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Different types of commercial flooring

When considering an office fit out or refurbishment, commercial flooring is a key consideration, not only from an interior design perspective, but also the practical properties that all of the available options can offer.

Three key considerations

Slip ratings (R-Value) - In an office, areas that can become wet such as restrooms and tea points/break out areas should carry the appropriate slip rating value. In many cases, this value is R10. Many of the products designed for the commercial market will carry the appropriate slip rating so that due consideration can be given to balance practicality and aesthetics.

Appropriate usage – Different types of flooring carry a ‘grade’ which will determine its durability. We only recommend products that are suited to commercial use, particularly in high traffic areas. Generally, these products carry a long warranty and are made up of hard-wearing material for heavy footfall.

Sub structure – for many commercial flooring products, the sub floor should be considered before specifying products. Particularly if wood floor, luxury vinyl tiles or ceramic/porcelain tiles are preferred. Many of the products require a completely smooth and level finish, which may not always be possible, particularly in older buildings.

Available flooring types:

Having considered the practical elements of your space, you now have a choice of different types of commercial flooring. Here we explore the different types and discuss the benefits of each:-

1. Luxury vinyl tiles (dry back)

Dry back luxury vinyl tiles (LVT) are popular as they are available in such a wide variety of designs, sizes and budgets. Designs include wood effects, stone effects and abstract tiles.

Dry back products are available with differing ‘wear layers’ which makes it a great choice for high traffic areas such as receptions and break spaces due to its durability. This product is also very easy to clean and resistant against staining and fading.

This product requires a completely smooth and level finish, often requiring a self-levelling latex to be applied before it can be laid. The drawback to this is that you lose flexibility when installed on top of raised access floors.

2. Luxury vinyl tiles (loose lay)

Designed with flexibility in mind, loose lay luxury vinyl tiles (LVT) are usually much larger, thicker planks than the dry back alternative.

Also available in wood effect, stone effect and abstract designs, this product is a great choice where flexibility is required, such as accessing services underneath a raised access floor.

Another benefit to using this product is that it requires very minimal prep and can be laid straight onto a smooth and level and de-rocked sub floor.

The available designs are not as vast as the dry back options, partly due to the size that the planks need to be, but it is still possible to lay loose lay products in popular laying patterns such as herringbone and chevron.

3. Modular carpet tiles

Modular carpet tiles designed for commercial use are not only practical as they are hardwearing and easy to uplift when access to the underfloor services is required, or during churn projects when floor boxes need to be relocated but the variety of designs, laying patterns and pile composition is so vast.

Modular carpet tiles help with reducing reverberation and echo within a room, particularly when paired with acoustic wall and ceiling treatments. They are a key consideration when acoustic privacy is required.

There are several backing choices with cushion backed tiles proving the most comfortable under foot.

Modular carpets are very versatile and there will be a product to suit all budgets.

4. Broadloom carpet (roll)

Broadloom carpets are usually installed in lower traffic areas such as client facing boardrooms, where a touch of luxury is required.

Usually installed onto an underlay, broadloom carpets are very comfortable underfoot and selecting a velvet pile will provide the space with a very classy aesthetic.

Broadloom carpets are not as easy to clean and once the floor box or grommets have been cut into it, they can’t be moved. They are also supplied in set roll widths so the room dimensions should be taken into consideration, to limit wastage.

5. Engineered wood flooring

Engineered wood flooring offers a very authentic and elegant aesthetic to the office space. Made up of a real wood surface layer, it is easy to add warmth to the space with this product.

Depending on how thick the top layer is, it is possible to sand the floor down during its life.

Although they are more resistant than their hardwood alternatives, when considering wood products, the change in temperature within the office needs to be considered as the planks can expand and contract. Expansion gaps need to be considered when specifying engineered wood floors.

Engineered wood floors do need to be maintained as they are liable to scratching, scuffing and fading.

Due to their thickness, the transition between engineered wood floors and other commercial flooring products will need to be designed. In most cases, the neatest solution is to lower the raised floor so that a smooth transition can be achieved, rather than a ramped transition strip.

Flexibility is lost with engineered wood floors, as they are not easy to uplift to access under floor services and once floor boxes and grommets are cut into them, they are not easily repaired.

6. Ceramic/Porcelain tiles

Ceramic/porcelain tile floors are very durable and offer a classy aesthetic to client facing reception areas, together with practical considerations for wet areas, due to their water and stain resistance.

Similarly with wood floors, the transition needs to be considered as they do require a large amount of preparation work and the overall thickness tends to be higher than other commercial flooring products such as modular carpets.

When fitted on top of raised access floors, flexibility is lost, so planning your services around these floors is critical.

Our team are very experienced in working around the challenges of the different flooring types and will be very pleased to work with you, to identify the correct commercial flooring product, for your office fit out project.