Top Ways to Care for Your Luxury Vinyl Tile After Installation

Today we are examining top luxury vinyl tile (LVT) care and cleaning tips as this highly sought after flooring option offers the perfect combination of durability and affordability when properly maintained.

LVT is popular in healthcare settings, schools, and commercial spaces. It has gained traction over vinyl composite tile (VCT) because it is a much lower maintenance application that has a long lifespan.

According to Healthcare Facilities Today for one school, the switch from VCT to LVT saved them $77,941 within 10 years.

Top LVT Care and cleaning tips

Darwin Fisher LVT installation at IMAX

Why is LVT Popular for both Designers and Facility Managers?

Luxury vinyl floors can provide any space with the rich look of natural materials such as hardwood or stone.

“We encounter designers who like to regularly specify LVT on new construction and remodels due to the extensive design possibilities offered in addition to the finishes,” says Doug McDonald, President of Darwin Fisher Commercial Flooring. “As it is a low maintenance product, it also appeals to facilities owners and their maintenance management teams.”

LVT

Photo credit: Mannington Commercial

While it is a very forgiving flooring application, LVT does come with a few challenges. Proper maintenance is a key factor and it’s important that the designated care company or facilities team is educated about the application properties and what cleaning approaches are best to use.

Top LVT Care and Cleaning Tips

LVT comes equipped with a wear layer, which can get damaged or scratched with regular wear. As a result, many manufacturers suggest simple protection such as pads under furniture and chairs to mitigate scratches and dents.

As LVT is often textured as it is designed to simulate real surfaces like hardwood or stone, it can be harder to clean. However, these patterns and ridges are helpful in terms of slipping, skidding and offer better slip-resistance over a smoother floor surface such as porcelain or ceramic.

LVT care

Darwin Fisher LVT installation at IMAX Headquarters

Most of the LVT manufactures recommend a regular dust mopping and wet cleaning to maintain the appearance and lifespan in addition to a cleaner that is near neutral pH for regular wet cleaning.

Caring for LVT – Maintenance Schedules

Newly installed LVT may look like it’s made from hardwood, but care and maintenance require a different approach. There are several different ways to care for LVT over the course of its lifespan.

Commercial Flooring TorontoTop LVT Care and Cleaning Tips – LVT Routine Maintenance

For routine maintenance, LVT simply requires a vacuum or dust mop. This will help to prevent debris from grinding into and marking LVT’s surface layer. If there are any liquids spilled, they should be mopped up or wiped away immediately using a cleaner specifically for LVT floors. Wet mopping can be applied daily or weekly depending on traffic levels and precipitation in the area.

Top LVT Care and cleaning tips

Photo Credit: Mannington Commercial, Layers of LVT

The wear layer varies in terms of thickness and it’s important that the thickness be chosen in conjunction with the application at hand or problems can surface in terms of floor traffic and long-term wear.

Whenever cleaning LVT always start in dry mode, sweeping away the loose dirt and debris from your floors prevents it from getting stuck to your mop when it’s time for a deeper clean. A vacuum cleaner in place of a broom also works well if the bare floor setting is used.

Commercial Flooring TorontoCommercial Flooring TorontoTop LVT Care and Cleaning Tips – Periodic Maintenance

This will again depend on traffic, however periodically your LVT should be cleaned using a neutral cleaner and auto scrubber and then rinsed with water.

If required, this can be followed by buffing to remove scuffs. This is one reason that routine maintenance is important as it will prevent the dirt from being ground into the flooring surface by the scrubber.

Following these steps will protect your LVT and keep the flooring properties intact. However, there are certain thing that should not be used when caring for LVT.

Top LVT Care and Cleaning Tips – Chemical Use

According to Multi-Clean, traditional neutral floor cleaners are often recommended for cleaning LVT flooring. “Owing to their mild nature, these conventional products may not provide the cleaning horsepower needed to clean textured LVT surfaces. Dirt tends to collect in the low spots of the textured surface making it hard to clean while detracting from overall appearance.”

However, the company goes on to say that modern technology is allowing neutral cleaners to be strengthened using naturally occurring enzymes that help break down soils.  These bio-enzyme cleaners are still near neutral in pH but exhibit better overall cleaning performance.  Like neutral floor cleaners, the bio-enzyme cleaners don’t leave a significant residue and do not require rinsing. Owing to their better cleaning performance, these cleaners can be classified by UL for slip resistance.

LVT care and maintenance

Photo Credit: Mannington Commercial LVT

In a recent Mannington Commercial article the company states “LVT does not need a floor finish therefore, we see a reduction of chemistry, water, and man-hours in maintaining these floors. In fact, we’ve found we can successfully reduce chemical and water use by 40 percent when the right products and processes are implemented.”

