Designers, building owners and managers have a wide range of flooring options available when it comes to selecting a surface for their facilities. But which materials provide the proper surface, cost of ownership and lifecycle expectancies for these facilities. Let’ look at some of the most common choices.

cracked tile floor

While VCTs and sheet goods may be an attractive first choice due to their relative low initial costs, design choices and quick installations they have some significant downsides to them. For instance, consider the high lifetime maintenance cost of vinyl. These surfaces must be cleaned and waxed frequently.

The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification estimated in a recent study that vinyl surfaces cost building owners 7.5% more to maintain than other hard surface alternatives due to vinyl’s low resistance to mechanical abuse.

Further, since the installation of vinyl products require water-based adhesives and/or heat welded seams to install over concrete substrates they frequently experience adhesive degradation, seam failure and high repair costs. These adhesives generally also contain high levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which are facing new regulation in public areas.

Rolled Linoleum

Like VCT and vinyl sheet goods linoleum is seen as an economical option by many building owners. However, linoleum has many of the same negative characteristics as vinyl options. Its lifetime maintenance costs are similar to vinyl along with the high VOCs of the adhesives and the material itself. Linoleum is facing increased regulation from federal and local authorities on where it can be used because it has little mechanical resistance, making it prone to joint failure which renders it unhygienic in many settings.

man taking out tile floor
Ceramic Tile

Ceramic tile offers designers a wide range of styles and finishes. It also has good mechanical resistance and medium maintenance costs. These costs tend to remain steady as long as the tile remains intact – an improbability in many settings given ceramic tile’s low impact resistance. Replacing tiles are expensive but predicting lifetime cost of ownership is difficult at best. As seen in other options ceramic tile can be unhygienic due to the porous nature of it seams and grout lines, limiting its placement in some facilities.

coffee cug spill on rug
Carpet and Rugs

Noise reduction and relative low cost are the main draws for building owners to choose carpet and rugs for their floor surfaces. However, these surfaces have the lowest life cycle and highest maintenance costs of the other options. Once a foreign substance is introduced to the carpeted area it is very unlikely that will be completely removed, thereby lowering the overall hygiene of the floor surface. A typical commercial carpeted area has a life cycle of four years with maintenance costs that approach $7/sq. ft. per year.

metallic floors
Resinous Flooring: Economy & Performance

The past few years have seen an explosion in resinous floorings use, versatility and design possibilities. It has proven to have much more affordable cost of ownership versus other surfaces and has life expectancies that are far longer, as well, with exceptional chemical and mechanical resistances. Resinous flooring’s seamless nature removes any crack s or crevices that harbor bacteria and other contaminants making it the most hygienic of flooring options. Further, innovations in resin chemistries have lowered or eliminated VOCs and odors making them accepted for use in virtually every type of building from manufacturing plants to hospitals.