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. 

 

 

 

Logo Matting and Your Building’s Brand

Custom logo matting is a great alternative to strengthen your building’s brand while creating a professional image. The wrong matting can send a negative message by spoiling first impressions. Logo matting provides various functions. From a design perspective it offers a professional touch to your building entrance and a non-slip surface to protect visitors and your floor.

Logo Matting Creates a Positive Image For Your Brand

Your logo will keep your brand image top of mind for anyone entering the building. It also provides a professional clean look while protecting the surrounding floor from dirt and debris, to extend your flooring investment. Reasons to consider logo matting include:

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

 

logo matting

It’s as easy as placing your logo here.

“These custom mats capture debris and the entire system looks aesthetically pleasing,” says Doug McDonald, President of Darwin Fisher Commercial Flooring. “Logo matting offers many associated benefits. From a facilities manager perspective it will save money in maintenance fees because it’s easy to clean and maintain, while it also protects floors and builds your brand.”

logo matting installation

Logo matting and brand recognition

Logo Matting Can Help To Mitigate Trips and Falls

Matting can also protect visitors from slips, trips or falls.

In Ontario alone, Workplace Safety and Prevention Services (WSPS) reports  how slips trips or falls can affect your business:

How this hazard can affect your business

  • Each year there are about 17,000 lost-time injuries due to falls in the workplace*
  • 65% of all fall-related injuries are from “same level”*
  • One in five lost-time injuries result from falls*
  • Every year about 20 people die in Ontario because of workplace falls*
  • 80 workers are injured every day because of a fall – that’s one every 20 minutes*
  • An average WSIB claim is $11,771; factor in other costs like lost productivity and staff replacement, and the cost can be as much as four times more – approximately $59,000 per injury*
  • with a profit margin of 5%, sales/services required to cover the total cost of one injury equals about $1.2 million*

Source: *WSIB “Preventing Slips, Trips and Falls in the Workplace”

logo matting and carpet

Logo matting is a great way to share your company brand

This information is further supported by commercial property and casualty insurer CNA  which identifies lack of slip resistance as the number one cause of slip and fall accidents.  According to CNA Claim data in a recent article published on reducing slips and falls in financial institutions, “Mats can also help trap outside walkway dirt and water before they reach your floors and create a possible exposure. To be most effective, purchase floor mats with slip resistant backing and beveled edges ….  floor mats should cover an area for people to take three to four strides, approximately six to eight feet, before coming into contact with the flooring underneath.”

Logo Matting Keeps Visitors Healthy and Safe While Protecting Your Floors

Logos can be used with walk off entry matting systems or regular matting. If you are adding  logo detail in matting beyond the entry area of the main building lobby, it will  keep your building clean and tidy while keeping your brand top of mind, no matter where your visitor travels.

Logo matting

Benefits of logo matting and how it affects your building environment

Dirt, debris and moisture can have a considerable impact on your flooring investment.  Depending on the time of year, salt and sand can be corrosive. In the spring pesticides, fertilizers and other chemicals can be tracked in on footwear. The combination of all of these factors will erode the surface finish of your floor increasing damage from wear and tear. Certain types of debris and pollutants can also affect indoor air quality by introducing chemicals and allergens into the building.

By strengthening your brand through logo matting, you are ensured that all employees and visitors enjoy their stay in a building that helps protect their health and safety, while keeping your corporate image top of mind.

For information about logo matting systems, please contact info@darwinfisher.com

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.

Acoustics and Commercial Flooring – The Difference is Sound

Acoustics and commercial flooring are interdependent and will dictate the type of materials that are required for your unique installation.

The type of industry vertical will also dictate materials to be used as areas of high traffic will have different needs as opposed to less accessible, private locations. Other considerations include acoustic properties that relate to moving furniture, foot traffic or where the office or workspace is situated, which is constantly changing with today’s modular commercial work environments.

Commercial flooring contractors

Acoustics and Commercial Flooring Materials – The Difference is Sound

Armstrong Flooring reports “the absorption and transmission of sound energy in a built environment is directly impacted by the type of construction and building materials selected, and this is true for flooring as well. Careful consideration of the acoustic goals for your building spaces is essential prior to making construction and material selections, and flooring can play a positive role in achieving optimum indoor environmental quality for building occupants.”

Choosing the Correct Flooring Solution for Your Environment

There are many things to consider when choosing the correct commercial flooring to suit your acoustic needs.

