Commercial flooring is commonly used in public spaces which experience heavy foot traffic such as schools, hospitals, hotels, restaurants, offices and shopping centres. They are thus required to be durable and low-maintenance. There are various factors that must be considered before deciding on a commercial flooring option. These include aesthetics, cost, strength, hardness and adaptability to specific applications, settings or processes, depending on the business needs. In shopping complexes the flooring is also required to make a strong visual statement.
Some of the most common types of flooring include:
Stone flooring are durable and long-lasting, particularly when laid with tight joints. The different types include granite, sandstone, slate and limestone. While granite is the hardest and has a wide range of colours, sandstone and limestone are softer having a warmer appearance and an attractive patination and colour variation. The softer stones show wear patterns more quickly. They are also more porous; it is therefore recommended that they are sealed before use.
These are the baked clay tiles which include porcelain tiles and terracotta tiles. Ceramic tiles offer a wide range of options in terms of shapes, sizes and colours. They can be cut to create highly decorative patterns. These tiles, when used in public areas, must be slip resistance. The appropriate slip resistance must be used for the different areas. Slip resistant ratings are usually provided by the manufacturers. Ceramic tiles however, can be susceptible to chipping or cracking, especially if incorrectly bedded or jointed.
These consist of marbles and other stone aggregate set in mortar, ground and polished to a smooth surface. A wide range of colours and mix of aggregates are available. The tiles are usually square and they come in a limited size range, but can be laid in a number of ways to create interesting and attractive floor patterns. Aggregates in the mix should be of equal hardness to prevent irregular wear and pitting. Smaller aggregates also produce a better mix resulting in a more durable quality.
A wide variety of colour and veining is available giving the opportunity for attractive, floor patterning. However, polished marble can be slippery when it gets wet or dusty. It also scratches easily and discolours through wear. Care must be taken when selecting marble, to ensure that the character seen in a sample is typical of the source, and that the quarry is sufficient to supply the quantity required.
These are flooring made of materials that have elastic properties providing a cushioned effect underfoot. Resilient flooring is a popular choice for not just commercial, but residential buildings as well. It includes vinyl, vinyl composition tile (VCT), linoleum and rubber. It is the ideal flooring option for areas that are prone to spillage and is widely used in hospitals, schools and shopping arenas.
Resilient flooring is available in either sheets or tiles of varying sizes. The former is used in medical buildings and food outlets because it has no joints, and so no germs or dirt particles can get trapped.
Wood is a unique and renewable material. It is not usually recommended as a principal flooring material in commercial spaces but can also be used in feature areas or special locations. Wood flooring comes in a variety of sustainable options such as solid wood, reclaimed wood, cork flooring and bamboo flooring. Laminate flooring is also similar to hardwood floors. It is fabricated in a plank form but made with medium density fibreboard (MDF) core and a plastic laminate top layer.
Wood is one of the priciest flooring options in terms of initial costs, but other than this, it is relatively low maintenance and durable.
Epoxy is manufactured from polymer compounds and applied in liquid form to provide a completely seamless floor covering. Sometimes low quantities of stone, marble or concrete are added to provide a non-slip surface. The resulting substance is highly durable and strong, with resistance to moisture and stains and, is non porous. It also prevents fire from spreading, which is why epoxy floors are often used in industrial and manufacturing plants.