Budget carefully for flooring and maintenance. Say you have a budget of $25 a yard for carpet. You may be able to find something for a bit less that will work better depending on the construction and color, but keep in mind that you should consider more than price. This is another good reason to install mock-ups. You may also want to put together a matrix of products being considered so you can compare the attributes. And it is always important to think about how the flooring material is going to be maintained. You can have the best material, but if you don't take care of it you'll never get the performance from it you expect.
Check out what's new. Carpet tile is the most highly engineered flooring material on the market. It can vary greatly in construction, especially when recycled materials are used. Modular carpet tile can replace existing flooring because it allows for system furniture to remain in place and be lifted. The other product, on the hard side, is luxury vinyl tile (LVT). It can be made to look like stone, wood, or metal, and the performance characteristics are extraordinary. These flooring products, as with any of the others, have to be selected properly to deliver performance.
Weigh these factors. Price should not govern selection of flooring. So what else should you consider in your flooring material? Color, style, luster or finish, ability to perform in the space it is to be used, ease of installation, inherent good and bad characteristics of the product, what you're trying to achieve or prevent relative to potential problems or problems you've experienced, appearance retention, maintenance challenges, the impression it makes in the space and on the people using it, recyclability, and ease of replacement. Also, whether the flooring will present any limitations in foot traffic or roller mobility or disorientation visually (of particular concern in health care).
Get help. It's not always the rep selling the floor or the architect that know best. Reps will be biased naturally toward their products. An architect is expected to be an expert in every material in the spec, and this just isn't always the case. Talk to other facility managers who have projects similar to yours.
Another good source of information is the commercial flooring contractor. These guys are typically the big leaguers of the industry. They install every type of flooring in all types of applications.
At the highest level of expertise are independent, objective consulting firms that help specify and evaluate products. Some firms have the ability to test and evaluate the materials to ensure they will deliver as expected. They can help answer flooring questions whenever you have them.
Lewis Migliore is president of LGM and Associates, which offers technical flooring services. Contact him at email@example.com.
How To Select The Right Commercial Flooring Product
Budget Carefully For Flooring Installation And Maintenance, But Consider More Than Price
Showcase Products: Flooring