  1. Acoustic Goals – What are the acoustic requirements and goals of the space? Does it need to be quiet or is it in a noisy area-  amongst metric considerations that may have to be adhered to.
  2. Building Layout – If a building includes a particularly noise sensitive space, opposite where more noisy areas need to be isolated.
  3. Building Construction – Determines many acoustical parameters, including STC and IIC needs must be taken into consideration if trying to minimize sound transmission between spaces by carefully considering both the building construction and flooring material.
  4. Acoustical Treatments –  Acoustical wall and ceiling treatments such as ceiling tiles are especially useful, given the large potential surface area, ease of installation, and the availability of high absorption materials.

commercial flooring contractors Toronto

There are 3 Ways of Measuring Sound

  • Surface 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.

According to Armstrong, “the type of industry/vertical will also drive acoustic and sound transmission considerations. Delta Impact Insulation Class (IIC): ASTM E-2179, also known as the “Delta” test, determines the noise reduction that a product adds to the assembly. This test consists of two IIC tests conducted over the same concrete subfloor. One test is over the bare concrete subfloor (no flooring materials) and the other is over the concrete subfloor with floor covering material. The measured IIC values are compared to the reference floor levels defined in the standard and adjusted to provide the IIC the covering would produce on the reference concrete floor.”

Acoustics and Commercial Flooring By Industry Vertical

For specific industry segments the acoustical property requirements vary by class. See Figure 6, directly from Armstrong’s Dispelling the Myths of the Role Flooring Plays in Room Acoustics white paper below.

commercial flooring installation GTA

Source: Armstrong Flooring – Acoustic metric importance by industry

Healthcare Acoustics and Commercial Flooring

In hospitals and doctor’s offices, the most prevalent surfaces are hard, sealed floors due to its many inherent benefits. A recent study which included Health Care Without Harm and partners, and written by Jennifer DuBose • Amaya Labrador showed that when choosing flooring, “the four priority issues that went into flooring decisions for all of the user types were cleanability, aesthetics, durability and initial cost.”

Acoustics were secondary, however hospital facility structure can naturally lead to low sound transmission between levels. The issue that arises with these hard floors is structure-borne impact noise, particularly from carts and footfall. Such noise has been found to affect patient health due to the additional stress imposed.

International Building Code requires an IIC minimum of 50. 4 areas of hospitals, like hallways and waiting rooms. However, a recent study by the Center for Health Design at Palomar Health concluded that the combination of hard flooring and the addition of acoustical ceiling tiles may be more effective than carpeting at reducing maximum noise levels3 .

LVT dental office installation

Darwin Fisher Commercial Flooring healthcare installation

Education Acoustics and Commercial Flooring

As with the healthcare industry, most flooring found in schools are hard, resilient surfaces for functionality and durability purposes. Carpet can and is installed, especially inside classrooms to reduce impact noises such as chairs scraping against floors. Classrooms generally require lower background noise levels and lower reverberation times to ensure that students can clearly hear instructors, but absorptive materials with high NRC for achieving this in classrooms are more effectively placed on the ceiling or upper wall.

Corporate Office Acoustics and Commercial Flooring

Unlike healthcare and education, carpet has been a trend in the office segment for several years. Carpet, as well as ceiling tiles and partitions, is installed to address unwanted sound. In an office the main distracters are “people sounds”— phone conversations, throat clearings, vacuum cleaners — anything a listener can detect and that distracts. Background sounds, like an HVAC system, that are regular and predictable are easier to block out than disruptive sounds, like conversation over a cubicle wall. When ceiling tiles, which are highly absorptive, are used in conjunction with other highly absorptive products like partitions, they can play an essential role in office acoustics.

Natural Stone Flooring Toronto

Darwin Fisher Commercial flooring IMAX headquarters office installation

Acoustics and Commercial Flooring – Understanding Your Requirements

There are a number of different types of products on the market, when considering flooring materials.  Many manufacturers offer different performance ratios from one product to another, from the surface of the product to type of backing used and flooring underlays. Ensure your flooring installer is knowledgeable of the differences, quality and applications that would best suit your environment for design, maintenance, traffic and acoustic considerations.

For more information about acoustics and flooring installation solutions please provide details of your inquiry here or email us directly at info@darwinfisher.com.

For more information about the Armstrong white paper, please click here.