Mannington recommends a microfibre mop as it doesn’t absorb liquids, unlike flat mops or string mops which hold a lot more chemicals, which leads to over saturating the floor. This can leave a residue that the company states can attract more soil and creates a cyclical process, contaminating areas that don’t have foot traffic as dirty water is pushed around.

Top LVT Care and Cleaning Tips – What to Avoid

  • Never use any ammonia-based cleaners as it can end up damaging and cracking the vinyl flooring.
  • Never steam-clean vinyl flooring as the heat can cause LVT to warp
  • Never use anything that is abrasive such as steel wool or harsh scrubbers as it can permanently damage the tile beyond being able to be buffed out. This will also increase the lifespan of the flooring

Scratching of LVT flooring is a real possibility. Applying a rejuvenator to the flooring can hide existing scratches and other blemishes while protecting the floor from further scratching. Best of all, the rejuvenator makes floors easier to clean. The protector is an ultra-thin shield that doesn’t build up on LVT flooring.

While some facilities may apply a conventional floor finish to LVT this is considered an option and not recommended as there can be a build up over time on the finished floor which eventually will affect how it looks and performs.

Mannington also states using the same old chemicals, equipment and techniques aren’t an effective cleaning solution on newer hard surface floors like LVT or resilient sheet vinyl.

LVT

Photo Credit: Mannington Commercial, LVT looks like stone

Mannington offers Quantum Guard Elite and Quantum Guard HP, a proprietary technology that is naturally stain resistant and requires no-polish maintenance that significantly reduces overall life cycle cost and total cost of ownership. “If you’re a facilities manager struggling to see results after cleaning your floor with old techniques, consider switching to the right microfiber pad, water, and a bit of agitation to solve the problem with even heavily soiled flooring products,” states the company.

There are several options when it comes to LVT flooring maintenance depending on a many different factors including traffic. Your reputable flooring contractor will assist you with the best maintenance approach for your specific situation.

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 LVT flooring installation please contact us here.

 

 

Project Management: 6 Top Steps for Successful Installation

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.

preparing commercial flooring

Preparing the area for LVT 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 and flooring

  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.

LVT installation toronto

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.

commercial flooring contractors toronto

Final LVT finishes

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

  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

 

Global Resilient Flooring Market Report Reveals LVT in Top Spot

A recent resilient flooring market report reveals luxury vinyl tile (LVT) accounted for more than 38% share of global revenue in 2020.

The global resilient flooring market size was estimated at USD 38.7 billion in 2020 and is expected to expand at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.2% from 2021 to 2028, according to San Francisco, CA-based, Grand View Research.

global resilient flooring market

Key Factors Driving the Resilient Market

The key factors driving the resilient flooring market include increased construction in residential and commercial segments, combined with the growing need for long lasting, durable flooring.

Increased activity in the construction sector along with demand for building improvements is also anticipated to increase demand for resilient flooring over the forecast period. Resilient products are highly sought after due to their long-term wear, low environmental impact, and ease of maintenance.

The development of environmentally-friendly solutions will also fuel industry growth, along with technological advances such as waterproof finishes (wood plastic composite).

The segment that dominated the largest market share in 2020 was vinyl sheet and floor tile products at 42.0%, due to commercial-wide application.

The Impact of COVID-19 on the Global Market

The report further states 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.

The market in the U.S. is expected to grow due to the commercial availability of resilient products and rapid advances in installation techniques, coupled with the rising demand for sustainable and environmental materials. Innovation in construction based resilient applications are anticipated to impact the market favourably.

The report further states, that the high initial investment for flooring facility is anticipated to pose barrier for new company entrants. This compounded with the volatility in the price of raw materials, including polyvinyl chloride (PVC), due to the instability in crude oil prices, is expected to negatively influence industry growth.

Product Insights Related to the Global Resilient Flooring Market

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 and residential applications.

“We have definitely seen and can corroborate this trend at Darwin Fisher,” says Doug McDonald, President of Darwin Fisher Commercial Flooring. “LVT is by far our biggest market. Every job is demanding LVT. We are still installing carpet tile also, but that application has not grown like LVT.”

In a recent article we featured additional research and market trends as to why LVT popularity and market share continues to grow. See LVT.

“The main thing we’ve noticed is that this increase isn’t restricted to one sector,” explains McDonald. “It’s everywhere – corporate offices, industrial buildings, student residences and so forth. It’s not one sector and is being used in a lot of different applications with varying qualities.”

