apply to each flooring installation.

Darwin Fisher Partner Process: Winners, NFL, ProCon Construction

Darwin Fisher Partner Network

Darwin Fisher Partner Pro-Con: Since 2010

General contractor Pro-Con Construction, based in Mississauga, ON, has been a Darwin Fisher partner company for many years.  The relationship with Pro-Con began in early 2010. Since that time, we have worked on a number of diversified projects. As both companies have the same philosophy in terms of quality, service and customer satisfaction, the initial project has evolved to a long-standing union. Since the first partner installation over seven years ago, Darwin Fisher has completed over 100 projects, across a number of industry segments.

Pro-Con has often partnered with Darwin Fisher due to our experience. Our group of highly trained experts work with our partners to customize and restore corporate and commercial spaces, bringing them to life. This includes retail store build outs, residential units, government offices and much more.

Our first job working with Pro-Con began with Service Canada in St. Thomas, ON. See project here. Since that time, installations with Pro-Con have included seniors homes and residential units for Cedarbrooke Lodge and Weston Gardens. We have also executed projects for Dollar Store Plus and SupperWorks, in addition to retail sector, big-box stores.

Winners flooring installation: Darwin Fisher commerical flooring contractors Toronto

Darwin Fisher Partner Projects: NFL, Winners, Service Canada

Earlier this year we partnered with Pro-Con for a Winner’s Merchants International  installation. The department store chain required a new fit at Lindsay Square Mall in Lindsay, ON. This location represents the first store in Canada to apply Winner’s new, modern and more upscale design. Changes included a wood grain luxury vinyl tile floor finish and accent areas, in addition to vinyl tile, providing a more sophisticated look.

Other installation projects with Pro-Con include Sunlife Financial CanadaBentall-Kennedy, Indusite Realty Corporation and Davpart Real Estate Investment and Property Management. We’ve also worked with corporate clients on furniture lift projects (we own a furniture lift system called Levitate that allows your carpet to be replaced without dismantling your employee workstations) such as the National Football League.

As part of all of these projects we have installed a wide variety of materials including carpet, resilient/hard surfaces and hardwood and laminate.

While materials and installation is the cornerstone of what we do, we follow a proven partner process to keep projects running on time and budget, with minimal disruption. Our proven process focuses on seven key areas.

Darwin Fisher Commerical Flooring Toronto

Darwin Fisher Seven Step Partner Process

The Darwin Fisher Partner Process

1. Collaboration

We provide scope and specifications planning to the smallest detail; this includes take offs of the required space to help the client understand how the product will look in relation to the surface area in question.

2. Specified product

We provide product performance/cost ratios to ensure that the budget meets all project parameters. We also provide verification samples to confirm the product is representative of what the designer or client requires (an important process in eliminating any material errors before work starts).

3. Budget

We provide line item budgets that capture the details of site preparation factors and offer guidance on potential issues and  procedures to remedy the problem. This includes post installation maintenance and various details that are inherent to each unique installation. This gives our partners the data needed to notify the client in advance of the project at hand.

4. Site Supervision

We continually make sure our project managers are on site to offer proactive solutions should any problems arise. Our seasoned staff work with all on-site trades/contractors assigned, ensuring effective and efficient co-ordination of activities.

5. Quality

We ensure specifications are met and quality is at the highest level. You can depend on us to provide a smooth project transition. We are reliable, proactive and always prepared to meet requirements to the highest standard.

6. Punctuality

We ensure that our portion of the project will be delivered within the time frame required. When the project starts, we order materials and needed inventory, which we store at our warehouse if required. We then assign our experts to the project site to oversee installation. This ensures every project is on time.

7. After Service

We are always available after the job is complete to meet the full satisfaction of our partner network. We accompany our clients on a site walk through to ensure all project specifications are met. Our clients are then given the flooring maintenance requirements and warranty manuals for installed products.

We apply this process to all of our working relationships. It has proven to save time, money and create efficiencies within the project to best service our valued partners, like Pro-Con.

For information on your next commercial build or renovation, please contact info@darwinfisher.com

For more information about Pro-Con Construction please click here.

The Importance of the Warehouse In New Builds + Renovations

Why Having A Warehouse Is Critical to Your Flooring Project’s Success

One of our recent commercial flooring installations is a great example of why having a warehouse facility is important to a project’s success. For more than 50 years, Pusateri’s Fine Foods of Toronto has been selling specialty items imported from all over the world, delighting its customers with unique and rare gourmet products.

Pusateri’s decided it would downsize its head office to a smaller location, further east of its original spot on Bloor St. As part of the move, the fine-food emporium’s new corporate headquarters would require new flooring. Looking for a professional and cost-effective solution, Pusateri’s contracted Darwin Fisher.

Commercial Flooring in Toronto

Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

Planning the Project Space

The project would require the installation of 11,000 square feet of carpet tile which would be provided by the Mohawk Group.The space was reviewed with Pusateri staff. Darwin Fisher provided a quick and accurate take off for the new area. A graphic representation of the materials to be used was applied directly to the floor plan so the client could easily understand how the proposed project would look.

Darwin Fisher’s project management software was then used to produce a line item proposal to track the status of the project through the implementation cycle.

Through the project lifecycle, Darwin Fisher worked with Pusateri’s, the project manager, property manager and building owner of the new office space. There were also many different trades that required intensive on-site scheduling.

Commerical flooring and having a warehouse

Photo by Casey Lee on Unsplash

As a result, the two-day project became two weeks due to the need to accommodate all of the players involved. On the day of the scheduled flooring installation, the truck that was set to deliver the carpet tile was halted and materials were sent back to the Darwin Fisher warehouse. The large warehouse at Darwin Fisher’s head office has been an invaluable resource for many projects, including this one.

The Warehouse and Contractor Schedules

When working with a variety of different trades, there are often unforeseen circumstances or schedule delays with different projects, despite careful planning. This is never a problem as the warehouse stores client materials through pre-order, or as a service to clients when installation times are delayed, or project parameters change. Once it’s time to move items, each order is retrieved, grouped, packaged and checked for completeness before being dispatched to the job site.

Without the warehouse it would be difficult to manage items required for jobs. In this case, the truck could not be accepted due to other trades working on the new site. However, this became a simple delay. When it was time for the installation, the materials were consolidated and shipped out to Pusateri’s project site.

The Warehouse: Lowering Costs and Ensuring Delivery

The flexibility and functionality of our warehouse helps improve customer service, lower costs and offers the availability to have the right products, at the right place and the right time. In this situation, the warehouse acted as a buffer, balancing the time and demand for materials for just in time delivery. In other instances the warehouse has been used for storing products that need longer lead times when being shipped from overseas. It is also a critical resource when there are several iterations of a larger project which require the phasing in of a variety of flooring materials, and longer-term storage is needed.

As the project was delivered on time and on budget, and Darwin Fisher was able to accommodate changes to the schedule, Pusateri staff were very pleased with the final result.

For more information on you next flooring installation please contact info@darwinfisher.com

For more information about Pusateri’s Fine Foods, please click here.

 

 

Residential Design Moves into the Corporate Workplace

The lines between home and office design are beginning to blur. Companies like Google have pioneered some of the more modern spaces, setting the tone for informal offices built with collaboration, communication and modularity in mind – residential meets commercial design.

Many organizations are adopting this style of workspace with the intent of boosting employee morale and productivity through comfortable, open spaces that foster connection, while providing the amenities of home.

Residential Meets Commercial Design

Image: Mohawk Group

As more organizations provide flexible hours and workspaces, a welcoming environment is being offered to entice employees to the office. As a result, a large array of new materials and their application are giving way to blurring the boundaries between commercial and residential design, starting with flooring.

Residential Meets Commercial Design

“We are definitely seeing a trend towards creating a more comfortable home-like experience in the office,” says Susan Quinn, Account Executive of Toronto-based, Mohawk Group. “People are spending more than half of their entire day at the office. In order to retain and ensure employees are happy at work there is an influx of residential finishes and concepts being brought into the corporate environment.”