 

Global Flooring Market Expected to Grow From 2021 – 2028

A global flooring market 2021 research report shows the market will continue to expand due technological advancements in materials and application, coupled with increased government spending on infrastructure.

In February, Grand View Research Inc. , headquartered in San Francisco, CA, released its global flooring market analysis report. The report states that the global flooring market size was valued at USD $388.24 billion in 2020 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.1% from 2021 to 2028.

global flooring market 2021 research

The report looks at the global flooring market size from 2016-2019, with expected growth to 2028. This includes forecasts of how market drivers, restrains and future opportunities will affect market dynamics. Also provided are segments and regions along with reasons for growth. Grand View Research has also provided an in-depth analysis of sustainability strategies adopted by leading market players.

Report Insights

The rising need for privacy and reduced noise has spurred the demand for insulation across the flooring market as a well-insulated floor improves acoustics. For more information on our recent article regarding flooring and acoustics click here. This has resulted in the growing demand for insulation, thereby supporting market growth.

Moreover, consumer preferences for aesthetically improved designs, textures, & colors and low-maintenance & easy-to-install floorings are anticipated to ascend the market growth. For more information on some of the leading types of commercial products click here.

Strong industrial and economic development coupled with population expansion is likely to have a positive impact on the product demand over the forecast period. The report also states that the development of hassle-free installation techniques, availability of innovative construction solutions, and the rising demand for environmentally sustainable products are anticipated to fuel the industry growth. The presence of a stringent regulatory framework on the production, usage, implementation, and recycling is also likely to have a positive impact on the market growth.

Increased R&D in flooring products in addition to customization options, in terms of color, texture, and finishing, offered by the manufacturers have contributed to higher product demand, also augmenting the market growth.

Product Insights

The report further states, the non-resilient flooring segment led the market and accounted for more than 61% share of the global revenue in 2020 due to a rise in the number of residential and commercial construction activities across the globe. The segment will retain its leading position throughout the forecast period on account of the high demand for these products due to their excellent water resistance and durability.

The resilient flooring segment is estimated to register the fastest CAGR from 2021 to 2028 due to the high demand for these materials in commercial applications, such as offices, gyms and hospitality buildings. These products are cost-efficient and durable and are the right fit for use in high-traffic residential and commercial areas on account of their ease of maintenance and noise-reduction capabilities. Moreover, resilient floorings are dense, non-absorbent in nature, and comfortable to walk on.

Ceramic and natural stone were cited as popular materials for construction applications. Seamless flooring is applied in the industrial environment, wherein, a large floor area is covered with resins and concrete materials.

Application Insights

Rising demand for highly durable and cost-efficient flooring for use in high-traffic commercial areas is projected to boost the commercial application segment growth over the forecast period. The development of new products and easy installation techniques are also driving the commercial segment. Expansion of modern offices and workspaces, growing renovation activities in commercial spaces, and rapid industrialization in developing economies are further expected to propel the segment growth.

global flooring market 2021 research

Regional Insights

The report states that demand for flooring in North America is anticipated to increase over the forecast period. The construction industry in the U.S. and Canada coupled with rising demand for single-family houses in the region is likely to provide growth opportunities to the market.

Key Companies & Market Share Insights

Technological advancements, R+D, coupled with new trends in floor designs and construction solutions have driven the overall market. There are a variety of market players and each of these companies offer a variety of products for residential, commercial, and industrial applications. Several manufacturers are engaged in research & development activities to introduce sustainable flooring materials.

Some of the prominent players cited in the global flooring market include:

 

For  more information regarding Grand View Research’s methodology please click here.

To see related articles regarding commercial flooring trends please click here.

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

 

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.

Dental Offices 2020: LVT Continues To Be Top Installation Choice

Dental office flooring installation in 2020 continues to move 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. 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.

lvt and dental offices

LVT installation continues to be popular for dental offices

“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 Doug McDonald, President of Darwin Fisher Commercial Flooring. “LVT offers superior thermal and acoustic properties in comparison to hard surface flooring. 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,” says McDonald.

LVT dental office installation Toronto

Photo credit: Canadian Dental Construction

Dental Office Trends: The Move Away from 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 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.”

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.

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.

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.

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.

lvt installation 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.

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.

To see a related article regarding commercial flooring trends click here.

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

Residential Meets Commercial Office Flooring Design

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