A Lasting Impression – A Closer Look at the Life-Cycle of your Floor

Regardless of the type of facility you have, your floor is always a centerpiece. It’s the one element of construction that is in constant use and is always visible. Thus, the decision of what floor covering product to choose (within the confines of budget you have) becomes a very important decision. A “life-cycle cost analysis” is very helpful tool when weighing your flooring choices. This analysis looks beyond the upfront cost alone and involves an examination of the cost of the product spread out against the useable life of the floor. Combined with the stats and specs from the products themselves, buyers can more easily assess the best fit for their flooring needs.

Here’s what should be included in a life-cycle cost analysis:

  • Purchase price of the material
  • Installation price of the material
  • Cleaning and maintenance costs (This is often the most important factor as the majority of post installation expense is here.)
  • Repair costs (if needed)
  • Removal (if your facility updates on a regular basis)
  • Disposal of material (This can be an overlooked expense, however, the fees to transport material to a landfill or disposal site can add up to surprisingly high numbers.)
  • Replacement cost of new material

Once all of this information is gathered, the number is divided by the number of months or years a particular floor covering is designed to last. This creates a “cost per year” that gives a more realistic look at your flooring investment. Though the process of conducting this kind of analysis may be time consuming, the time spent will be worth the return in long run and can translate to considerable savings.

According to the Creative Materials Corporation’s “Tile Talk,” “An independent construction cost consulting firm, Scharf-Godfrey (a Division of Phoenix Engineering, Inc.), conducted a Life-Cycle Cost study comparing various types of ceramic tile, including porcelain, mosaic, and quarry, to 12 other commercially popular floor finishes such as hardwood, laminate, concrete, stone, carpet, vinyl, and poured epoxy (see complete list below).”

The chart is an excerpt from the TCNA Green Report (www.tcnatile.com.) The prices listed are approximate square footage costs. Talk to your Continental Flooring representative for exact pricing for the products and quantities you need.

Here is a snapshot of some of the most popular and durable flooring products available from Continental Flooring to factor into your life-cycle cost analysis:

Quarry Tile –Extremely durable and easy to maintain. Requires some cleaning. Considered the industry standard for commercial kitchens and food service areas, this tile withstands high traffic and repels spills, including grease. This tile is made from hard-fired clay and can be very cost effective. The downside may be the limited design options, but the functionality usually outweighs the aesthetics.

Ceramic and Porcelain Tile – Extremely durable. Easy to clean and maintain. Porcelain and ceramic are from the same family but have distinctly different usage. Both are ideal for a countless number of installations and are created in essentially the same way (with baked clay), so density and strength become defining factors. Ceramic is manufactured with porous clay that is in a less refined “raw” state than clay used for porcelain. Conversely, the porcelain clay is almost always white, more refined and purer, and uses significantly more minerals (like kaolin and feldspar) which ultimately gives it higher density and durability. Porcelain is also baked all the way through so the color and pattern are part of the tile itself, making it more appealing in heavy use areas where it may be chipped.

Laminate – Made up of multiple layers, laminate flooring is mostly a high-density fiberboard surrounded by a backing, a decorative print and a heat fused laminate layer. This laminate layer protects the core and design from dirt and liquids.

Vinyl Composition Tile (VCT) –  Durable. Requires maintenance and specific cleaners – stripping, waxing and polishing. VCT is a composite, porous tile, but when maintained properly, can be suitable for high traffic environments. VCT has a lower upfront cost, but the ongoing maintenance costs could be impactful on the life-cycle cost of this floor.

Terrazzo –  Highly durable and aesthetically versatile. Perfect for incorporation of logos and design. Terrazzo can have a higher upfront cost but is extremely resilient. Made from a composite of various stone and glass chips mixed with portland cement or epoxy resin. This is considered green flooring since it is easily installed without the use of hard chemicals.

Epoxy Flooring – Cost effective and aesthetically pleasing. This flooring system is created by applying a thermosetting resin directly onto a moisture-treated concreate slab. The epoxy makes the concrete impervious to wear and tear creating a versatile and durable product. Strong enough to be put in manufacturing facilities but appealing enough to go into retail and other commercial spaces. Proper installation is key to the success of the floor.

Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT) – Perfect combination of durability and beauty. LVT isn’t suited for high impact usage, but can easily tolerate high foot traffic, heavy loads common in commercial environments, and is resistant to abrasions and spills. The durable, abrasion resistant wear layer allows for years of good looks while the UV-cured urethane coating provides low-maintenance options and may eliminate the need for polishes in some areas. In recent years, there has been a tremendous amount of usage in hospitals as the design possibilities are endless and the installation tends to be quick.

Carpet Tiles –  Superior in functionality over broadloom carpets. Carpet tile systems (though more expensive than broadloom) are easy to replace and are widely considered the best option for those in search of soft surfaces. One of the biggest advantages in high traffic areas is that carpet tiles can be removed if they are soiled, stained or damaged. Since most carpet tiles have high performance backing and are now installed with a releasable adhesive, tiles can be removed and cleaned or replaced with new tiles very easily.

Let us provide you with the perfect product for the life of your floor. We can offer materials only or complete installation services.  GSA Buyers may wish to register online to view GSA pricing. This feature allows buyers quick, up-to-date access to 17 different GSA contracted manufacturers. Please feel free to call us for product advice, free samples, assistance in specifications, or to place an order. One call does it all!