Quinn explains there is now a stronger focus on amenity areas, including increased opportunities for touchdowns as well as areas that are plug and play. Kitchens are becoming more residential with comfortable seating and gathering areas. There is also more attention focused on interfacing with outdoor areas. “Clients are wanting softer, more tactile surfaces with lots of big pattern and texture. I am also seeing a new demand for wood.”

Commercial Flooring EOne

Photo: Darwin Fisher, Entertainment One

The installation of new materials that offer bright, vibrant colours and more detail are becoming the standard. Dull neutrals and unassuming colours are being replaced by energetic, creative selections to match the more informal furniture now being found in collective work areas and office entrances. Corporate designs are becoming multifunctional in nature and include furniture that is smaller, modular and can be easily rearranged. Stiff chairs are being replaced by plush couches. Traditional cubicles are being replaced and seen as segregated work areas of the past.

 

Residential Meets Commercial Design

Image: Mohawk Group

Residential Meets Commercial: Designers Using More Colours, Textures and Accents

The blending of home and office design has also been seen at Darwin Fisher. Elizabeth Zhou, Darwin Fisher’s Project Co-ordinator notes that when she first started in the industry, most commercial projects were straightforward functional builds. There wasn’t much in the way of design and many projects were fairly cookie cutter.  “I’ve seen designers use the same concept for multiple projects. Gradually I started to see more conceptual drawings and colour/texture palettes (which were rare 4 years ago). Now they envision how the space would look, showing more attention is being paid to the aesthetic feeling rather than just functionality,” says Zhou.

She sees a continuing pattern of “More resources being spent on accents and textures in the design of a space. There are a lot of accent colours, borders and feature within walls/floors in commercial projects, even in non-public spaces. Seems like people are realizing productivity and morale would be better if employees weren’t looking at the same colours walls and floors all day!”  With today’s choices, Darwin Fisher clients are much more inclined to request accent colours and textures even if it comes at an extra cost. “We now usually field a flooring choice being cut in with one or two accents colours. We also see more herringbone and chevron installation patterns of carpet, LVT and porcelain tiles,” says Zhou.

Residential and Commercial Flooring

Photo: Darwin Fisher, Entertainment One

These types of features have been made possible by the introduction of plank carpet tiles and specialty cut LVT & porcelain tiles (see our previous blog posts), that has been made possible with new product design technology. Floor and wall finishes are now available in all shapes (hexagon, triangle, plank and tile) and sizes.

“I also see very clever cost saving ways to imitate expensive design: thin format porcelain panels that look like marble slabs, LVT with graining and texture to look and feel like real wood, rectangular porcelain tile with 3D design to look like a chevron pattern etc, which are all much more economical to purchase and install,” concludes Zhou.

Residential Meets Commercial At Your Local Dentist

In our May blog on dental clinics, a more residential feel can also be seen from the cold, clinical environments of the past. Here we see residential meets commercial through the patient experience, which has become a key factor in driving both visits and retention. Demands for new aesthetics include warmer and more inviting colours. Elements such as fireplaces, coffee and water stations, iPad stations and free WiFi all play a significant role in both renovations and new builds.

Residential meets Commerical design

Photo: Canadian Dental Construction

“Dentists are now doing everything they can to make the waiting area as comfortable as possible,” said Dan Burns, President of Canadian Dental Construction, who has 30 years of experience in dental office builds and renovations. “One of the first concepts to consider before all else is the flooring. It will dictate the tone for the rest of the office as it will set the style and comfort a dentist wants for its patients.”

These spaces are now being designed to have a more ‘family room’ feel with all of the amenities including, WiFi, water coolers, snacks stations, large screen TVs and comfortable seating.

For information on how to incorporate residential design into your next commercial build or renovation, please contact info@darwinfisher.com

Does Your Entryway Carpet System Have the Right Stuff?

After your build or renovation is complete, you will want to protect the durability and look of your flooring investment while offering safety and comfort through an entryway carpet system.

The wrong entryway system in your newly installed project can send the wrong message, spoil first impressions and also lack the required functionality.

Entryway carpet system

Image: Mohawk Group

The entrance of a building should not only build a positive lasting impression from a design perspective but offer an entryway product, which offers a non-slip surface to protect customers, employees and manage risk.

Mohawk Group offers a Walk Off entry system called Tuff Stuff II which helps to capture residues from inclement weather and dirt at the door of your facility, while protecting your flooring investment.

“Soil and moisture are the main causes of premature wear and eventual replacement of floor covering,” says Susan Quinn, Account Executive of Toronto-based, Mohawk Group. “Tuff Stuff tiles can reduce these residues by up to 91%.”

Tuff Stuff was designed to protect facilities from elements like snow and sand, while providing a safe, non-slip surface in high moisture areas. Tuff Stuff uses what is called ‘scraper’ yarns in the carpet tiles that comprise the Walk Off system. Each square yard can hold up to 5.6 lbs of sand, which is 2.4 times its normal weight. It is also able to absorb 7.3 lbs of moisture per square yard, which is 3.07 times its normal weight.

Entryway Carpet System

Image: Mohawk Group – Tuff Stuff Walkoff Entryway Carpet System

“Tuff Stuff hides the dirt quite significantly and the entire system looks aesthetically pleasing. It’s a much more presentable solution,” says Quinn. “Our Tuff Stuff product is a carpet tile and laid directly to floor and offers a very fluid, no transition kind of look which differs greatly from a carpet runner or a carpet matting solution. Also, from a facilities manager perspective it will save money in maintenance fees because it’s easier to clean and maintain and a lot more durable.”

For general maintenance the modular systems can be easily cleaned by vacuuming. If a specific area becomes damaged, individual tiles can simply be swapped out or repaired.

The entire system is laid as a carpet tile and the fibre that comprises these tiles is made with Duracolour, which is stain free, sustainable and offers water-only stain removal to remove 96% of all common stains.

In addition to low maintenance, the tiles themselves are made with 30% recycled content: 25% pre-consumer & 5% post-consumer which reduce both cost and impact on the environment.

Beyond maintenance, Quinn also explains that this system helps Mohawk clients avoid the liability of slip and fall incidents caused by slippery entryways in their facilities by providing the higher traction, moisture-absorbing technology.

Traditional matting systems when combined with hard surface flooring can pose a slip hazard when wet or soiled with residues from outdoors. Area mats and runner matting systems can bunch or ripple and can often result in a tripping hazard.

Entryway Carpet System

Source: Mohawk Group

Slips and falls can be costly. Commercial insurer CNA Commercial Property and Casualty identifies lack of slip resistance as the number one cause of slip and fall accidents. The insurer claims 570,000 slips, trips and falls cause 15 percent of the 3.8 million disabling workplace injuries each year, as well as an estimated 5,100 workplace fatalities. Property owners can be held liable for all direct and indirect costs associated with these incidents.

Furthermore, according to the University of Florida Extension, Preventing Injuries from Slips, Trips and Falls: At an average cost of $28,000 per injury, total liability exposure for the direct costs of slip and fall accidents approaches $16 billion dollars per year. Indirect costs can be as high as $940,000 per incident, increasing liability by more than 3,300 percent.

In addition to providing mitigation from risk, protection of long term investment and ease of maintenance, all Tuff Stuff Walkoff Systems from Mohawk are warranted for fibre wear, backing material and performance for 10 years or the lifetime installation of the product.

If your entryway system needs an upgrade or update items to consider when installing a new system are:

  • Soil and moisture capture/barrier
  • Safety
  • Risk
  • Ease of maintenance
  • Long-term investment
  • Aesthetic appeal

For information about entryway system installation, please contact info@darwinfisher.com

For more information about Mohawk Tuff Stuff II please see Mohawk Group.

 

Sit To Stand Workstations and the Right Carpet Can Increase Productivity and Overall Health

Sit to Stand Workstations: Darwin Fisher Commerical Flooring

Image: Unsplash – Katie Montgomery

Being sedentary is bad for your body, however research indicates that we don’t need to exercise more, we actually need to sit less. Sit to stand workstations offer a healthy solution. Sitting for long periods of time has been linked to a variety of health issues, according to research from the Mayo Clinic. These include increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease, cancer and a variety of other related conditions including high blood sugar, increased blood pressure, weight gain and problems with cholesterol.

