3 Top Tips for Flooring Care + Winter Planning

These top tips for winter carpet care and planning will help to protect your employees, building visitors, and long-term flooring investment. They will also provide a cleaner building environment.

All carpets become soiled, especially those in entrance ways where foot traffic is at a maximum. Some facilities maintenance plans are based on a set schedule, while others are only cleaned when the carpets appear to be soiled. As the winter months are soon approaching you will want to start planning for what matting or carpet entryway system will work best for your building.

Types of Carpet Systems – Which One Is Best for You?

There are many ways that soil and debris are brought into a building which is why it makes sense to have a walk off carpet system or matting system in place.

For example, the Steppin Out walk-off collection from Shaw Contract is engineered with a rough texture that traps up to 80% of soil and moisture brought into a facility.

The advantage of these types of systems is that they won’t move, buckle, or pucker which helps to reduce the risk of an employee or visitor falling or tripping. Matting and walk off systems also help to extend the life of a building’s installed flooring as it traps dirt and moisture on an ongoing basis. This offers good protection regardless of the flooring installed and reduces maintenance needs.

Another example is Pedimat Entry Mat Systems by Construction Specialties.

3 top carpet care tips

Pedimat Entry System

The company describes Pedimat entrance matting as “engineered for quiet performance, thanks to the combination of lightweight rails and strong aluminum hinge connectors, allowing them to be rolled up for easy cleaning and maintenance.”

Entrance matting systems are also quite beneficial. They tend to trap a lot more debris and will soil much quicker than carpets that exist on upper floors. The same applies to carpets near exits, loading docks, private staff entrances or any other high traffic areas, which need more protection from debris and moisture.

winter matting

Pedimat Entry System

3 Top Tips for Flooring Care + Winter Planning

A cleaning schedule based on when carpets appear soiled may be missing the mark. A build-up of debris can act as an abrasive, which can affect floor finishes, carpet fibres and materials and cause fading over time.

Winter tends to increase this risk as salt and sand are used around icy entrances. During these months, due to constant exposure of moisture there is also a higher risk for mold, mildew, and bacterial growth.

For winter carpet care and to protect your employees and flooring it makes sense to start planning now.

pedimat walk off systems

Pedimat Entry System

Darwin Fisher’s trusted partner program offers a comprehensive client maintenance package through Toronto-based Interior Care. Established in 1964 and operated by the Linton family, Interior Care is in its third generation, and one of the largest privately-owned specialty cleaning services in Canada.

Staff maintain over 700 corporate offices in Southern Ontario, cleaning more than 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.

interior care cleaning Interior Care service technicians are required to maintain their certification status by attending three annual, two-day Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification ( IICRC ) instructed in-class programs. Everyone is required to maintain a passing grade of 80% as part of their ongoing training.

“For top tips for winter carpet care, regularly maintained carpet tile by an IICRC certified firm will ensure a healthier environment for your employees,” explains Linton. This is especially important through Covid. “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.”

Top tips for winter carpet care:

1.     Determine Traffic Levels and Associated Requirements

This is reliant on several 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 vs a gym)
  • The actual location of the carpet that requires cleaning (entrance as opposed to second floor).
matting systems

Building entrance matting systems

2.     Choose the Type of Matting or Walk Off Carpet System Suitable for the Space

  • As outlined above there are many different types of systems available including walk off systems and matting systems.
  • Make a decision about what system is right for your building before winter months where ice and precipitation can increase the risk of trips, slips and falls.

3.     Decide on a Plan – Scheduled Maintenance Benefits

  • It’s wise during winter months to increase cleaning both inside and outside the building. Keeping sidewalks and driveways clear.
  • Increasing carpet vacuuming frequency is important for all entrance matting systems.
  • This may be required daily with higher traffic locations requiring several times a day to prevent soiling and debris build up.
  • Where possible, carpets should be completely lifted and cleaned under neath as well.
  • Daily spot removal where required is also beneficial.
  • 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 space.
tips for winter carpet care

Carpet entry system

All facilities should have a carpet care cleaning and maintenance plan in place both during the winter months and throughout the rest of year. Taking a proactive approach keeps carpets clean and healthy and extends the life of carpets. This can also mean that funds that might be used to replace carpets can be used for other purposes—a good idea during tough financial times.

