Most people don’t think much about flooring. It’s just the surface beneath your feet, a pervasive feature that doesn’t warrant more than passing notice. However, the material, make, look, and feel of a floor can have a profound effect on the overall feel of an environment. This importance is compounded by the fact that the characteristics of different materials will require different types of maintenance, care, and will have varying lengths of the life cycle.
Finding the right floor for a particular situation requires you to understand the properties of the different products that are available, and how they can be properly employed to achieve your goals. That, in turn, necessitates strategic long-term thinking, where you look at not just the environment, but its evolution and use for years to come.
There are many different types of floors out there, and different products can have widely varied looks. Some materials will be solid in hue, while others will have crazed multicolor patterns that will erupt in contrasting blasts throughout its surface. Finding the perfect option for a space will require an eye toward a design where you match the features of the floor to the surrounding elements to create a seamless and integrated look.
These are products that are made using a variety of ingredients and chemicals, which are then combined using industrial processes often involving heat and or pressure, to create materials that have specific properties. These floors tend to be more uniform, with standard colors, patterns, and sizes, which makes it easier to work with and install them. They are also often more resilient against stains, damage, and other hazards.
Commercial Versus Residential
There is a huge difference between commercial and residential flooring. When a space is open to the public, it can get moderate to heavy foot traffic, with potentially dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of people pounding their feet against its surface every single day. These hazards are compounded by the possible presence of food, drinks, and whatever mud or particles stick to their feet to be dragged in from the outside.
At the same time, commercial spaces often have to be attractive and welcoming, so that they can encourage more people to enter and enjoy the space. That requires you to balance the functional needs of the environment’s use against the aesthetic feel and appeal that is needed for the business or organization operating in that environment.
On the surface, it may seem like it is much easier to choose proper residential flooring for space. While there are far more options that are available for such projects, the specific needs of any particular room tend to be more important in these areas. For instance, you want bedroom flooring to be soft and appealing, while bathroom floors have to be resistant to water, grime, and mold. The bottom line is that you have to be much more niche-specific when working residentially so that you can find the perfect mix of style and use.
Flooring Options Sorted by Environment
Good choices will be carpet, padded resilient vinyl or linoleum, or hardwood floors. Tile and ceramics can be used but should be coupled with throw rugs to soften the feel.
Carpet, cork, and padded resilient products will be best in a bedroom where you want to create a soft environment. Hardwood is also popular as it has a soft rustic feel. Rubber can be good for kids' rooms, and bamboo is a popular choice.
Hard tile materials such as ceramic, slate, and granite are best in here. Vinyl is also an option which can be coupled with a padded underlayment to achieve a softer, more comfortable standing experience.
Schools, Daycare, and Children’s Spaces
Here you want to find soft surface floors that are also easy to clean and maintain, as kids can be quite messy. Padded vinyl and linoleum are good options, as are certain types of resilient carpet. Rubber is also a unique solution that is safe and fun while also being durable.
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