The Mayo Clinic’s James A. Levine, M.D., Ph.D, reports that “the muscle activity needed for standing and other movement seems to trigger important processes related to the breakdown of fats and sugars within the body. When sitting, these processes stall — and your health risks increase. When you’re standing or actively moving, you kick the processes back into action.”

The Sit To Stand Workstation Solution

It’s not surprising that sit to stand workstations are becoming a sought after solution for employees who sit for long periods of time and are concerned about their health.

Elizabeth Zhou, Darwin Fisher’s Project Co-ordinator, made the move from sitting several months ago and has found a noticeable difference in her work day and overall health.

“I have greater concentration and focus and I’ve noticed my productivity has also increased,” says Zhou. “I don’t like sitting. Even at home I rarely sit down. It just feels better to be standing. When you are sitting there’s less inertia to get things done.”

 

Darwin Fisher: Carpet under Sit to Stand Workstations Matter

Zhou’s Sit to Stand Workstation

What’s Under Your Feet Counts: Carpet

 To make standing even more comfortable there are a variety of anti-fatigue mats available that offer cushioning to help mitigate issues related to tired and achy feet. Zhou finds her mat makes a noticeable difference when she stands for most of the day.

In addition to anti-fatigue mats, there are other important considerations such as installing the correct office carpet. Milliken recommends that offices use carpet with open-cell cushion backing, which is proven to improve comfort while standing and can reduce muscle fatigue by up to 24%. According to Milliken, hardback carpet tiles simply don’t provide the necessary levels of under-foot support and comfort that’s needed for standing work –which can work against sit-to-stand implementation.

Why Excessive Sitting is Bad For You

JustStand.Org, which is dedicated to raising awareness about the dangers of excessive sitting and provides research and support solutions to help reduce sedentary behaviour at work and home, cites mounting research that there is a strong correlation between long periods of sitting and elevated risk of illness or injury. Experts call this “sitting disease.”

Key Research Findings Include

  • Workers who used sit-stand desks were 78% more likely to report a pain-free day than those who used regular workstations, according to a Stanford University back pain study.
  • In 2013, American Medical Association adopted policy recognizing potential risks of prolonged sitting and encouraged employers, employees and others to make available alternatives to sitting, such as sit-stand desks.
  • A 2011 study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that workers equipped with sit-stand workstations mood states improved and prolonged sitting periods were reduced.

Exercise Isn’t Enough

What is most concerning is that research is also proving that you can’t exercise away the harmful effects of sitting disease. The Journal of the National Cancer Institute released an extensive Meta Analysis confirming that effects of prolonged sedentary behaviour is extremely harmful and can increase the risk of colon, lung and endometrial cancers. Even more worrisome is that “adjustment for physical activity did not affect the positive association between sedentary behavior and cancer.”

Why Being Less Sedentary Will Save Your Life

Image: Unsplash – Arek Adeoye

The study states that those who exercise often and regularly meet the daily-recommended levels were at the same risk of those who were sedentary all day. The report results “indicate that the increased risk of cancer seen in individuals with prolonged time spent sedentary is not explained by the mere absence of physical activity in those persons.”

Benefits of Standing More: Sit to Stand Workstations

Zhou says she feels more “energized” in general after getting used to the new standing workstation. It took a few weeks for Zhou to adjust to the standing posture and position. At first, she explains, she did not know how to stand properly. For example, locking her knees instead of standing with them slightly bent. In addition the body has to break the pattern of learned behaviour associated with sitting so muscles need time to adjust.

Why Sitting Can Be Fatal to Your Health

Image: Unsplash – Martins Zemlickis

The system Zhou uses has a hand crank to adjust the height of her workstation and is very quiet. This is helpful when moving from sitting to standing and vice versa.

Now that it’s been several months since moving to the new workstation, Zhou feels she is faster at responding to emails because she feels “ready to go” when already in the standing position. “I alternate between sitting and standing now. I sit when I’m doing a proposal or something very time intensive because I have to really focus. Everything else I do standing and I find that much better.”

When not at work Zhou enjoys running and any activity that doesn’t involve sitting.

For more information regarding carpet solutions related to sit to stand workstations please contact info@darwinfisher.com

5 Tips for Selecting Commercial Carpet Tile

If you are planning a new office space or redesigning an existing one, choosing a carpet tile solution that will best meet your organization’s requirements involves several considerations. Here are 5 tips to help you make a more informed decision about your investment, ranging from moisture issues to maximizing your budget.

1.Carpet Tile and Moisture

The first factor to consider is whether the site in question is newly constructed or a renovation. This will determine the type of carpet tile required and what solutions make the most sense for that area.

“A newly-poured four-inch concrete slab takes four to five months to be fully ready to accept flooring,” said Katie Lind, Sales Associate for Milliken. “And that’s under ideal conditions.”

As construction schedules don’t allow for the time required for concrete to cure, the carpet tile installed is one that must be able to handle rising water vapour. Milliken modular carpet tile products have been designed to manage subfloor moisture vapor through an open-cell cushion backing.

Milliken Modular Carpet

Image: Milliken

Unlike hard backed tiles, this system allows water vapour to travel through the open-cell cushion and up the seam. It is then able to naturally evapourate through the edges of the carpet tile as it surfaces. If the water vapour isn’t allowed to evaporate condensation occurs which can lead to various problems including, lifting carpet, mould and mildew and potentially poor office air quality.

If the project is a renovation, properly preparing the floor and removing the existing flooring to lay the new carpet tile is the first step. The job may require grinding the floor and removing existing adhesives. However, Milliken soft cushioned tiles also work well for these areas.

“Our cushion-backed modular carpet easily installs over existing adhesives and completely obscures any surface irregularities below that may show through hardback carpet after installation,” explains Lind. The technology also will not interact with any existing adhesives or cause any chemical reactions.”

2. Carpet Tile and Reduced Downtime

 Carpet tiles can be easily installed and do not require the dismantling of office systems or employee workstations. When installing carpet tile there is no need to lift furniture in contrast to broadloom, ceramic or hardwood flooring.

Darwin Fisher’s secret weapon is Levitate, an Office Lifting System that eliminates downtime and disruption while saving money. Levitate is a technology that allows carpet to be replaced with little or no downtime.

Levitate is a series of custom designed mechanical tools which are placed underneath any type of office furniture to lift it smoothly and safely. Once the furniture and workstations are lifted the carpet is easily installed.

Milliken Modular Carpet Tile

Image: Milliken

Levitate office lifting system enables users to re-carpet occupied office areas providing significant savings in time, cost and eliminates employee disruption and relocation. There is no need for disconnection and reconnection of computers, cables, phone lines or other equipment.

The cost savings that Darwin Fisher provides its clients using this system is in excess of 50% as Levitate eliminates the need for computer technicians, staff relocation, furniture specialists and other budget intensive resources required with other types of flooring.

3. Carpet Tile and Durability

Carpet tile systems provide greater flexibility for installation and refitting for a variety of applications across many industries including healthcare, hospitality, retail, education and the entertainment industry. If broadloom is chosen and an area is damaged, fixing the spot in question is a much larger and more complicated process in terms of seam and pattern matching. It also makes it difficult to fix if there is no attic stock available.

Once your carpet tile is installed it is easy to change out any specific areas wear and tear areas or to spot clean for spills. This will help promote the longevity of your investment.

4. Carpet Tile and Investment

Yes, you can take it with you when you go. After installation you can protect your investment long term. If there is a future requirement to move locations, carpet tile can be easily lifted, removed and re-installed at a new site. “I’ve had clients move their tile and number the tile so that it can be re-installed the same way it came up,” explains Lind.

Milliken Modular Carpet

Image: Milliken

Carpet tile has a long lifespan and if it is well maintained well you can realize a return on your investment for many years to come. For example, Lind is currently working on a site where the client purchased carpet tile 8 years ago. “We took a picture of carpet and are we’re now colour matching it with our custom technology. We have had customers standardize on products for years and when there is a requirement.”