Why Install A Walk Off Carpet Tile System?

Walk off carpet tile systems vary in design and materials but are generally a carpeted rubber-backed matting system which consists of carpet tiles which have coarse fibers that “scrape” dirt off shoes and carpet also can absorb soil particles and are adhered directly to the interior entrance area of a building.  They are a better alternative to unsecured mats because they are not only safe, they also protect your long-term flooring investment through providing a soil and moisture capture/barrier. Over time, heavy traffic, combined with soil or debris brought indoors can affect and remove a finish from an installed floor or damage carpet life.

“Soil and moisture are the main causes of premature wear and eventual replacement of the installed floor,” says Doug McDonald, President of Darwin Fishing Commercial Flooring.  “These types of systems also help building operators 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 debris that is tracked into a building. Area mats and runner matting systems can bunch or ripple.

A Worldwide Cleaning Industry Association (ISSA) article states,  “Many facilities still view matting as merely a way to prevent slip-and-fall accidents. While that is one of their key benefits, effective matting systems also keep as much as 80 percent of moisture and soil from entering a facility.”

Keeping It Clean

As walk off carpet tile systems are effective in their ability to “wipe/scrape” dirt, debris and moisture from shoes, this is a key benefit to mitigating trips and falls as dirt and debris does not reattach to footwear and become tracked into the interior of the building. Click here for a recent article where we featured on a walk off carpet tile matting system called Tough Stuff from manufacturer the Mohawk Group.

According to the Continuing Education Centre, Architecture and Construction :

  • The estimated cost of finding and removing a pound of dirt from a building is $600. (ISSA)
  • One square yard of carpet can accumulate one pound of dirt in a week- twice that in inclement weather.
  • 70 to 80 percent of dust, grime, and dirt in a building are tracked in from the outside on people’s feet permanently damaging floors and carpets. (Institute of Industrial Launderers)
  • Fifteen feet of effective, high-performance matting can trap and hold as much as 75 percent of this soil at the door; 30 feet can remove as much as 100 percent. (ISSA)
walk off entry carpet reduced maintenance costs

Photo credit: Mohawk Group – Tuff Stuff Walk Off Entry Carpet System

walk off systems and matting for inclement weather

Photo credit: Mohawk Group – Tuff Stuff Walk Off Entry Carpet System

Walk Off Entry Carpet Systems Lower Maintenance Fees and Protect Your Investment

From a facilities manager perspective walk off systems will save money in maintenance fees as they are easier to clean and maintain. By reducing the amount of dirt and debris tracked into a building floors and carpets will stay cleaner for longer periods of time, needing less care contributing to reduced use of cleaning chemicals. 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.

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

Darwin Fisher and Interior Care supply custom fit traffic matting which has two purposes:

  1. Prevent slips and falls on a wet hard floor
  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

See our other news articles outlining 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.

Commercial Flooring and the Pandemic: 4 Top Trends

The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has impacted the commercial flooring industry with issues ranging from supply chain delays to volatile pricing of raw materials due to unstable crude oil prices.

Many of these challenges can be attributed to four key trends, which will continue into the foreseeable future:

  1. Supply Chain Management Impacting Flooring Products and Building Materials

The pandemic has severely hampered supply chains which impact flooring products and building materials.

“Three or four week lead times used to be common, now we’re hearing twelve to eighteen weeks and some manufacturers have had to drop a product line entirely due to supply chain disruptions,”  Amanda Darley, Vice President of Marketing at Mannington Commercial noted in a recent company article.

supply chain management impact on commercial flooring

Supply chain management impacts on flooring and building materials.

What is happening to create these challenges?

