How to Choose the Right Commercial Flooring for Your Office
When you need to install or replace the flooring in your facility, you may find yourself faced with more options than you expected. Many more.
From carpet and hardwood to concrete and vinyl, there’s a lot of choice today when it comes to commercial flooring—and that doesn’t even take into account things like color, pattern or texture.
To help you determine the best flooring choice for your facility, here is a quick rundown of some of the most commonly used commercial flooring types and the key benefits and challenges associated with each of them.
Pros & Cons of Eight Popular Commercial Flooring Options
A popular and broadly used flooring option, there are many considerations when deciding on the right carpet for your facility.
- Needs to be maintained
- Sensitive to moisture and stains
- Will not be a good fit for every area
Widely regarded as one of the best-looking flooring options, hardwood will improve the appearance and value of almost any office space.
- Great looking
- Strong and durable
- Easy to clean and maintain
- Can be refinished instead of replaced
- Among the higher-priced flooring options
- Can be noisy, especially in certain spaces
- Scratching and scuffing likely in high traffic areas
Vinyl Composite Tiles (VCT) are a great value commercial flooring option that can be customized to fit almost any building or office décor.
- Lower cost
- Variety of color and design options
- Water resistant
- Low maintenance
- Can be gouged, dented and torn
- Moisture can get into seams
- Dulling or discoloration of surface over time is common
- Manufactured using PVC, which emit volatile organic compounds
Hard and long-lasting, today’s concrete commercial flooring can be polished, stained, coated or sealed for a variety of different looks and uses.
- Affordable and customizable
- Can withstand heavy equipment
- One of the longest-lasting commercial flooring options
- Easy, low-cost maintenance
- Can absorb moisture and create mold and mildew (if not well sealed)
- Hard, cold and difficult to stand on for long periods
- Will not fit with all building décor
An elegant option for bathrooms or lobbies, the most common types of commercial stone flooring are marble, limestone, granite and travertine.
- Stylish and classy look
- Durable and sturdy
- Can be repolished if scratched
- Easy to clean
- Very expensive
- Must regularly apply sealant to natural stone floor
- Some stones are porous and will soak up liquids if not treated
- Some stones can be scratched, stained or cracked
Ceramic tiles (both porcelain and non-porcelain) are known for their strength and durability—with applications dating back to the ancient Romans.
Note: For commercial settings, look for ceramic tile with a 4 or 5 hardness rating.
- Cost effective
- Durable and long-lasting
- Warm and unique look
- Individual tiles can be replaced
- Can scratch, chip or crack
- Must be glazed to prevent water absorption
- Grout lines can be hard to clean
- May become slippery when wet
Because of its ability to mimic the look of hardwood or stone at a lower cost, laminate flooring is becoming increasingly popular for commercial use.
Note: For commercial use, you must choose laminate with an AC (abrasion criteria) rating of 3-5.
- Lower price
- Minimal maintenance required
- Durable and hard to scratch
- Commercial grade can withstand heavy foot traffic
- Cannot be refinished, must be replaced
- Only looks like “the real thing” to a certain extent
- Water can seep into seams between boards
Rubber may not be one of the first flooring options that springs to mind, but it offers some key benefits in the right environment. It’s also becoming more popular with designers because of new colors and patterns available.
- Absorbs sound (very quiet)
- Resilient and easy on the body
- Difficult to scratch or scuff
- Low maintenance
- Can be expensive
- Since water sits atop, there are slipping risks
- May discolor when cleaned with certain detergents
- Duller finish
Remember: Each Area of Your Building Has Specific Flooring Needs
Before you decide which type of flooring you’ll choose make sure to consider where it will be located, what the purpose of it is and how durable it needs to be. Also, don’t forget to consider the type of maintenance each flooring type will require.
Office buildings have different spaces that require different flooring types. For example, bathrooms generally need a hard surface like porcelain tile or polished concrete. You wouldn’t want to put carpet in a bathroom.
The same goes for a general work area where you have 100 people working in cubicles. The use of a hard surface throughout the entire space would make the office very noisy. Carpet is used in spaces like this to dampen the noise and create a softer environment.
Finally, always make sure to choose commercial grade flooring as opposed to residential grade flooring. Residential flooring does not have the same density and durability as commercial grade flooring and will degrade quickly in heavy traffic areas.