5. Carpet Tile and Employee Health

According to Milliken, an independent study by the University of Pittsburgh revealed that cushion backing in carpet tile decreases muscle fatigue for the people who stand and walk on it for long periods.

“Employees may notice improvements in comfort when standing for long periods and the cumulative benefit may have an impact on overall health,” says Lind.

Milliken Modular Carpet

Image: Milliken

More good news for your employees. Acoustically, cushioned carpet tiles are also quieter than hard floors or hardback carpet. As a result, sound is contained and a quieter office space can be realized making for a more relaxing workspace.

For more information about carpet tile installation please contact info@darwinfisher.com

For more information about Milliken carpet tiles please click here.

IMAX – Bigger Is Just the Beginning – For Newly Designed Canadian Headquarters

IMAX, an innovator in entertainment technology, combines proprietary software, architecture and equipment to create experiences that take audiences beyond the edge of their seats to worlds never imagined. Top filmmakers and studios use IMAX theatres to connect with audiences in extraordinary ways. With over 1,200 theatres across 75 countries, IMAX’s network is among the most important and successful theatrical distribution platforms for major event films around the globe.

As the company has continued to grow, so has its Canadian headquarters in Mississauga, ON. The office had originally been built in the early 1990s and much of the existing office space was original and needed to accommodate expansion requirements.

Commercial Flooring Toronto - IMAX

IMAX flooring installation by Darwin Fisher

Phase One – IMAX Redevelopment and Expansion

A large redevelopment project was initiated in 2015. Phase One required changes to meeting rooms, boardrooms, main reception, two theatres, more than a half dozen washrooms and break out rooms. Each of these areas had different flooring needs.

“The entire flooring area for Phase One covered about 40,000 feet and of that about 3,000 yards of carpet,” said Brent Fader, Managing Director and Vice-President of Business Development for Darwin Fisher Commercial Flooring. “The rest was comprised of a variety of flooring materials.”

Darwin Fisher worked with Noran Industries, a construction management and commercial contracting firm, who was the general contractor for the project. Darwin Fisher supplied and installed carpet tile, ceramic tile, natural stone tile and resilient flooring through out the renovated facility and newly developed areas, including the atrium and main reception.

Installation included a new theatre which required broadloom. Located in front of the IMAX building, the area offers seating for 200 people. It is also used for research and development. A second theatre, designed to demonstrate the IMAX home system also required broadloom.

Phase One was spearheaded by Quadrangle Architects, who was the prime consultant and lead for the project. The flooring installation took place over a 12-week period. Darwin Fisher worked with a variety of flooring vendors including Milliken Carpet, Tandus Centiva, LSI Floors, Johnsonite Commercial Flooring, Stone Tile International and Mosa.

Commercial Flooring Examples Toronto

IMAX flooring installation by Darwin Fisher

Materials and Scheduling

“This project was unusual from Darwin Fisher’s perspective as we were able to work with the full range of flooring products on one project. For example natural stone, ceramic tile from Europe, carpet tile, LVT and broadloom. We worked with an acoustical consultant as the broadloom had to be a special grade in the test theatre. We also provided the acoustical wall coverings,” explained Fader. “Even the type of tile installed in the information technology room used was designed to protect the equipment from static electricity.”

The main project challenges came from coordinating with all of the differing trades and dealing with ever changing schedules. As the project was complex, it was critical that Darwin Fisher was ready to install when required.

Darwin Fisher decided to pre-order materials. “By pre-ordering and storing everything at our warehouse we not only ensured proper die lots, colours and patterns in required materials, but that we were ready for our portion of the project when the schedule was repeatedly changing,” said Fader.

Commercial Flooring Examples Toronto

IMAX flooring installation by Darwin Fisher

“As phasing in is critical, not having to worry about manufacturer’s lead time allowed for flexibility. For example, Mosa tiles from Holland require a 12-week lead time. We did similar things with all of the materials. We could be ready on demand. Once one trade falls behind it can be like a domino effect, so it’s really important to stay on schedule.”

To mitigate any on site problems, Darwin Fisher sent the same crew for each job. “When you have a fairly complicated facility like IMAX it helps to familiarize crews with the location and have them understand health and safety rules plus security requirements. This way, you aren’t retraining or educating an employee each time a different installer is required.”

IMAX Flooring – The End Result

Lorna Howieson, Senior Director, Global Facilities and Administration, IMAX Corporation agrees with this approach. “It would affect me in a negative way if all of that didn’t happen,” she said. “This was valuable because we run our own building and if we have contractors that know what they are doing no alarms get set off and staff don’t have to come in and do overtime to fix associated problems that can potentially arise.”

Darwin Fisher completed their scope of work for the project on time and budget and that is why they were invited back for Phase Two of this project. “Darwin Fisher was unique in the way we developed a relationship directly with Brent. That doesn’t always happen with sub trades,” said Howieson.

“The schedule was easy and service was easy. We are happy and we get tremendous feedback on our reception area,” said Howieson.

Commercial Flooring Toronto - IMAX

IMAX flooring installation by Darwin Fisher

“Another huge thing we’ve benefited from working with Darwin Fisher is that we are close in terms of proximity. Whenever I call Brent he says, ‘I’ll be right over.’ It’s incredible I just talk to him and he’s there. He would just show up. I really like that service.”

Phase Two – New Players and Development

For the flooring portion of the project, Phase Two is expected to roll out over the next seven months. Darwin Fisher will be working with the same flooring suppliers from Phase One, however there is a new general contractor,Vestacon. Gensler, a large design firm, is the new prime consultant.

Darwin Fisher will be focusing on flooring for the reconfiguration of the balance of the existing offices, which includes meeting rooms, boardrooms, washrooms and additional breakout areas.

Stay tuned to our News Section for Phase Two updates and results!

For more information about commercial flooring installation solutions please contact info@darwinfisher.com

Dental Office Renovations: Catering To The Patient Experience From Floor to Ceiling

Dental offices are no longer the cold, clinical environments of the past. Renovations are giving way to warm, welcoming spaces that offer advanced functionality for patients, dentists and their staff.

To execute a successful renovation, and to ensure that downtime for a dentist is kept to a minimum, there are several project planning items to consider.

The Patient Experience

Image: Canadian Dental Construction

Planning a renovation and choosing who will manage your project may seem like a daunting task, however choosing a provider experienced in understanding today’s dental office requirements is a dentist’s best bet.

The patient experience has become a key factor in driving both visits and retention. Demands for new aesthetics include warmer and more inviting colours. Elements such as fireplaces, coffee and water stations, iPad stations and free wifi all play a significant role in both renovations and new builds. Competition in the dental office sector has also been a contributing factor with increased growth in dental office renovations and builds in suburban areas.

It All Starts With Flooring

“Dentists are now doing everything they can to make the waiting area as comfortable as possible,” said Dan Burns, President of Canadian Dental Construction, who has 30 years of experience in dental office builds and renovations. “One of the first concepts to consider before all else is the flooring. It will dictate the tone for the rest of the office as it will set the style and comfort a dentist wants for its patients.”

There have been many changes in today’s dentist offices as compared to 20 years ago. “For example, we now design the operatories to be less intimidating so we take as much focus as we can off of the patient chair and plan the room around audio visual. All of those intrusive instruments are now tucked away and hidden. The look is much neater, cleaner and less intimidating for the patient. Even softer lighting in the ceilings is taken into account,” explains Burns.

The Patient Experience: Operatory rooms

Image: Canadian Dental Construction

For flooring, there has been a move away from using only ceramic tile. Many of the newer flooring finishes like vinyl plank flooring and luxury vinyl tile (LVT) are being used as they offer a variety of finishes and colours while providing protection from water damage. These materials also offer more padding for staff, are damage resistant, easier to clean and require very little maintenance.

After installation, if an accident occurs, these modular flooring systems, including vinyl plank, LVT or carpet tile, offer an easy way to isolate a damaged area and provide the flexibility of spot repair rather than having to replace the entire floor.