  • Labour shortages

Many jobs have shifted from office to home-based. Also, many aging workers decided to retire or people voluntarily quit resulting in many industries experiencing worker shortages. This has taken place as demand for workers is rising and economies begin to reopen.

Changing demographics are a factor behind the shortages, according to economists, as well as border controls and immigration limits. Workers are also demanding better pay and more flexible working arrangements.

  • Raw Material Shortages

Raw materials disruptions, from lack of workers and supply chain issues have also delayed delivery of product. Items such as adhesives and resins used to make many flooring products are in short supply and impact flooring products.

In addition, the volatility in the prices of raw materials including polyvinyl chloride (PVC) due to unstable crude oil prices is also negatively impacting the market.

  • International Shipping and Transport Delays

The Washington Post recently reported that the world’s 1.89 million seafarers operate more than 74,000 merchant ships, providing transportation for roughly 90% of global trade. It’s an essential job, but also a lonely and dangerous one that requires months at sea, often with little ability to contact home or touch land.

The article went on to say that Covid worsened many of these floating workplaces, and seafarers worldwide are now rethinking their commitment to the trade. Industry leaders have warned that the pandemic will make it more difficult for them to hire workers for years to come.  As a result, the global supply chain could soon face a more debilitating challenge: a chronic labor shortage.

Compounding this problem is that ocean freight vessels and containers are limited in supply, and prices have skyrocketed. In addition to sea there’s also a problem on land. The shortage of truck drivers combined with increased shipping demand is stalling delivery times.

  1. Growth in the Resilient Segment

Commercial flooring and the ongoing pandemic has impacted specific segments. Until recently the COVID-19 pandemic significantly impacted worldwide supply as economies across the globe either delayed or suspended construction projects. However, as global trade restrictions ease and lockdowns lift, this year is expected to be the recovery year that leads to future growth.

Construction activity is now resuming and increasing, which is driving this growth , along with the commercial availability of resilient products.

A recent resilient flooring market report reveals luxury vinyl tile (LVT) accounted for more than 38% share of global revenue in 2020. LVT popularity is increasing due to advancements in design, technology, installation and its antimicrobial properties.

LVT leads resilient flooring segment

Market growth in the resilient segment.

  1. Increased Disinfection + Cleaning

As COVID-19 continues, there’s an increased emphasis on maintaining flooring with services 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.

Part of the resilient market growth mentioned above is coming from increased demand for slip-resistant and antibacterial flooring solutions.

Covid-19 flooring disinfection

Increased disinfection and cleaning of flooring in commercial spaces.

Resilient flooring applications are easier to maintain and sterilize. For example, LVT, is both cheaper than laminate or wood veneer and contains the spread of germs better as it has antimicrobial properties built into the finishing process.

Cork is an also sustainable, eco-friendly material that’s also naturally antimicrobial and water resistant. Ceramic tile can help prevent the spread of germs. There are also products being introduced with ceramic tile and grout infused with Microban technology, to protect against bacterial growth.

However, more data is still needed about how chemicals will affect interior finishes as there aren’t enough long-term studies regarding how these disinfectants will affect specific materials.  Flooring manufacturers need to provide more information about what chemicals can be safely used on floor surfaces as the increased need for disinfection continues . There’s not a lot of knowledge about what these disinfectants do to hard surfaces long term. Over time these issues could impact warranty.

  1. Increased Demand for Sustainable Solutions

Governments across the globe are launching sustainability initiatives that are expected to impact the future market and this commercial flooring trend has increased through the pandemic.

Key findings from a Reports and Data report reveals how government regulations restrict any use of harmful flooring materials and mandate producers to abide by the Leadership in Energy, and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for the Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) emissions are increasing the scope of the market.

Flooring suppliers have been also been emphasizing sustainable products. Sustainability has been an expanding driver of growth in LVT due to the product’s length of service life, sourcing, ease of care and maintenance and associated health and safety benefits.

