Covid-19 Flooring Disinfection and How It Impacts Your Installation Choices

As Covid-19 continues into 2021, many flooring manufacturers are introducing new solutions, materials and finishes to increase social distancing. However, selecting the right application for your installation goes well beyond the product chosen. Covid-19 flooring disinfection will impact your flooring considerations to include long-term functionality, daily employee traffic flow and maintenance.

As there is now more demand for cleaning and sterilization, understanding how this impacts flooring in terms of life expectancy, appearance retention and ongoing maintenance also needs to be considered as installing the wrong product could lead to future issues.

Covid-19 Flooring Disinfection and Impact

‘As we continue to live with COVID-19, there’s an increased emphasis on maintaining flooring, with services on offer that are designed to keep floors clean—and virus-free. From protocols, to equipment and disinfectants, there’s plenty to consider when deciding on the proper cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting of commercial flooring,” states Floor Trends Magazine in a recent article.

The article goes onto say that more data about how chemicals will affect interior finishes is required as there aren’t enough long-term studies regarding how these disinfectants will affect specific materials over time.  For this reason, there is a greater need for flooring manufacturers to provide more information about what chemicals can be safely used on floor surfaces as disinfection becomes a regular part of the care process. This relates specifically to how this could impact warranty.

Covid-19 flooring disinfection

How disinfection can impact your flooring choices

Covid-19 and Social Distancing Flooring Solutions

Leading applications provide different levels of wear and tear and also vary in design and aesthetic impact. For example, carpet tile technology has progressed to absorb sound and offers cushioning for employees who frequently stand. Carpet tile provides greater flexibility for installation and refitting for a variety of applications across many industries including healthcare, hospitality, retail, education and the entertainment industry.

Mohawk Group Nutopia 2.0 and Milliken  Social Factor  and other manufacturers now providing navigational flooring solutions using carpet tile. Carpet tile has extra cushion and vinyl backing so that it doesn’t easily unravel. Carpet tile is also  extremely durable and spot areas can be quickly changed without requiring additional installation expertise. Many manufacturers are now offering social distancing carpet tile solutions to help mitigate employee anxiety and direct traffic flow. In general, the cleaning and maintenance costs of carpet are relatively low, requiring regular vacuuming and an occasional deep cleaning. How Covid-19 will impact the cleaning and maintenance of carpet tile will depend on the location, amount of traffic and demands of the space where installation occurs.

Covid-19 Flooring Disinfection

How Covid-19 will impact carpet installation

VCT 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 the qualities found 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 healthcare 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. Although VCT is easy to maintain the impact of harsher chemicals for disinfection over long periods of time will eventually affect top layer finishes.

Covid-19 Flooring Disinfection

Photo credit: Mohawk Group – Large + Local LVT creates directionality

LVT has become a popular choice as it is 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 by 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.  There are several manufacturers that offer wayfinding LVT products to help with social distancing solutions and traffic flow in the workplace. LVT is another material that is easy to clean and maintain however, if it is installed in high traffic area which requires constant disinfection the chemicals used would have to be examined to determine how that would affect long-term care.

Covid-19 and Emerging Healthcare Flooring Applications

The flooring choice for hospitals is still dominated by resilient applications. Here we are seeing new and innovative solutions which are also environmentally friendly, like Legato Liquid Linoleum from Mannington Commercial.  According to Mannington, “Legato Liquid Linoleum can be installed across many segments that require the benefits of infection control, slip resistance, and sound dampening – traits that go above and beyond that of a traditional linoleum thanks to its seamless installation and Quantum Guard Elite® technology. These segments include healthcare, government, education, retail and assisted living applications.”

Liquid linoleum flooring solutions

Photo credit: Mannington Commercial  – Legato Liquid Linoleum

As there are a broad range of flooring solutions available it’s wise to ensure that you are dealing with a reputable flooring contractor that understands the opportunities and challenges associated with your new build or retrofit. As Covid-19 flooring disinfection becomes more complex, true flooring specialists need to 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. Installing the best solution for your particular space will ensure your flooring needs and return on investment are met for years to come.

Free Consultation

For your free Covid-19 flooring installation assessment, please contact us here.

Social Distancing and Navigational Flooring for the Workplace

Social distancing has created the need for navigational flooring solutions in the workplace as Covid-19 restrictions continue into 2021. As a result, many flooring manufacturers are designing flooring collections in a wide variety of materials, which are all creatively aimed at encouraging social distancing, easing workplace traffic flow and reducing employee anxiety.