Patient welcome area

Image: Canadian Dental Construction

Emerging Flooring Technologies for Dental Offices

“From a flooring contractor’s perspective the biggest change has been dental office flooring moving away from linoleum or ceramic tile to LVT”, said Brent Fader, Director of Operations for Toronto-based Darwin Fisher Commercial Flooring. “LVT is a better solution acoustically over tile. It also offers more cushion for dentists and staff who are on their feet all day. Plus, it’s easy to maintain and repair. There are still some ceramic tile requests for the lab or sterilization area where you can get the spill of chemicals, but 80% of our installations are now LVT. We are also getting requests for carpet tile in the dentist office and consultation rooms.”

Emerging flooring technologies have also delivered time efficiencies for renovation projects. Darwin Fisher was able to decrease the flooring installation time from three weeks to one week for a Greater Toronto Area dentist by using a new product called Loose Lay.

Loose Lay LVT can be directly applied over existing flooring materials and does not require adhesives, staples or click and lock systems. Instead the backing of each tile is made with materials that use friction to effectively grip the sub-floor beneath. These vinyl tiles are dimensionally stable so that they will not expand or shrink depending on moisture levels. This eliminates expansion gaps between the tile and the wall. It is a more environmentally friendly solution, cleaner, cost effective and less disruptive in terms of downtime required.

For Darwin Fisher, the design community drives 75% of the flooring chosen. Rita Valente of Toronto-based Rita Valente Designs has worked with Darwin Fisher on several dental office renovation projects.

Patient experience waiting room

Image: Canadian Dental Construction

Dental Offices: Design Trends and Finishes

“The main changes I have seen since starting in this industry 17 years ago would be the personal touch dentists are putting into their offices. If they love marble, they will use it, if they love art, they will plaster the walls with one of a kind,” said Valente. “Of course, we still make sure the clinics are practical, affordable and the dental ergonomics and room adjacencies are still what matter most to have an effective and properly designed clinic for patients and staff.”

Another trend is that offices are becoming more ‘green and eco-friendly’ in the selection of dental equipment and finishes being chosen throughout. For patient privacy dentists also stress the need for soundproofing. Walls, ceiling and flooring materials selected need to help protect patient privacy and hinder sound travel.

Valente explains that the flooring and its characteristics are frequently requested design requirements for renovations. Walls and counter tops will weather wear and tear, but nothing is in more need of repair than flooring. The biggest concerns are the wear layers for flooring, warranties provided for commercial flooring and what flooring will give the dentist the least maintenance.

“I do think there has been a move toward LVT especially as the product further develops its qualities into becoming more sound absorbent, chemical resistant and water resistant. Everyone loves the look of hardwood, but it is very rare that a dental office would install hardwood. LVT gives you options for look along with its own benefits and characteristics. It has been a great product so far in the offices I have used it in and you will see it used in many offices to come. Tile of course does remain popular as well, but it is a much harder surface to work on all day, and it’s all about personal preference.”

New dental offices: The patient experience

Image: Canadian Dental Construction

Rita Valente Designs and Darwin Fisher have worked on numerous dental office projects together. Darwin Fisher has provided flooring installations for over 50 dental offices over the course of the company’s history

“In the times I have worked with Darwin Fisher, I have had a great experience in regards to service and products alike. When called on answers were given, when needed, support arrived. When samples were requested, they were delivered. Some projects do not always run smoothly, but even at the worst of times, Darwin Fisher provided attention to detail, support and resolutions. Darwin Fisher works with you as a team to ensure the end user is happy with all final products and installations,” said Valente.

Dental Offices: Successful Planning and Execution

From planning and design to implementation and installation there are many things to consider for a dental office renovation or build, but all roads point to the patient experience. Burns, Valente and Fader all agree that the most important element is understanding what the dentist needs and how to properly execute. Detailed planning is critical to a successful project that is completed on time and budget. As there are many moving pieces and different trades that must come together, teamwork is paramount. If one link fails the project will end up having set backs.

For more information about dental office renovations and flooring installation solutions please contact info@darwinfisher.com

Digitally Printed Porcelain vs. Traditional Hardwood

Porcelain tile has come a long way. Thanks to manufacturing advancements and innovations in digital printing processes, today’s porcelain finishes mimic a variety of materials that are often difficult to discern with the naked eye. The new technology affords detail so precise that these products can mirror the look and feel of a traditional hardwood floor.

Porcelain tile

Image: Centura Tile

“More designers are open to this because they mimic the look of real wood but provide you with ease of maintenance,” said Elizabeth Livingston, Architectural & Design Consultant for Toronto-based, Centura Tile. “This technology has resulted in incredible detail and vividness of surface designs applied to porcelain, resulting in tile virtually indistinguishable from actual marble, stone and wood, as well as the ability to create an endless number of unique designs and colours.”

Digitally Printed Wood Finishes

The digitally printed porcelain finishes are especially well suited to commercial use such as restaurants, hotels, spas, entertainment and retail spaces, making it a perfect fit for any high-traffic area that requires durability and long wear. This type of porcelain can also be offered in slip resistant finishes where required.

Porcelain tile wood look

Image: Centura Tile

“Digital porcelain tile can be used anywhere you would normally use wood,” said Livingston. “Many of our manufacturers now have 20mm thick exterior pavers to complement their interior lines allowing for a seamless transition from interior to exterior. The 20mm thick tiles or planks can be installed on our deck or patio system or can be loose laid or cemented in place.”

Livingston further explains that unlike real wood, porcelain is UV resistant, chemical resistant and offers long-term aesthetic appeal for a wood finish look that can extend outdoors if required. Wood porcelain planks can also be installed on walls to add visual warmth, while deterring vandalism in public spaces.

Porcelain tile bathroom

Image: Centura Tile

No longer limited to traditional sizes, tile can now be manufactured in what are called planks, or tiles that are rectangular in shape. Manufacturers now offer tiles in an assortment of thicknesses from 3.5mm to 20mm thick pavers. Options as thin as a 3.5 mm thick profile can be used for walls, or ventilated façade systems, or on the under side of soffits for large structures such as universities or office buildings.

Centura’s line of thin porcelain tile comes in various looks of wood, natural stone, luxury cement, oxides and decorative finishes. Sizes are available in 10mm and 12mm with panel sizes as large as 1620mm x 3240mm.

“When you have wood the available finishes are limited,” said Livingston. “When you have a wood porcelain plank the finishes are generally a natural finish, but some lines are available in a polished finish as well as a textured finish for wet areas. The digital possibilities are endless.”

Porcelain tile kitchen

Image: Centura Tile

Manufacturers can now choose the wood and marble they want to replicate as part of their line. Clients can then choose custom digital on porcelain slabs at a premium. This is generally used when they want to do a company logo or custom images such as photography. With the gains made in the digital printing currently available, anything can be replicated. For example, if a hotel chain would like a specific image on the porcelain tile it’s now possible.

“We can do digital printing on tiles like wood grain or ones made to look like precious stones. We can also produce mosaics at a premium,” said Livingston.

Benefits of Porcelain Tile

The benefits of porcelain tile over hardwood are compelling for budgetary and location requirements:

  • Investment 

    Porcelain will wear longer than hardwood and luxury vinyl tile (LVT) but is more expensive than LVT. However, porcelain tile offers long-term advantages over traditional hardwood in terms of investment.

  • Durability 

    Porcelain tile is much more durable and can withstand higher impact from such things as heavy foot traffic and dropped objects.

  • Damage and Replacement 

    It’s much easier to replace a specific area when compared to hardwood floors. When wooden floors are scratched it can be costly to fix, often requiring sanding, refinishing, or full replacement. The long wear and durability offered by porcelain tile avoids this problem. It is also easier to fix ‘spot’ areas.

  • Maintenance 

    Porcelain tile is very easy to maintain. A simple sweeping and mopping is all that is required for ongoing maintenance.

  • Moisture Resistant 

    Hardwood expands and contracts with moisture and dry conditions. Real wood is not well suited to areas that have regular contact with water. As it is not compromised by moisture or water, porcelain tile is well suited for commercial kitchen and bathroom areas.

  • Radiant Heating Options 

    Porcelain tile, unlike hardwood has a radiant heating feature if the installation requires heated flooring. It also stays cool in warmer climates due to the porcelain qualities.

