Pros and Cons of Commercial Flooring – Top 6 Types

Technological advances in commercial flooring have created a variety of applications that have made installation and maintenance more manageable, while delivering long-term return on investment. Some of the most popular choices include carpet tile, luxury vinyl tiles (LVT), porcelain tile, vinyl composite tile (VCT), engineered hardwood and laminate wood. In this article we will be examining the pros and cons of these six commercial flooring types.

Pros and Cons of Commercial Flooring by Type:

1. Pros and Cons: Carpet Tile

 Pros

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.

Toronto Carpet Tile contractor

Darwin Fisher carpet tile installation at IMAX headquarters

When it comes to carpet tile some of the pros include varieties available with extra cushion and vinyl backing so that they don’t easily unravel. Carpet tile is also  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.

Carpet Tile Commercial Toronto

Darwin Fisher carpet tile installation at IMAX headquarters

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 spot 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. The cleaning and maintenance costs of carpet are relatively low, requiring regular vacuuming and an occasional deep cleaning.

Toronto carpet contractors

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 can also perceived as “cheap” when compared to broadloom in terms of aesthetics, however that is changing as designs, patterns and materials have technologically progressed.

2. Pros and Cons: Porcelain Tile 

This past year, we’ve seen a big increase in porcelain tile installation in dental offices. Porcelain tile has slightly better water resistance and is easy to clean and maintain by damp-mopping with a mild water-soap solution. Porcelain is made of clays that are less porous than ceramic clays. The hard surface is more impervious to moisture than ceramic tile and increases durability heavy traffic and use areas. Chip a porcelain tile, and the color continues all the way through; as a result, the damage is nearly invisible. Porcelain maintenance only requires a daily damp mop and periodic sealing of the grout lines. As it offers solid color throughout, porcelain tiles are stronger and more durable, and chips are less likely to be visible.

dental office porcelain tile

Darwin Fisher dental office porcelain tile installation

 Cons

Porcelain tile is more expensive and is harder surface which may not be the most comfortable for offices that require employees to stand for long periods of time. Also, according to the PTCA,  porcelain tile is defined as an impervious tile with a water absorption of 0.5% or less as measured by the ASTM C373 test method. There is tile being sold in the market which does not meet this standard despite it being advertised and sold as porcelain tile. This has led to marketplace confusion, installation problems and liability concerns due to misrepresentation.

3. Pros and Cons: 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. This is why it is important that the thickness be chosen in conjunction with the application requirements or problems can surface in terms of floor traffic and long-term wear.

 

4. Pros and Cons: 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.

Vinyl Composite Tile

Photo credit Armstrong Flooring vinyl composite tile

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. VCT offers good value, but it can lack the benefits carpet tiles are able to provide – including reduced ambient noise, improved underfoot comfort, lower risk of slips and falls.

5. Pros and Cons: 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

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.”

Varathane hardwood can be maintained with specialty cleaning products or with a damp mopping – never over wet. 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.

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.

6. Pros and Cons: 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.

Pros and Cons of Commercial Flooring Summary

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. Choosing the right application for your area goes well beyond just price, but should take into consideration the long-term functionality needs, the amount of daily traffic and employee needs.

We have outlined this pros and cons of some of the leading applications to give you a better idea of what to expect when it comes to factors affecting performance, life expectancy and appearance retention. 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.

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. 

 

 

 

Project Management: 6 Critical Steps for Successful Installation

In commercial flooring,  project management depends on 6 steps for successful installation.

So much of our work goes unseen as revealed by the pictures below.

Project management has always been our most important service offering. For over 18 years we have executed very large, complex projects to small installations. Our proven process ensures your installation experience is seamless, while offering minimal disruption to your employees.

As we continually work with end users, general contractors, property managers, interior designers, and architects our project management process is comprehensive. Here is our 6-step process which delivers minimal disruption to our clients while providing quality installation.

6 Key Project Management Steps for Successful Flooring Installation

  1. Assessment

Our seasoned staff understands the intricacies involved with many different types of corporate flooring environments. We first assess the needs of your project via an onsite visit. This helps us mitigate the possible issues that can arise by examining the flooring surface. We then determine the preparation and materials required.

carpet tile installation

Darwin Fisher project management and carpet removal and installation

“The biggest concern our clients want us to address is the associated logistics,” says Doug McDonald, President of Darwin Fisher Commercial Flooring. “We offer minimal disruption to our clients. This includes understanding the details of site preparation, installation, and post maintenance issues that make each job unique. We thoroughly investigate each challenge, pairing it with a solution customized to fit our client’s exact needs.”

  1. Scope and Materials

Once we have collected all of the requirements, we recommend products that are optimal for your site. We then provide a detailed plan with an associated budget related to project execution. We use software which creates a graphic representation of how the materials are applied to the floor plan. These colour coded plans help our clients to easily conceptualize what is being proposed.

Project Management

Darwin Fisher in progress dental office flooring installation

  1. Budgeting and Planning

Our software then allows us to produce line item proposals for our clients. This is used to track the status of the project as it moves through the implementation cycle. This is especially critical when timelines are constantly moving or when the circumstances associated with a specific installation change. It’s also an important tool for closely tracking a project and costs when there are fluctuating changes due to other trades on site.

As part of this process, product performance/cost ratios are provided to clients to ensure that the budget meets all project parameters. After the product is chosen, verification samples are provided to confirm the product is representative of what the designer/client requires. This eliminates any material errors before work starts.

Project Management

Project management: Budgeting and planning

  1. On-Site Project Management

When the project is initiated, materials are ordered and delivered to the warehouse. See why this is important in our previous blog post and how it helped our client – Pusateri’s Fine Foods.

We’ve made our warehouse an integral part of our operations as it not only acts a place to store product but offers a location to prepare and ship orders. Inventory management is important as it offers a wide array of benefits. This provides extra value to our customers as it allows for the right product to be available and delivered to the right place, at that right time.

project planning and flooring

Darwin Fisher sub floor prep for an LVT installation

Darwin Fisher projects are generally turnkey but if delays are encountered, including equipment, electrical and plumbing problems, project timelines can become offset. The warehouse ensures a project will run smoothly as it provides the flexibility to have both materials and experts on site at a moment’s notice.

Once the project begins, 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. This ensures transparent co-ordination of activities, while meeting schedules and budget demands. We are always there to answer questions and to make sure the project is running according to plan. By continually being an onsite resource for our client, any issues can be dealt with quickly.

Pictured below is our Fuzion Flooring LVT product installation for Procon Construction.

Project Management

Darwin Fisher final LVT installation finishing details

  1. Post Installation

Once the project is complete, we accompany our client on a site walk through to ensure all project specifications are met. Our goal is to have our client completely satisfied with the final result. To see examples of our client work please click here.

  1. Warranty

Our clients are then provided with the flooring maintenance requirements and warranty manuals for all products installed. Although, the project may by complete, our after-service commitment to our clients is ongoing to ensure the highest quality and customer satisfaction for partner network.

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