Nelson Worldwide recently executed a study to “to clarify how we, as individuals, have responded to the sudden change in our work styles and work environments.” Nelson Worldwide is a firm that specializes in delivering architecture, interior design, graphic design, and brand strategy services. It describes itself as offering services which transform all dimensions of the human experience, including environments where they work, serve, play, and thrive.

social distancing and flooring solutions toronto

Image credit: Nelson Worldwide

In its 2020 Return to Work Survey, the company found that “purposeful and visible changes to increase safety measures in the office are top of mind to assure the workforce that re-entry is safe.” Physical safety measures were rated extremely to very important by 83% of survey respondents. Nelson also cited the survey results found that, “there is a strong tension between wanting to return to the office and anxiety over health and safety – with 54% wanting to return to the office, while 51% experience anxiety over health and safety.”

commercial flooring solutions toronto

Image Credit: Nelson Worldwide

Another key insight reported was that 81% of people are craving clear, consistent, and reassuring communication to reduce anxiety around the return to the office environment.

social distancing and commercial flooring Toronto

Image credit: Nelson Worldwide

Social Distancing and Navigational Flooring Solutions

Floor Trends Magazine concurs, “As people return to public spaces, two issues loom large: guiding individuals safely around the interior, and reminding everyone to maintain a safe distance from each other. Wayfinding and zoning are simple ways to help people navigate your space, and flooring has long been a key component of the solution. Adding new visual cues beneath people’s feet helps coordinate their movement, reducing the likelihood of individuals coming into close contact.”

Manufacturers are already providing solutions which will help to mitigate employee anxiety, while providing navigational flooring design cues to coordinate flow of traffic and encourage distancing.

Floor Trends reports that Tarkett’s new suite of solutions aims to help businesses address these challenges. Tarkett’s Imaginations Custom Floor Design program enables architects, designers and facilities personnel to create custom die-cuts for carpet, LVT, rubber or resilient sheet. These can include specific designs, messaging or imagery, which can then be fabricated and shipped directly to the job site.

Designs include arrows or footprint tiles which can be integrated with an existing floor as distancing markers. Circles can also be added in along with iconography and messaging, all encouraging social distancing through navigational flooring.

Another example of a flooring manufacturer that has that has included social distancing in their flooring design is Mohawk Group, which also offers flooring collections to make it easy regulate traffic and create distancing in the workplace through design.

Commercial flooring installation Toronto

Photo credit: Mohawk Group

Social Distancing and Navigational Flooring Collections

Mohawk’s  Nutopia 2.0 collection  offers planks that include a ground texture, a transition pattern and an accent color which all work independently or together as a system to create zones. The company explains that as Nutopia 2.0 coordinates for cohesion, it can help ease visual stress, making the reinforcement of social distancing guidelines a subtle reminder while contributing pleasing aesthetics to the space.

Mohawk also offers directional wayfinding solutions for organizations that need to consider how its employees navigate through open or common areas. This type of flooring showcases directional patterns and pathways that can help reduce foot traffic, provide safety in terms of walking through larger areas by reinforcing distancing.

In addition to measured distancing, flooring styles can be configured to represent subtle directional lanes to move people through a space, as Mohawk demonstrates in the picture below.

Flooring Project Management Toronto

Photo credit: Mohawk Group – Large + Local LVT creates directionality

“As many companies attempt to balance the importance of human connection with the need to safely foster that connection, it is vital to consider the impact of the floorscape,” says Mohawk in a recent article. “We believe that designing for distance means thoughtfully incorporating commercial flooring that is versatile enough to carry the workplace through this transitional period and beyond.”

Social Factor is yet another creative solution from Milliken Floor Coverings. Social Factor is described as a program designed to provide instructional, graphic solutions for social zoning in shared spaces that features a collection of icons printed directly on carpet tiles. Milliken’s Social Factor solution defines zones, creates cohesive traffic flow and maintains safe connectivity within workspaces. Below is a series of 50 cm x 50 cm tiles which can be customized by base, icon and accent colour. Click link above for more detail.

Social distancing flooring installation

Photo credit: Milliken Social Factor

As we begin embracing 2021, there are still many uncertainties looming, however these solutions will help ease back to work anxiety, create positive social distancing spaces, regulate foot traffic and define clearly zoned areas to help keep employees safe.

For more information about encouraging social distancing through navigational flooring solutions, please contact us here.