  • Size and Application Options

    There are a variety of sizes available, and rectangular shapes can be suited to different shapes, lengths and widths. Traditional hardwood typically is offered in sizes based on a limited number of plank sizes. Wider plank sizes are often much more cost prohibitive.

Porcelain tile bathroom

Image: Centura Tile

There are many benefits associated with installing porcelain tile floors over traditional hardwood. When creating and designing spaces indoors or out there are versatile solutions that the new wood look finishes provide.

The creative possibilities are virtually unlimited with an array of sizes, patterns and colours. With the durability and long wear digital porcelain floors provide, both the design and investment are protected for years to come, making this a solid option for both high traffic areas and long-term investment requirements.

For more information about porcelain tile flooring installation solutions please contact us today at info@darwinfisher.com.

For more information about porcelain tile products and finishes, please see Centura Tile

Commercial Flooring Applications: Critical Factors to Consider

Performance, life expectancy and appearance retention are critical when choosing commercial flooring applications. There are several things to consider before the project begins. Proper planning will help determine how to choose the best product while protecting your investment long after the project is complete.

Installing the incorrect product in the wrong place can create many issues. Research on product characteristics will help to mitigate future problems – from the sub floor to surface.

On average, most flooring installations have a life expectancy of 10 years. The lifespan will determine time, complexity of preparation required and the choice of materials needed. These factors will also dictate budget.

The first step requires a site review. The condition of the sub floor will determine if new finishes can be directly installed or if there is more extensive preparation required for a problem-free installation.

Requests for non-glue flooring are increasing, especially in newer buildings that demand raised access flooring. Many of the newer office buildings will not allow for fixed flooring installs. As a result, products like luxury vinyl tile (LVT) and carpet tile are in higher demand as they can easily be removed or reconfigured.

Whatever the chosen material, how it will wear will depend on location. For example, laying hardwood in a main floor office entrance would not be recommended in a climate that has several changes of season. Rain, snow and salt can damage appearance and life expectancy.

Hardwood, Stone and Ceramic – Commercial Flooring  Applications

Hard surfaces such as hardwood, stone or ceramic are appealing, however all of these choices will significantly increase budget. Installation and overall maintenance required will also be more costly. Hardwood requires more expertise and over time will become marred with dents, scratches and scuffmarks. Stone or ceramic can crack or stain, but aesthetically, these are solid choices.

commercial flooring applications - ceramic

Unsplash

Carpet Tiles

Another option is carpet tiles, which can offer greater acoustic benefits. Noise levels are significantly reduced with carpet tiles when compared to any other type of hard surface flooring product. According to the Milliken Flooring Blog carpet absorbs 3x more noise than hard flooring and will also absorb impact traffic. It can increase productivity by offering extra cushioning for employees who spend a lot of time standing.

Commercial Flooring applications - carpet tile

Darwin Fisher: Sheridan Residences Conference Centre

Carpet tile technology has progressed significantly. New pattern matching technology ensures that design and patterns are maintained and the appearance of the finished product resembles broadloom carpet when installed. Carpet tile is ideal for high performance office space, schools, transportation, hospitality, airports, public spaces and retail as it is extremely durable and spot areas can be easily changed without requiring additional installation expertise.

Broadloom

Broadloom carpet is less durable than carpet tiles. Appearance retention can be compromised over time. Stains are an issue as they can’t be spot replaced like carpet tile.

Broadloom also can pose problems with pattern seam matching. There is also more excess waste and delamination can occur. If the carpet and the secondary backing are not attached properly, over time they can separate, causing an installed carpet to wrinkle or fibres to stray and pull at the separation point. The most common cause of delamination is improper formulation or application of the adhesive.

Luxury Vinyl Tile

Commercial Flooring applications _ LVT

Darwin Fisher: IMAX

LVT is extremely versatile from a design perspective. It’s a good commercial flooring application alternative as it does not require a high amount of maintenance over its lifespan. It can replicate the appearance of natural stone or wood but will not wear like natural materials. LVT offers superior thermal and acoustic properties in comparison to hard surface flooring. Equipped with a protective wear layer the floor generally needs very little attention to maintain its appearance.

Unlike carpet, which absorbs moisture, these tiles can be slippery even though the product is more slip-resistant than hard surface products. LVTs also don’t offer the comfort of carpet when standing for long periods of time unless used with a cushioning product like Instalay.

There are many decisions to make before embarking on your next project. It’s important to work with a provider who understands the intricacies involved with all types of surfaces, from carpet to hardwood and laminate, to ceramic tile.

All commercial flooring application projects bring varying challenges and understanding the associated details, especially when there can be a lot of uncertainties within a tight schedule, is the first step to protecting your long-term investment.

For a free consultation on your next flooring installation please contact info@darwinfisher.com.

 

 

Entertainment One: A Partner Case Study

Commercial Flooring Examples Toronto

eOne main reception

 

Entertainment One, also known as eOne, is a Canadian multinational media distribution company that acquires, produces and handles distribution for film, television and music worldwide.Based in Toronto, ON, the company was founded in 1973 as the music distributor, Records on Wheels. By 2003, the company had begun to expand. It would eventually become a global content leader in home entertainment distribution, international film and television acquisition and production through acquiring Alliance Films, and many other distributors and studios.

After the Alliance Atlantis film division was sold to eOne January 9, 2013 (formerly owned by CanWest Global Communications), in addition to several other acquisitions, the need for eOne to find a location to accommodate its growing ranks took centre stage. It was decided that the building at 134 Peter Street would be the media giant’s new home, offering customizable space specifically suited for the amalgamation.

In 2014, XDesign, a Toronto-based interior design firm was awarded the design for what would be eOne’s Toronto headquarters. The new building was under construction and an aggressive, phased, move-in was scheduled for several satellite offices.

eOne flooring and carpet

“The planning and logistics were paramount,” said Greg Quinn, President, XDesign. “The organization required moving five different outer locations into the new building. Coming up with a plan define a new home for these folks, while building in flexibility for future expansion was first priority. This new location would be used to develop a unified culture and new beginning for eOne.”

There was an existing base building at the new location, however eOne continued to build, expanding upward. The entire project would take almost nine months of initial planning and nearly two years to complete.

XDesign chose Darwin Fisher Commercial Flooring as its flooring installation partner, once the company was awarded the job. “We have a solid eco system of partners and vendors – it’s all about trusting who you work with and that they are supposed to do. Darwin Fisher has proven that and they’ve earned the trust of our team,” said Quinn.

XDesign completes an average of 120 projects per year and up to $90 million of business per year. “The partners we work with need to be accountable for their products and services. Shared values are also important. We have done a lot of work with Darwin Fisher over the years and their track record was impeccable before and continues to be,” said Quinn.

The design and flooring project consisted of 70,000 square feet and spanned across main reception, kitchen and general office areas. Darwin Fisher refit five floors over five months working with XDesign. The materials used included Milliken carpet tile and Torlys vinyl flooring.

The comprehensive installation required raised access flooring so all duct work, wiring and electrical services would run under the floor, requiring many cut outs. “One of the most complex pieces is the flooring. All of Darwin Fisher’s staff and work was 110%, including raised flooring that wasn’t anticipated in the execution schedule,” said Quinn.

Entertainment One

eOne raised access flooring

The floor needed to be left accessible to be easily lifted and reinstalled when changes to services were required, which happened repeatedly, throughout the project. “The installation was completed on a very tight schedule and timeline,” said Doug McDonald, President of Darwin Fisher. “There was no time to make a mistake. We were installing in small areas, large areas and dealing with electrical and mechanical requirements simultaneously. This was one of the more challenging jobs.”

Not only was the installation complex, the building was under new construction therefore many different deadlines and logistics factored into the project. “We had to work with many trades at once and be very accommodating and flexible to make sure the project remained on time and budget. Each project silo needed access to the area, while we made sure the flooring installation was completed on time so as not to affect the budget and schedule,” said McDonald.

The partners on this project both agree that eOne was thrilled with the final result and the way in which the project was expedited. “It’s been a year and flooring is rock solid and everything looks great,” concluded Quinn.