“I will say that there are signs that this has really galvanized the sustainability movement in a new way,” said Lisa Conway, vice president of sustainability Americas for Interface, in a recent interview with Floor Covering Weekly. “There is nothing like a major global disruption to show us that we need [to] take the present climate change threat more seriously. Seeing the pandemic unfold worldwide has brought home the reality that our interconnected global society is more vulnerable than we realized.”

sustainable flooring solutions

Increased demand for sustainable solutions.

In the article, Conway further explained that “As more people understand that the built environment contributes significantly to greenhouse gas emissions that lead to global warming, we’re seeing the desire for low-carbon, carbon neutral and carbon negative building materials increase, especially within the commercial market,” from LVT to carpet tile.

Many leading flooring manufacturers agree that this trend will continue well into the future due to the ongoing pandemic. This will be a process that takes patience and ongoing communication. Managing expectations as lead times and deliverables are impacted will be key.

To see related articles regarding commercial flooring and the pandemic please click here.

For more information about flooring installation solutions please contact us here.

5 Reasons Why LVT Popularity Continues to Grow: Research

LVT popularity is increasing due to advancements in design and technology. New sizes, formats and patterns, combined with the fact that it is easy to install and less costly to maintain over time, makes it appealing to a variety of industry verticals.

 Verified Market Research, reports in its Global Luxury Vinyl Tile-LVT Market Size By Type, By End-Use Sector, By Geographic Scope And Forecast,  that  the LVT market was valued at USD 16.11 Billion in 2020 and is projected to reach USD 37.92 Billion by 2028, growing at a CAGR of 11.23% from 2021 to 2028.

Commercial flooring contractor Toronto

Verified Market Research – Global LVT Market

The report also states that, “Non-residential segment is anticipated to account for the highest market share. This can be attributed to the increasing demand for Luxury Vinyl Tiles from multiple end users such as hotel and hospitality segments because of the benefits they provide like sophisticated and aesthetic interiors and ease of cleaning. Hospitals also use LVT because they don’t react to chemicals and similar agents.”

Research and Markets reports The Luxury Vinyl Tiles (LVT) Flooring market in the U.S. is estimated at US$5.3 Billion in the year 2020. China, the world`s second largest economy, is forecast to reach a projected market size of US$8.3 Billion by the year 2027 trailing a CAGR of 13.7% over the analysis period 2020 to 2027. Among the other noteworthy geographic markets are Japan and Canada, each forecast to grow at 7.1% and 8.9% respectively over the 2020-2027 period. Within Europe, Germany is forecast to grow at approximately 8.1% CAGR.

Amid the COVID-19 crisis, the global market for Luxury Vinyl Tiles (LVT) Flooring estimated at US$19.6 Billion in the year 2020, is projected to reach a revised size of US$38.9 Billion by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 10.3% over the period 2020-2027.

commercial lvt flooring contractor

Research and Markets global LVT flooring growth

Why has LVT  increased in popularity? Here are the top reasons.

LVT popularity has also increased as it has become a practical choice across many industries. According to a Floor Covering Weekly  report released on June 28 of this year the top brands and suppliers are as follows.

Darwin Fisher Commercial Flooring Contractor

Floor Covering Weekly top LVT brands

5 Reasons for the rise of LVT popularity:

  1. The Way It’s Made

LVT products are generally made of moisture resistant PVC or virgin vinyl. LVT is made up of five distinct layers:

  1. Polyurethane coating (sometimes re-enforced with ceramic bead, silica bead or aluminum oxide) to improve durability
  2. Protective clear layer known as the ‘wear layer’
  3. Print film layer (with your chosen design)
  4. Vinyl core
  5. Vinyl backing

This results in a flooring solution that is easy to install, durable and easy to clean and maintain. Typically, LVT wear layers range from 20-28 mm of thickness for commercial installation projects, with thickness selected based on requirements from low through to high foot traffic areas. (i.e. low traffic office space as opposed to building entrance areas).

