Learning What Flooring is Best – A Closer Look at Educational Facilities

Choosing a floor for your educational space might be a bit more complex than you think. From cafeterias and classrooms, to gymnasiums and offices, flooring in a school is not only integral to creating the atmosphere of the facility, but it will also impact both the function and appearance of the building. Old or worn out flooring can create a dismal feeling for students, while a colorful scheme and high-quality look under foot may contribute to a welcoming, and more motivating atmosphere. Flooring is the foundation and an essential part of the entire education environment so, it’s important to consider carefully. With so many multifunctional spaces, choosing may feel like a challenge… but we are here to help.

 Options for Every Space

In addition to budgets, the performance of the floor will be a key factor. Though there are a number of options, here are some of the most popular flooring choices for education:

Vinyl Composition Tile (VCT): VCT has been a mainstay in education for  decades. This flooring is comfortable under foot, stain resistant, durable, suitable for high traffic and cost effective. The tile is made from porous material, which means VCT will need to be  waxed and polished regularly.

Armstrong’s  vinyl composition tile (VCT) is specifically designed for high-traffic areas, “with flowing linear patterns, organic looks, and densely patterned earth tones vinyl tiles effectively mask scuffs and soil in busy commercial applications. Vinyl floor tiles provide endless design possibilities with patterns and color options to fit any interior space.”

Armstrong Flooring has reinvented their vinyl tile. Their Imperial Texture with Diamond 10 Technology coating to keeps floors looking newer, longer. Diamond 10 Technology provides a protective coating, improving resistance to scratches, stains and scuffs. You will save on costly maintenance by reducing initial application of polish by 50% and eliminating or reducing ongoing restorative stripping. Less floor polish means a lower cost of maintenance procedures, compared to traditional VCT.

Luxury vinyl tile, or LVT: LVT is one of the hottest products on the market today. This flooring is 100% vinyl, so not porous. Major manufacturers, including Armstrong (with their Diamond 10 technology), Shaw, Mannington and Congoleum have embraced its durability, stability and wide range of design options. Versatile and strong, LVT can wear a number of hats. It can look like any tile from ceramic and travertine to slate and marble, while the wood creations have become increasingly popular and mimic a spectrum of hardwood and laminate floors.  The natural appeal of the LVT planks (available in authentic plank lengths and widths like real hardwood) has opened up a new design look for every kind of educational installation.

Rubber:  Rubber flooring is another consideration that may fit your budget. Quiet, slip resistant and low maintenance, this type of flooring may be real player for the heavy traffic areas. Whether its matting for full surface coverage, rubber can change the dynamic of your facility. Unlike harder flooring materials, rubber absorbs sound, contributing to a less stressful environment. Rubber also marries form and function with underfoot cushioning helping teachers and other educational personnel withstand long hours on their feet. Manufacturers like Ecore and Flexco offer full lines of products in raised and textured products that will also include stairwell and base options.

Carpet and Carpet Tiles: Carpet always gets the nod for comfort. Slip resistant, quiet and having endless design and color options, carpet has always remained popular. Warm and welcoming, carpet extends the learning space to include the floor, especially with younger children. In facilities with children, carpet provides a much softer surface meaning that falls will be less likely to result in an injury. Carpet tile is an ideal choice that fits budget and safety requirements. Each tile has its own base and backing and can be installed directly to the subfloor There is a wide choice of patterns and it’s very easy to replace if there is damage to an individual tile. (No furniture to move… just pop it out and replace!)

Glazed Ceramic and Porcelain Tile: Many schools and universities utilize these hard surface products for lobby areas, bathrooms and showers and other areas. Both of these tiles are an option for your educational facility, and they both come in array of colors, providing endless design opportunities. Glazed ceramic is non-porous and holds up well against water and spills. It’s durable and resistant to stains, scratches, and fire. Porcelain offers superior performance in high traffic areas as it’s naturally stain resistant. Porcelain may work well in indoor/outdoor applications as it can easily withstand outdoor use and weather changes. (Keep in mind that some porcelain is manufactured specifically for outdoor use so always specify your usage with our sales team.) Porcelain can be used on both walls and floors, as well as countertops. Both types of tile are produced in an almost unlimited choice of colors and can be manufactured to mimic natural stone or wood.

Walk Off Mats: Whatever the floors, they will benefit from walk-off mats at entrances to scrape dirt from shoes and prevent allergens and other pollutants from distribution throughout the school. And, mats do make a difference protecting and extending the life of your resilient flooring and carpeting. Floor mats offer a variety of solutions for your educational, including entrance mats, logo mats, anti-fatigue mats, slip resistant safety mats, flow through mats and anti-static mats.

Let us educate you on the right flooring!  While we are featuring products offered by a few manufacturers, each manufacturer may have specific offerings suitable for your educational facility. To help select the right products for your application and budget, please speak with one of our flooring experts. 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!