 

Luxury Vinyl Tile: Superior Cushioning and Acoustics Insulation

Through technical advancements, luxury vinyl tiles (LVT) have become thinner in profile. To remedy issues associated with product progression, such as denting, InstaFloor has developed a unique, environmental and cost-effective solution.

Instalay for LVT, which is a patented technology developed and owned by InstaFloor, is stable, durable and non-collapsing. This environmentally sound solution is supported by recycled vulcanized rubber crumb granules. When compressed they provide cushioning performance, however, when the weight is removed the granules return to their original shape. Instalay alleviates denting of tiles via the rubber cushioning and reduces the risk of subfloor imperfections showing through the finished surface.

“Instalay recycled rubber crumb is obtained from used truck and car tires,” said Paul Laporte, sales manager for Instalay North America. “We keep old tires out of the dump sites. In addition to being environmentally friendly, Instalay provides outstanding acoustic properties, superior cushioning for underfoot comfort and impact energy absorption.”

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There are competitor products in the marketplace, however they use foam-based solutions, which are not an equivalent technology, explains Laporte. Instalay is an underlay product, which uses a self-adhesive system. “Our product has zero VOC and our acoustic ratings are one of the highest in the marketplace,” said Laporte. Each product has been thoroughly designed, tested and manufactured, using carefully selected components, to ensure that reliable, cost-effective results are consistently obtained.

“The biggest demand for our product is for acoustics, especially for condominiums and large hotel refits,” said Laporte. He went on to explain installers also enjoy the ease of installation and lack of downtime required as key benefits. It provides an ideal solution for refits as tiles can be easily removed. Installation is quick and efficient and there are no adhesive-related products required.
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Instalay For Luxury Vinyl Tile Benefits Summary

  • Unique self-adhesive construction
  • Considerably reduced installation time and cost
  • Quick to fit, easy to work with
  • Sub-floor preparation times significantly reduced
  • No messy wet adhesives or open time delays
  • Loose lay installation for rapid fitting and easy future lifting
  • Choice of high grab or low grab adhesive
  • Extremely versatile – ideal for use under most types of flooring
  • Can be walked on immediately after flooring is installed
  • Made from recycled tire rubber
  • Environmentally friendly and fully recyclable – ‘Cradle to Cradle’
  • 100% rebound (non-collapsing)
  • Excellent acoustic insulation
  • Comfort and stability
  • Anti-microbial and anti-allergy
  • Durable and non-absorbent
  • Suitable for use with under floor heating systems
  • Guaranteed for 10 years (terms & conditions apply)

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Instalay is extremely versatile and can be used to install solid, engineered and laminate wood floors, LVTs, ceramic, porcelain and natural stone tiles, carpet tiles and carpets. The product can also be installed over other flooring applications.

Currently, InstaFloor is renovating a large house in Las Vegas. The customer didn’t want the ceramic tile to be removed. InstaFloor leveled out the grout line and installed the LVT directly over the existing tiles. The residential application will be guaranteed for 25 years.

Beyond residential, Instalay is used worldwide across a variety of industries including hospitality, healthcare, education, leisure and retail facilities. Instalay has provided superior cushioned retail flooring for Clark’s International shoe stores across North America, where heavy retail traffic is constant. There are many other case studies across a variety of industries.

For more information about flooring installation solutions please contact us today at info@darwinfisher.com.

For more information about Instalay, please see instafloorna.com

*All images courtesy of InstaFloor North America.

Glueless Carpet Tiles: Good For Your Corporate Health and Budget

carpet-solutions

Traditional glues used in some flooring applications may contain formaldehyde or other volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which can trigger asthma attacks, allergies, and have been linked to cancer. For employees that are sensitive to compounds used in carpet glues, there are alterative carpet systems designed to help improve health and your bottom line.

Market Solutions

Glueless carpet systems are also sought after by companies that prefer more environmentally conscious products. Ecologically friendly solutions that don’t use traditional carpet adhesives are widespread. Innovations available in the market today include:

  • Connection systems designed to anchor the bottom of the tile, eliminating adhesive on subflooring or underlayment
  • Tape solutions which adhere to the corners of each tile to create a floating floor that stabilizes itself through attachments of adjacent tiles
  • Pressure sensitive adhesive which provides an alternative to wet adhesive

Used for both permanent or temporary installation projects, glueless carpet tiles offer a cost-effective solution to fixed flooring. These products have provn to be ideal for selective carpet replacement areas. As the carpet isn’t physically attached to the floor it can be easily moved and relocated. When changes to existing floor layouts are required, glueless systems are easy to lift and reconfigure based on the needs of the project at hand. Glueless carpet systems are also versatile. They can be installed over a variety of existing surfaces including wood, luxury vinyl tiles, concrete and raised access flooring.

These systems provide greater flexibility for installation and refitting for a variety of applications across many industries including healthcare, hospitality, retail, education and the entertainment industry.

Quick, Easy and Less Mess

Glueless carpet systems are a sound alternative as they create less mess. Clean up is efficient as there are no pails of glue and extra-related adhesive materials required. As sticky substances are not required for the sub floor, odors and harmful emissions cease to exist. Recently, Darwin Fisher installed a floating floor system for a large client with an employee that had a sensitivity to traditional adhesives. The solution proposed for the employer was quick, seamless and enhanced the environment from a health perspective, appeasing both parties.

From a productivity standpoint, extra labour isn’t required for floor preparation. Installation time is also reduced as there is no drying time required. Realizing these efficiencies helps to increase productivity while reducing costs.

For property managers, if a tenant decides to leave, the return to base building is also quicker, efficient and less costly. There is no grinding, no floor residue or any material to remove, besides the actual carpet tile.

carpet2

Extending Your Budget

These popular carpet systems are not only environmentally appealing but also enticing from a budget perspective:

  • As there is no need for glue, concerns in relation to health hazards, in addition to the environmental impact of toxic glues are eliminated
  • Offering little or no disruption to employees, glueless systems save time and money
  • As there is no mess, installation time is faster
  • Drying time is eliminated so refits can be installed much more quickly
  • No employee downtime due to health related issues

To learn more about glueless carpet solutions and the associated benefits, please contact us today at info@darwinfisher.com

Levitate – Raise Your Image Without Raising Your Budget

If you have an office which needs updating or renovating, zero downtime is usually the goal. When employees are unproductive for the duration of the refit it can be both frustrating and unproductive for everyone.

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For a highly populated call centre space the advantages of Levitate are evident. Photo source: Milliken

The dismantling of systems furniture, wiring and workstations is expensive in terms of time and budget. In addition, the associated manpower and skill needed for set up and take down is substantial.

“The biggest concern our clients want us to address when it comes to carpet installation is the associated logistics: How long is this going to take and how long will the office be disrupted?” said Doug McDonald, President of Darwin Fisher Commercial Flooring.

Darwin Fisher’s secret weapon is Levitate, an Office Lifting System that saves, time, money and eliminates disruptions. This technology gives Darwin Fisher the ability to replace carpet without dismantling office workstations, desks and other furniture. Time-consuming disconnection and reconnection of telephone lines and computer cables are also eliminated.

Levitate is an office lifting system which enables system users to re-carpet occupied office areas providing significant savings in time, cost and disruption. Levitate is a series of custom designed mechanical tools which are placed underneath any type of office furniture to lift it smoothly and safely. The furniture goes up smoothly and the carpet gets installed properly.

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Photo source: Milliken – Levitate Office Furniture Lifting System

“Levitate’s ‘no jolt’ screw system raises furniture off the ground in one smooth controlled and safe motion,” explains McDonald. “A traditional refit often requires the services of numerous teams of different contractors. We ensure the entire job is handled by a single professional Darwin Fisher team that provides a reliable and totally coordinated approach.”

The cost savings that Darwin Fisher provides its clients using this system is in excess of 50%. How does this work? Re-carpeting an office area typically entails complex organization and a long list of cost considerations including:

  • specialist furniture dismantling
  • removal teams
  • telephone engineers
  • computer technicians
  • storage
  • staff relocation
  • downtime

All of these costs are eliminated with Levitate.