  1. Affordability by Design

LVT, through technological innovation, is now available in many different finishes, including those that mimic wood and stone. Designers are offered a large array of options at more affordable price points than natural materials. Designers are also drawn to the newly available patterns, colours and variety of designs offered as application pattern technology progresses.

  1. Low Maintenance

Upon initial purchase, LVT is more expensive than vinyl composite tile (VCT) products, however LVT has a lower maintenance cost over time due to its built-in protective layer, offering much more comprehensive and long-lasting protection. The protective layer doesn’t need regular waxing and polishing like VCT. However, this top layer will wear over time and may need to be reapplied for heavy traffic areas.

Each organization’s LVT cleaning and maintenance requirements will vary based on traffic. Inclement weather will also affect cleaning requirements. LVT only requires regular sweeping and mopping to remove dust and dirt which is much easier for cost-conscience maintenance budgets.

Toronto LVT Commercial Flooring

Darwin Fisher Commercial Flooring LVT IMAX installation

  1. Return on Investment: Durability

LVT popularity is driven also by the fact that it is protected by a clear layer which helps to maintain its appearance over long periods of time. The wear layer varies in terms of thickness. Thickness must be chosen in conjunction with the traffic area as heavy, long-term wear will affect appearance.  It will not expand and contract in humid or dry seasons and is a fraction of the price of stone or real wood. LVT is less likely to scuff, indent or scratch with regular use and wear and tear through foot traffic and furniture movement. This makes it a solid flooring investment choice for the long-term, combined with the fact that it requires very little maintenance.

  1. Acoustically Sound

Studies have shown that elevated noise levels from hard surface flooring can negatively affect the health and well-being of employees. LVT offers better acoustic properties than hard surface flooring like ceramic tile and it won’t chip or discolor.

Armstrong Flooring reports that building materials and furnishings can affect the acoustics of a building in three ways through information gathered on acoustical data:

  • Sound Absorption: They can absorb sound, lowering background noise levels and reducing reverberation within a room.
  • Airborne Sound Transmission: They can serve as acoustical insulation and reduce transmission of airborne sounds, such as voices, between rooms.
  • Impact Sound Transmission: They can serve as impact sound insulation and reduce the transmission of impact sound, such as footsteps, from one room to another below or adjacent to it.
Commercial Flooring Examples Toronto LVT

Darwin Fisher Commercial Flooring LVT installation at Entertainment One

In healthcare, we’ve seen a trend towards installation of newer finishes like LVT over traditional ceramic. Flooring decisions in healthcare depend on how it will affect patients, safety, indoor air quality and infection control. Floor surfaces also need to be slip resistant and offer smooth transitions from one area to another for staff/patients and related equipment. Part of the reason beyond new finishes and designs, is that these technologies offer sound transmission protection. Dentists and doctors stress the need for soundproofing. Walls, ceiling and flooring materials selected need to help protect patient privacy and hinder sound travel.

According to Verified Market Research “increase in disposable income, beneficial properties of Luxury Vinyl Tile and the increase in construction and remodeling activities are some of the major factors driving the market. The increase in disposable income of consumers had led to changes in their lifestyle choices and preferences as well. Moreover, this has also led to an increase in the number of construction-for residential as well as office space, and remodeling activities. The beneficial attributes of LVT-ease of installation and application, easy to maintenance, cost-effectiveness, resilient to chemical reactions and provides an aesthetic appeal to space make them much more popular for use in residential as well as non-residential construction.”

Many Finishes and Manufacturers

There are a number of different types of LVT products on the market. Many manufacturers offer different performance ratios from one product to another. This includes the surface of the product, to the type of backing used, in addition to thickness of the tiles. Ensure your flooring installer is knowledgeable of the differences, quality and applications that would best suit your environment, including projected wear from foot traffic/furniture, installation, and maintenance and acoustic considerations.

For more information about LVT flooring installation solutions please fill out this form on our website or email us directly at info@darwinfisher.com.

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.