Every space, big or small, has a floor. And the type of flooring you choose sets the tone for the whole room, whether it’s a tiny closet-like bathroom or an expansive warehouse. You always want a floor that’s attractive and that complements the aesthetic of the whole space.
But there’s more to it than that.
With commercial projects, you need to consider other factors besides aesthetics.
Important factors like:
Here’s a breakdown of 5 common commercial flooring options and what you need to know about each one:
There’s nothing like the classic look of wood. A vast expanse of quality oak or handsome cherry, with neat, orderly lines, conveys upscale and stylish. That expensive look comes at a price; a good hardwood will run your project more than most other flooring options.
When it comes to care, hardwood can be high maintenance. Regular sweeping or vacuuming is essential to collect dust and dirt before it scratches the floor. And since wood is sensitive to moisture, they’re definitely not a good choice for bathrooms and kitchens — unless you like the warped floor look.
Best for: upscale offices and retail locations
My fav: Walnut
This man-made wood, comprised of multiple, thin layers of wood, offers the sophistication of wood, with a lower price tag. While the composition makes engineered wood more durable and water-resistant, it’s still vulnerable to scratching. And unlike hardwood, engineered wood cannot be sanded down and refinished to “erase” unsightly marks.
Best for: banquet halls, mid-level real estate
My fav: Bamboo
Versatile and readily available in a countless range of colors and styles, tile is popular for commercial projects because you can achieve many different looks. Statement tiles, like a unique mosaic or a hand-painted tile inlay, can become the wow factor of the space. Because unique, standout tile can be pricey, limiting them to smaller square footage helps control the cost.
Tiles are also water resistant, which is why you’ll find them in so many industrial kitchens and bathrooms. At the same time, because tile can be slippery when wet, choosing the right tile with some texture is essential in rooms where standing water is expected (like around a swimming pool). And although it won’t scratch or scuff like wood, tile is vulnerable to chipping and cracking, and can be difficult to repair.
Best for: commercial kitchens and bathrooms, airports
My fav: Wood-look tile
Carpet has many pros — like absorbing sound and retaining heat, to insulate a room — but most businesses that choose carpet do so because they like the feel and look of it. It’s soft and cozy and feels good when you’re walking.
On the other hand, carpet can be a home to bacteria and allergens. As well, you don’t want carpet where people will be eating, as it can be difficult to remove stains. Carpet tiles are a popular alternative in commercial spaces, because of their versatile patterns and the ease of updating only the sections that are worn or stained.
Best for: hotel hallways, lobbies, office spaces, libraries
My fav: random, geometric patterned carpet tile
Laminate and luxury vinyl tile (LVT) are very common choices for commercial spaces because they afford a look that’s close to wood, without the high price OR the tendency to scratch or warp. In other words, they cost less yet withstand moisture and scratching better. Plus they’re easy to clean. So they’re kind of a no-brainer for savvy developers.
True, many people can tell a laminate or LVT floor isn’t “real” wood, which gives it a budget reputation. Yet there are a plethora of higher-end versions that look very classy when they fit the space.
Laminate won’t absorb sound well, so it’s not a good choice for noisy spaces, but adding an underlayer could help with acoustics.
Best for: Retail stores, lounges, healthcare facilities
My fav: mixing & matching to create patterns, dark tones, herringbone