The vinyl sheet and floor tile segment are also projected to significantly grow over the forecast period due to the advancement in water-resistant technology. Moreover, low maintenance costs and the long lifespan of the products are likely to increase the popularity of the products in residential end-use like laundry rooms, bathrooms, kitchens, and moisture-prone areas.

The report states that in comparison to vinyl solutions, linoleum products have better longevity and durability. These flooring applications and products are manufactured using jute resin, flax plant, limestone, and wood flour that makes them 100% biodegradable. The increasing importance of waste management and recycling in developed economies including the U.S., U.K., and Germany, is anticipated to increase demand for biodegradable flooring materials.

Rubber used in commercial resilient flooring spaces is popular for its slip-resistant properties which make it suitable for high traffic areas. There are also natural and synthetic rubber floor tiles that are used in health clubs and other high-impact areas.

Application Insights Related to the Resilient Flooring Market

When looking at the breakdown between residential and non-residential segments, as seen in the chart below, Grand View Research reports non-residential accounted for more than 64.2% of the global revenue share in 2020. Contributing factors to this market segment growth include ease of maintenance, sterilization, and slip and water resistance properties.

LVT installation global resilient flooring market

A growing population coupled with a rise in demand for single-family and multi-family residential spaces in major economies such as India, China, South Africa, Turkey, and Middle Eastern economies are projected to increase demand. Grand View attributes this growth to rising disposable income and availability of home loans.

Regional Insights Related to the Resilient Flooring Market

North America dominated the market and accounted for over 33.0% share of global revenue in 2020. This was largely due to rising demand for residential applications, an extensively developed manufacturing industry, and government initiatives to develop social infrastructure across the region.

In Asia Pacific, China dominated the market owing to rising construction projects, higher adoption of LVT, vinyl sheets & floor tiles, and rubber flooring, in residential as well as non-residential construction projects. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, in Q3 2020, the construction industry grew by 2% in China, following year over year declines of 1.9% in Q2 and 17.5% in Q1 2020.

The growth of the market in Central and South America is attributed to growth in emerging economies including Brazil, Argentina, Chile, and Peru. Rising consumer awareness regarding the benefits of appropriate flooring and the presence of key manufacturers such as Mannington Mills, Inc., Armstrong Flooring, Inc., and Milliken is projected to have a major impact also.

Key Companies & Market Share Insights Related to the Global Resilient Flooring Market

Some of the leading players are continually developing new products which are aesthetically pleasing and offer technological application advances which increase performance and long-term wear. These players also work with with emerging entrants to develop low-cost products to gain competitive advantage.

Tarkett S.A. and Mohawk Industries, Inc. are identified as the front leaders with a large number of subsidiaries operating around the world. Tarkett S.A, based in Europe, caters to a wide range of flooring products, including resilient and non-resilient, globally. Mohawk, based in North America, has with numerous subsidiaries including IVC Group, Unilin, Pergo, etc., which account for a significant share of the global market. The leading players according to Grand View, include:

Global Resilient Flooring Market Report Scope

 

LVT flooring

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.

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.

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

Pros and Cons of Commercial Flooring – Top 5 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), vinyl composite tile (VCT), engineered hardwood and laminate wood. In this article we will be examining the pros and cons of these five commercial flooring types.

Pros and Cons of Commercial Flooring by Type:

1. 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 technological progressed.

2. Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT)

Pros

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

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

pros and cons of commercial flooring types

Darwin Fisher LVT installation at Entertainment One

 Cons

For offices where employees are standing all day it may not be the best flooring in terms of underfoot comfort. The wear layer varies in terms of thickness and it’s important that the thickness be chosen in conjunction with the application at hand or problems can surface in terms of floor traffic and long-term wear. According to the Milliken Flooring blog – “Cleaning hard surfaces like LVT  and VCT (see below) is generally more labor-intensive than carpet, requiring mopping instead of vacuuming to remove dirt and debris. In an 8-hour shift, this makes it possible to clean a 21% larger carpeted area than a comparable hard surface – translating into a 21% increase in labor costs for VCT and LVT.”

3. Vinyl Composite Tile (VCT)

Pros

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

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

Cons

If not installed properly or in the wrong area, glue on the tiles can come loose and cause the tiles to lift at the corners. Maintenance requires regular waxing and polishing to maintain the protective coating on the surface of the tile. Over time color or pattern deterioration of the tile can be affected. Cleaning issues may also arise that are related to surface wear and tear. “Though VCT offers good value, it lacks many of the benefits carpet tiles are able to provide – including reduced ambient noise, improved underfoot comfort, lower risk of slips and falls, and greater color, pattern and design flexibility,” according to Milliken.

4. 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.

5. 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.