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Mistakes in selecting and installing flooring can have long-term consequences for both organizations and the staff responsible for keeping them looking their best. But managers can learn from others’ mistakes.
For example, in one building, new carpeting extended right up to an exterior door that opened toward a coal-fired power plant. When it rained, coal dust on the ground became a black sludge that visitors tracked onto the carpet.
Building managers had warned designers about this potential problem, but the designers specified the use of carpet anyway, instead of specifying hard flooring the housekeeping department had recommended. Specifiers also believed it would have been too expensive to install walk-off mats and that mats would detract from the carpet’s appearance. As a result, they lost the opportunity to protect it.
Another facility installed soft-wood flooring in a high-traffic area that tens of thousands of visitors walked through each month. Housekeeping workers had noted prior to installation that soft wood floors would not hold up under such high-traffic-conditions, but the design team wanted a soft look. To this day, the floor is difficult to maintain because the heavy traffic has gradually damaged the floor, requiring more maintenance.
Installing the wrong type of flooring can cause a host of headaches, and over time, the cost of cleaning it is often higher than the cost of maintaining the original surface. So it is imperative that crews are able to maintain the appearance of floors, and protect them from potential damage. Good planning during specification and installation can prevent such headaches and extend the performance life of the floor.
— Alan S. Bigger