Over time, commercial flooring will require a refresh. Most office spaces have relatively high foot traffic and since everybody’s always wearing shoes, every flooring type will get worn down eventually.
There’s no single answer to what type of flooring is best for a commercial office environment – it will depend on a range of factors that are individual to your space and organization.
Whether you’ve just purchased or started renting a new office that could do with a flooring update, your existing office flooring is reaching the end of its life, or you feel like changing the look of the office, this blog post is for you.
How to choose the right flooring
When the time comes to replace your commercial flooring, consider the following points to decide which flooring type is right for your needs:
- How heavy is the foot traffic in the office? Perhaps you see a high number of clients and visitors passing through the office daily, or your employees often move around to collaborate or use other facilities like a copier, kitchen, or meeting room. The level of foot traffic that the office sees on average will have a big impact on the best type of flooring for your needs.
- What sort of furniture do you have in your office? Large, heavy furniture or equipment that is rolled around on wheels can put a lot of strain on the flooring. Do the chairs that your workers use to scrape the floor when moved? Do you regularly move furniture around to accommodate meetings or other activities? In these instances, you’re best to consider flooring with a higher durability.
- Would you prefer flooring that is water-resistant? Offices generally aren’t places where you’d expect liquids spilling to be a concern, but is there a possibility of an employee, client or visitor knocking a cup of coffee? Is your office dog-friendly? Will the flooring be laid in proximity to kitchen appliances or the restrooms? If so, a flooring type that is both water-resistant and stain-resistant may be a safer choice than others.
- How much work are you willing to put into maintaining your flooring? Your office may have a dedicated cleaner, or perhaps it’s up to employees to keep it clean. Certain flooring materials have a better resistance to dirt and debris, so require less cleaning and maintenance. Others require more upkeep and investment to maintain a clean and professional appearance, as well as increase longevity.
- How much of your budget do you have for new flooring? Although there are lower-cost and more expensive options for most types of flooring, certain materials are inherently more affordable than others. Consider not only the price of the flooring itself but also the price of installation and any additional, long-term costs associated with maintenance.
- Do you require flooring with sound-dampening qualities? Perhaps there are other office units on the floor below yours, or your office space is large and open-plan, contributing to echoes when people talk or move around. Consider whether sound-dampening is a priority for your circumstances.
- What sort of aesthetic do you want from your flooring? Many offices choose to keep their design clean, minimal, and professional, but this is ultimately down to your preferences and the needs of your business and clients. Perhaps you want your office interior to coordinate with your branding? Many flooring materials have aesthetic variations to help you achieve any desired look.
Choosing carpet for office flooring
Used as commercial office flooring, carpet has both positive and negative qualities. Possibly one of the best flooring choices for noise reduction, carpet is ideal for offices hoping for a quieter working environment. Carpets can also help keep the room warm, which is a nice added benefit. The carpet’s aesthetic is very versatile, with an extensive color range and a choice in styles and fibers.
Carpet prices vary depending on the chosen material. Choosing a higher-quality carpet can be a worthy investment for an office environment, as heavy foot traffic is guaranteed to wear sections of the carpet down over time, but this is a significantly slower process with higher-quality materials such as nylon.
If you’re interested in carpet for your office flooring, consider opting for carpet tiles. Tiles can be a more sustainable option since you can easily replace smaller sections of carpet if they are to get worn or stained, whereas traditional rolls of carpet are likely to require an entire room replacement to resolve one localized area of damage.
Carpets can trap dust and other allergens, meaning if someone in the office suffers from allergies, carpet may not be the right flooring choice. Dust and light dirt is simple enough to clean with a vacuum cleaner but carpets can be easily stained through spills and dirt dragged across on people’s shoes. Choosing a darker color can help disguise small stains and marks, but it’s also recommended to have your carpets professionally cleaned at regular intervals to keep them looking fresh.
Is vinyl flooring good for commercial use?
Vinyl flooring is suitable for office environments due to its longevity and hard-wearing performance qualities. The material is resistant to damage such as dents or scratches from heavy shoes or dragged furniture, and it becomes even more resistant when opting for higher quality vinyl like Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT). Vinyl flooring has a few sound-dampening qualities due to its solid nature, reducing noise from footsteps and dampening airborne sound.
Similar to carpets, vinyl flooring is very versatile, with different color and pattern options, meaning it will suit most interiors. However, unlike carpet, this type of flooring does not trap dust, making it ideal for offices where some workers may be particularly sensitive to allergens. It’s also easy to clean with a vacuum, simple cleaning solution and a mop and requires very minimal maintenance. Vinyl flooring also tends to have quite high water resistance; however, prolonged exposure to water or repeated flooding can damage the adhesive.
Two options for office wood flooring
Hardwood flooring is one of the pricier office flooring options, but is very long-lasting, with a lifespan of anywhere from 30-100 years. It’s incredibly durable but can also be sanded and refinished to remove scratches and dents that may have penetrated the upper layer. However, it’s important to note that hardwood can be damaged by water, so it isn’t recommended if spills or leaks are a concern. Hardwood also absorbs sound well, contributing to a quieter environment.
Classic and stylish, hardwood flooring appears both luxury and professional which is ideal for an office environment. It can be regularly polished to maintain its original appearance, but it can become slippery if over-polished, so keep that in mind!
A lower-cost alternative for achieving the appearance of hardwood is engineered wood flooring, although it’s worth noting that the price difference isn’t overly significant. Engineered wood flooring is composed of layers, with the uppermost layer being a thin sheet of wood, giving the same appearance as hardwood planks. It has a lower lifespan than traditional hardwood, however can still last around 20-40 years with the right upkeep.
Engineered wood flooring has a better resistance to moisture and temperature fluctuations than hardwood, however does not absorb sound anywhere near as well, often being fairly noisy to walk on.
A final consideration when comparing hardwood to engineered wood flooring is that hardwood is not suitable for underfloor heating, so if your office has existing underfloor heating, or you may consider installing some in the future, engineered wood is the right choice out of the two.
Is laminate office flooring a good choice?
Laminate is a popular choice for commercial office settings. A wide variety of styles are available, along with a range of colors and finishes, and laminate can easily imitate certain natural materials with wood variants and stone effects. Laminate is an ideal choice if you want the look of wood but for a lower price point. The boards can be purchased for a relatively low price and are one of the easiest flooring types to install yourself if you’re looking to save on installation costs.
Laminate flooring is quick and easy to install and is resistant to dents and scratches. Being very durable, it holds up well under heavy foot traffic and is simple to clean and maintain. Laminate also has great sound-dampening qualities.
A downside of laminate flooring is low water resistance. If water is allowed to seep into the boards, it can cause swelling, warping, cracks, and lifting, requiring replacement of the board to rectify. Office environments aren’t typically at risk of water causing damage, but if an appliance or toilet is to break and leak, laminate flooring is unlikely to hold up.
If it’s time to replace your commercial office flooring, make sure that you’re investing in the right flooring type for your needs. Try not to be guided too much by the initial cost of a material, as investing more in a suitable and durable flooring product can save costs over time due to longevity and ease of maintenance.
It’s best to enlist the help of a professional to install your flooring, to ensure that the installation is carried out correctly and safely, helping to increase the overall lifespan of your floors.