Zero Disruption

Downtime for many companies means lost business. With Levitate Darwin Fisher can replace large areas of carpet overnight, rather than waiting to the weekend, helping to keep downtime to an absolute minimum.

Protection

Unlike other office lifting systems Levitate’s unique jack mechanism lifts furniture in one smooth and controlled motion. This “no-jolt” system means that your office will be completely protected throughout the refit.

Zero Downtime

Levitate ensures that carpet installation is a smooth process. Your office is left completely intact. When the job is complete, each workstation is in its proper place, computers boot up, personal effects are untouched. The experience is seamless. There is no need for staff to waste time emptying and refilling desks and filing areas. This helps to keep staff happy and productive.

If the only thing standing between you and a new carpet is a couple of tons of furniture, Darwin Fisher has your solution. See the following examples below.

Commercial Flooring Examples Toronto

Darwin Fisher Installation – Private Software Firm

Commercial Flooring Examples TorontoDarwin Fisher Installation – Entertainment One

 

 To find out more about our Levitate system and carpet installation please contact us.

Global Commercial Flooring Market Will Rapidly Expand By 2020

The global commercial flooring market is expected to reach $166.63 billion U.S by 2020, according to a recent study. North America is also expected to grow considerably over the forecast period.

The Global Commercial Flooring Market By Product, Application and Segment Forecasts, published by Grand View Research, Inc., reports that technological advancements and installation techniques have driven residential, commercial and industrial flooring applications. The San Francisco-based research firm also states that increasing demand in the construction industry is expected to be the key driving force for the market over the next six years.

“The report findings make sense as flooring is an essential item,” said Doug McDonald, President of Darwin Fisher Commercial Flooring, Inc., based in Mississauga, ON. “Over the past 10 years we’ve seen some major changes in the development of new materials that are both technologically superior, but also aesthetically pleasing, that have had a positive impact on the industry. This includes demand for environmentally friendly solutions which include bamboo, cork, hardwood and certain types of carpet.”

The report states development of new and innovative products and hassle-free installation techniques have considerably driven the commercial flooring market.

“There’s an abundance of excellent technology which has really driven the ease of installation,” said McDonald. “Our services reflect our investment in technology to save our clients time and money. For example, we own a furniture lifting system called Levitate, which gives us the ability to replace carpet without dismantling office workstations, desks and other furniture. It’s innovations such as this that are really helping to increase customer satisfaction, helping to drive the overall market.”

Commercial Flooring Trends Toronto

Source: Grand View Research, Inc.

The report segments the commercial flooring market into soft coverings, seamless flooring, resilient & non-resilient flooring, and woods & laminates. Soft coverings comprise of carpet tiles, broadlooms, and other flooring types such as rugs & carpets while resilient flooring includes linoleum, vinyl sheet flooring, vinyl tiles and primary rubber flooring.

“When it comes to materials, every situation is quite different and requires a customized solution,” said McDonald. “Our project management expertise includes understanding the details of site needs including preparation, installation, and post maintenance issues that make each job unique, including eco-friendly solutions.”

The report further explains that resilient flooring is on the brink of high penetration over the next six years. Healthcare and education sectors generate significant demand for vinyl sheets with the former using homogeneous sheet in clinical environments. Luxury vinyl tiles (LVT) have percolated to most of the commercial flooring application sectors and have increasingly replaced vinyl composite tiles (VCT) in corporate sector applications such as back office, cafeterias, break rooms, and corridors.

 

Flooring red and white accents design in Toronto

Imax          Designer Name: Quadrangle

“We have noticed a huge upsurge in LVTs and carpet tiles,” said McDonald. “Ceramics has also been a big market for us. These three areas are all growing sectors for Darwin Fisher.”

Commercial Flooring Examples Toronto

Sheridan Residences and Conference Centre    Designer Name: Darwin Fisher

McDonald’s observations concur with the report, which states that “compared to the residential sector, carpets’ demand in the commercial flooring sector is significantly higher. Carpet tiles have garnered importance in corporate applications and that a vast majority of the non-resilient commercial flooring market is comprised of ceramic tiles, in which porcelain is the dominant material owing to high-temperature tolerance and stain resistance. Hardwood and laminate are mostly used in niche applications,” the report reveals.

“There are a lot of flooring types to consider. We offer all of our customers our expertise and assistance in evaluating products performance/cost ratios to ensure a budget meets all the targets of a project,” explained McDonald.

Report Insights

ApplicationKey commercial flooring application areas include commercial offices, education, healthcare, leisure & hospitality, public buildings, and retail. Expansion of ultramodern offices and workspaces along with rapid urbanization and evolved consumer lifestyles has led to the growth of global commercial flooring market. The demand for commercial flooring materials across healthcare has been substantial owing to the increased requirement of anti-bacterial and slip resistant flooring solutions. High-end retail stores are expected to generate considerable demand due to increased remodeling activity.

CompetitionKey commercial flooring market participants include China National Building Material Co. Ltd., Flowcrete (RPM International), Hanwha, James Halstead, LG Hausys, Milliken Floor Covering, Nora, Novalis, NOX Corporation, Tajima, Tkflor, and Toli flooring. Companies are constantly developing innovative products and display & distribution systems such as online catalogs and virtual assistants to help consumers choose the perfect product for the intended application.

Commercial Flooring Examples Toronto

Corporate Office     Designer Name: XDesign

In addition, emergence of modern digital ink printing technology for creating patterns over ceramic tiles and other finishing products such as UV resistant and stain resistant coatings have helped in the better maintenance of the commercial flooring products.

Continuous and timely supply of raw materials used for manufacturing process is crucial for success of market players, as a result of which switching suppliers may negatively impact the financial and operating results of industry participants.

Raw material costs have had a significant impact on the commercial flooring industry. Along with the issue of transportation cost, manufacturers have to deal with increasing fossil fuels prices as a result of which their margins have shrunk to a large extent. Carpet and resilient flooring are largely derived from fossil fuels. However, the price rise of fossil fuels has considerably driven technological developments to enhance efficiency.

 Further key findings from the study include:

  • The resilient category is poised for high growth over the next six years.
  • Carpets’ penetration into the commercial flooring sector is higher than that in the residential sector.
  • Commercial offices accounted for a substantial market share in 2013, with significant demand originating from both, owner-occupied spaces and tenant improvement. Healthcare is expected to exhibit high growth potential throughout the forecast period with high demand anticipated from medical office buildings, acute care, and senior living categories. Considerable remodeling activity, particularly in higher-end retail stores is expected to play a pivotal role in high commercial flooring demand from the retail sector.
  • Steady demand from education and healthcare sectors supplementing increasing demand from the corporate section has driven the North American commercial flooring market.
  • Key commercial flooring market players are constantly evolving and innovating in a bid to maintain competitiveness.

To contact Grand View for the full research report: Click here

For more information about commercial flooring and installation please contact info@darwinfisher.com

Welcome to Darwin Fisher’s New Website

 

logo

We have a new logo, colours and tagline. In fact, we have completely rebranded. Although our look may be different, what hasn’t changed is who we are and what we do. Darwin Fisher was founded over 13 years ago. We are a company whose key team members have over 40 years of experience in the commercial flooring industry. As you explore the site you will see the depth and scope of projects we have executed and the process that we apply to every job we produce.

We love what we do and our goal is to make sure that each of our clients are happy with not only our expertise and workmanship, but in the superior service we provide. You will also notice that we specialize in all types of surfaces and are adept at restoring corporate spaces old and new. Our strength comes from our ability to tackle any project, big or small, and guide our clients through the entire lifecycle, while anticipating their needs and exact requirements.

We like to work as a collaborative team that is hands on. Our staff is always on-site and we make sure all parties that work with us are included in every step of the task at hand. Over the years, whatever the scale of the project, our clients have come to count on us to deliver on time and within budget – and we do.

To sum up what you will see on this website, we are a business that is passionate about our products, solutions and people. Our satisfaction is truly based on the happiness of our clients. As our tagline says, “We’re with you every step”….and we are! Enjoy the rest of our new website and please contact us if you have any questions or need more information.

Doug McDonald, President, Darwin Fisher