Safe and professional flooring that is suited to the needs of your business is a valuable investment, but it must be maintained well to keep it looking new. Today’s commercial settings have evolved over recent years away from the traditional choices of hardwood and carpet. It’s now more common to see vinyl or tile flooring, but carpet and hardwood haven’t been forgotten.
Is vinyl flooring good for commercial use?
Vinyl is becoming an increasingly popular choice for commercial flooring. Vinyl composite tiles (VCT) are a more traditional type of vinyl, popular due to their durability and maintainability. The material is very thick and can be stripped, waxed, and burnished many times before needing a full replacement. The main concern for commercial customers is that VCT is quite outdated and doesn’t give the aesthetic appeal that they’re looking for.
Luxury vinyl plank (LVP) is an attractive-looking material that wears well and, due to its glue-down nature, is economical to install. It’s popular in commercial settings due to requiring minimal maintenance and cleaning, only needing an occasional polish.
When choosing LVP, avoid low-quality products and a lower wear layer, as these will not handle heavy traffic well. The top pattern will wear into the backing over time, which cannot be repaired without a total replacement. LVP should also never be installed in areas susceptible to extreme fluctuations in temperature. This can cause expansion and contraction, leading to severe damage to the edges and the adhesive underneath, weakening and releasing the planks.
At a comparable cost to stone tiles, stone plastic composite (SPC) and wood plastic composite (WPC) vinyl planks can provide additional durability than alternative vinyl options. Like LVP, SPC and WPC can be easily maintained by cleaning with low-moisture processes and polishing. However, these materials can easily trap water underneath if there are leaks in the premises, needing a complete replacement afterward.
When to replace commercial tile flooring
Both tile and stone are very durable flooring choices and can last a long time if properly cleaned and maintained. The main concerns with these types of flooring include cracks or chips from items being dropped directly onto the floor and grout falling out over time. It’s also common for tile flooring to be replaced due to the color, look, or style becoming outdated.
The choice of material can play a large part in its overall lifespan. For example, softer stones such as limestone can wear quickly in high-traffic areas. Natural stone requires lots of upkeep and maintenance and can often be expensive to clean and polish. Many businesses will replace their tile flooring with an alternative material after realizing the level and cost of upkeep required to maintain it suitably.
Commercial carpet replacement
Carpet tiles are a traditional yet popular choice in commercial settings. Often in a squared shape or elongated squares, patterned tiles can be arranged in various ways to create new designs. A benefit of carpet tiles and squares is that areas of damage or staining can be replaced relatively easily without needing a total flooring replacement.
The most common choice for commercial carpets is PET or PTE, which are both more cost-effective than the alternative of nylon. Common signs of wear and tear of PET and PTE carpet include crushing, staining, and wear in heavy traffic areas and embedded drag marks caused by friction from moving heavy items across the flooring without proper protection, melting the carpet.
Nylon is a much more resistant material but also more costly. Nylon carpet often only needs replacing once it has worn out. Signs of wear include snags and carpet ravel, usually around the seams.
Replacing hardwood flooring
Hardwood and engineered wood flooring are much less common in commercial properties these days. It usually only remains as the original flooring or for businesses trying to achieve an old-time aesthetic. Hardwood flooring is often covered with one of the more modern types mentioned above.
Hardwood flooring can wear down quickly in high foot traffic, especially when hard-wearing footwear is commonly worn, such as high heels or heavy boots. Maintenance is essential with hardwood flooring, requiring day-to-day cleaning to prevent the build-up of dust and dirt. Signs that it’s time to replace your hardwood flooring include creaking floorboards, water damage, exposed nails, and significant scratches, marks, or chips that cannot be resolved by refinishing.
Refinishing is the process of sanding down the flooring and reapplying the finish to remove scuffs, chips, and stains, restoring the original appearance of the boards. Not only does this improve the appearance of the flooring, but it also helps it maintain structural integrity. Hardwood can generally be refinished 6-10 times over its lifespan.
The chosen flooring for your commercial property will depend on your wants, needs, and budget. If you need help deciding on the right flooring, read our comparison of carpet and vinyl plank flooring or our guide to the best commercial flooring for high-traffic areas.
Whichever material you choose, it’s advisable to enlist a professional to install the flooring, as incorrect installation can reduce the material’s lifespan. Look after your flooring correctly, and it will stand the test of time, but be sure to replace it when necessary to reduce safety risks and maintain its professional appearance.