LVT, Tile, or Carpet? Flooring Decisions.
After the wake of COVID-19, many new construction projects have shifted their ideas about the needs and requirements of multifamily. Several material selections have also shifted to accommodate those changes, and among those is commercial flooring. Below I have listed the three main types of commercial floorings utilized in multifamily properties that are recognized by property managers for being durable, aesthetically pleasing, easily maintained, and cost-effective:
Luxury Vinyl Tile
This type of luxurious commercial flooring unlocks unlimited design combinations with a sense of uniqueness. The designs are often inspired by natural wood, stone, and woven textile visuals that bring realism to every project. LVT is constructed of multiple layers – each with a specific purpose. For example, a layer of padding for comfort and sound absorption, a quiet comfort layer, base layers, designer printed visual, performance wear, and commercial UV-cured coating. All are essential to keep the flooring from scratches, scuff, and stains, and resistant to alcohol-based sanitizers. Though some industry veterans will cite moisture concerns with LVT, the newer products address issues regarding moisture barriers and warping making them much more water-resistant than their predecessors. SR/A has even begun using LVT in-unit bathrooms in select projects. If you are looking for durability, then this material will achieve that as it is known for its long-lasting performance that withstands an immense amount of pressure and road traffic. SR/A typically recommends LVT for units, amenity spaces, elevator foyers, and BOH areas.
Porcelain & Ceramic Tile
This flooring option is best for high-traffic areas (restaurants, lobbies, spas, and luxury spaces) due to its sturdiness and thickness. A major advantage is its durability as it can last 10 to 20 years with the appropriate maintenance and care. It is cheaper than real stone and it offers a wide array of beautiful stone and marble looks. Thus, you can easily achieve a variety of design looks with this flooring type. Ceramic and porcelain are widely used tiles but are different in composition. Ceramic tiles are made from red or white clay, fired in a kiln, and then glazed to add more durability. They can remain unglazed for a natural look, or more stylized to have a high gloss or matte finish (though keep slip resistance in mind when selecting a finish) and are mainly used indoors. Porcelain tiles are made by the dust pressed method that combines clay and feldspar. They are fired at higher temperatures, which makes them gain density. This process makes them very resistant to cracking and chipping and able to withstand high traffic which is needed for commercial spaces. Porcelain tiles are used indoors and outdoors. One potential con of floor tiles is noise – the hard surface can result in louder noises when walked on. This can be minimized with the use of area rugs, as appropriate, and incorporating other acoustic-absorbing materials in a space. SR/A typically recommends tiles for lobbies, restrooms, and amenity spaces.
Carpets are a popular choice for creating inviting spaces with a touch of warmth. The carpet rolls and tiles can give the space a trendy and inviting look. Select carpets with contract-grade fibers; nylon, polyester, and polypropylene are considered the three most used materials due to their ultra-durability and color retention. Another consideration when selecting a carpet should be the construction. Cut pile carpets are cut to expose the yarn ends for a more appealing look and softer feel. Loop cut style is left untouched and at the same height which makes them more durable and easier to clean for high traffic areas. Tip-sheared cut is created by tufting some loops higher than others, the higher loops are cut, and the lower ones are not which can create detailed patterns and a unique look to the carpet. Keep in mind, that the same color and pattern will look different if fabricated in different construction types. Carpet tiles come with multiple benefits, they are easily installed, are low-maintenance, durable, and eco-friendly. They have been widely used in quiet zones, offices, and some co-working areas to provide comfort and can be easily replaced as needed. They are designed to withstand heavy traffic, spills, and wear and tear. When selecting a carpet, one often overlooked element is the backing and/or padding. Be sure to consider the location of the carpet when making this selection, as well as the final thickness of the carpet. You might assume more padding is always better, but that is not the case, adjacent materials, existing substrates, and budget are all considerations that should influence the final carpet construction. SR/A typically recommends carpet for residential corridors, leasing offices, and unit bedrooms.
Solaire 8250 Georgia
Amina Elshaer is a Junior Designer at SR/A. She has her bachelor’s in interior design from Marymount University.