Office design tips: How to choose the right flooring for your office [Part 3]

Office design tips: How to choose the right flooring for your office [Part 3]

When it comes to office interiors, the right kind of flooring is just as important as the right kind of paint or furniture. Ensure that you know what type of flooring is best for your office needs.

Nothing influences the look and feel of an office space quite like the choice of flooring. Whether you keep it traditional with hardwood, or go modern with vinyl, your office space requires a certain aesthetic that reflects what goes on inside the building and the flooring is a part of that.

Top three factors to keep in mind

Whether you’re renovating or moving office spaces, you need to take into account the following when it comes to flooring:

  • Durability
  • Acoustics
  • Slip-factor
  • Lifespan

Whether your company is small or large, the floors of your office space deal with a lot of foot traffic. The durability of the material you choose for your flooring should be one of the first things you consider. The durability of the flooring is also dependent on if it is correctly applied and maintained. A noisy office will require flooring that can assist with lowering the acoustics, especially in conference rooms.

Office spaces with high volumes of foot traffic require commercial grade flooring applications, as they have a longer lifespan. The flooring should have a non-slip factor to avoid unnecessary accidents.

Most common types of flooring and why are they so popular

When considering office flooring ideas, keep in mind these popular material options:

  • Concrete
  • Hardwood
  • Carpet
  • Ceramic tiles
  • Porcelain tiles
  • Cement tiles
  • Laminate
  • Vinyl

Carpeting is most popular in office spaces (due to the acoustic properties). While tiles are most popular in common areas such as passages, receptions, breakaway and food areas. Certain types of tiles can be stronger than others, or provide other benefits other tiles don’t.

When it comes to concrete flooring, there’s a trend of polished concrete, as it has a pleasing high-sheen and a hard-wearing floor finish, and is a great alternative to marble, granite, and vinyl. “Because polishing is a multistep process, you can choose the level of sheen – from satin to high-gloss – that meets your maintenance and aesthetic requirements,” says ConcreteNetwork.

Vinyl flooring remains popular for commercial flooring because it offers long-lasting performance, hygienic and acoustic advantages, and is able to cater to many industries, from corporate to healthcare. Vinyl is highly durable and is available in a variety of colours and designs to suit any office space. It is easy to clean and requires minimal maintenance.

Hardwood floors shouldn’t be your first option

Hardwood flooring can be a classic and stylish look in an office. Unfortunately, it isn’t the most durable or cost-effective option. It can get scuffed and scratched over time, and may need re-polishing every few years. It isn’t recommended for areas with heavy foot-traffic, but there are plenty of wood look-alikes to consider, such as vinyl or porcelain.

Laminate flooring can offer the look of hardwood, tile, or even stone flooring, but is relatively inexpensive. It’s constructed in layers and designed to resist warping from moisture. Typically it features a thick surface coating for protection against scratches and other damage. However, it does require regular care and cleaning.

Commercial wood flooring, such as engineered hardwood, can offer an elegant look, perfect for impressing visitors in lobby and conference room spaces. It’s also an environmentally friendly alternative to real hardwood flooring, however it can be quite pricey.

Alternative materials

There are alternative materials that can be substituted for flooring in an office space.

You may have come across sisal, pictured below, which is a coarse and strong fibre. Cork, bamboo, and loose aggregate carpet are other alternative materials used for flooring.

A cork floor gives a comfortable cushion underfoot when compressed and is a natural thermal and acoustic insulator, which would make it ideal for office spaces in colder regions that are noisy. Bamboo flooring has a wood-like finish with a range of colours and grains and not only does it look beautiful and easy to maintain, but it’s also environmentally sustainable as it grows faster than wood, though it is a more expensive option in the SA market.

Bamboo flooringImage from Lavender Fields

Which area needs what kind of flooring

The best way to select office flooring materials is to go room by room and choose materials which match the function of each space, align with your design preferences, and fit your cost constraints.

  • Reception area: The reception area is the first thing customers, prospects stakeholders, and new employees will see. This area needs flooring which is durable and aesthetically pleasing, such as luxury vinyl tile or hardwood with a water-based polyurethane finish.
  • Conference rooms: Conference rooms are where important meetings are held with investors, clients, and executives, meaning the design of the room is important to your business’ success. Durability is less of a concern for this area because they generally experience less foot traffic. Carpeting is the the best to use due to acoustics.
  • Kitchen or breakaway areas: Having flooring that isn’t easily stained from coffee spills and which is slip-resistant should be the most important factor for this area of the office. The flooring must be easy to clean, maintain, and replace. Materials such as polished concrete flooring or vinyl tile.

To carpet, or not to carpet?

Acoustics is the most important factor when choosing carpeted floors. If your office space has an echo, and air conditioning makes it very cool, installing carpeting would be the solution. Carpets assist with sound absorption in noisy spaces, are soft underfoot, and add a visual warmth that other flooring choices don’t. Having carpeted floors within a busy office space requires more maintenance in the form of bi-annual deep cleaning, daily vacuuming, and possibly having to replace sections of the carpeting if damaged. With carpet tiles, you have the ability to replace stained or damaged ones easier than with a wall-to-wall style. Another benefit of carpets is that the price range is extensive, from budget-friendly to super-splurge.

Getting the right flooring that works best for your office environment is doable, so long as you know what to look for. Be practical but also creative in your choices, to create a stunning office space.

Now that you’ll be able to choose the correct flooring for your next office renovations, download our guide on improving office design and create the best office space design for your business.

Download the Guide

time&space team

Author time&space team

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