Choosing the right flooring for a commercial space can be an overwhelming decision. There can often be a lot more to take into consideration than when choosing flooring for the home.
Firstly, it needs to be seriously durable with the ability to safely handle high foot traffic and absorb noise while still fitting the feel, mood and purpose of the space.
“Commercial floors may need to balance any number of factors,” Australian Sustainable Hardwoods’ (ASH) national marketing manager Daniel Wright explains.
“Durability, longevity, appearance, acoustics, maintenance, hygiene, embodied energy, life cycle assessment, sustainability, design or look and feel to name a few”.
One of ASH’s most sought after products when it comes to commercial fitouts is their Australian Oak engineered flooring.
“It is one of the most beautiful and sustainable products for internal applications on the market,” Wright says.
The locally produced, durable flooring is created using a combination of regrowth and plantation hardwoods.
The Australian Oak is coated to order in a Melbourne-based warehouse where surface texture, colour and gloss level can be applied to the customer’s choice of floor sizes and grades.
Wright explains that the coating coating process involves “an innovative LED light curing” where hardwax oils with zero VOC are combined with a hardening additive that cures and turns hard under a specific spectrum of light.
“Unlike most other coatings that require airflow and time to cure and for smell (VOC) to dissipate, LED cured hardwax oils cure instantly and have no VOC,” he says.
“This means retail outlets can perform maintenance on high traffic floors after business hours without missing $1 in sales.”
CASE STUDY: ASH’S Australian Oak Engineered Flooring used in Cotton and & Typo Retail Stores.
Wright says a great example of these floors saving money in a commercial setting can be highlighted in the Cotton On and Typo retail stores.
The stores were originally laid in European Oak and coated with a UV coating. When they required maintenance, the stores would be closed for up to a week while furniture was removed and the floors were sanded, re-coated and allowed to dry. The closure would cost one week (around $100,000) in sales.
Nowadays, with LED cured hardwax oil in their stores, the furniture is removed overnight and the floors can be sanded, polished and cured. The furniture is then replaced and business continues the next day as usual.
Another handy maintenance point for business owners is that when ASH’s Australian Oak Engineered Flooring is scratched, the affected area can be patched and cured instantly with a portable LED torch pack available from the coating company – saving owners potentially thousands in repair costs.
CASE STUDY: ASH’S Australian Oak Engineered Flooring used in the University of Melbourne
Wright also points to ASH’s University of Melbourne WEBs project where the floor was part of an overall design requirement using timber that matched joinery, battens, veneer, furniture and flooring applications.
Australian Oak Engineered flooring and Goodwood Victorian ash joinery was chosen due to their extreme stability, look and performance in some challenging locations – namely the intricately curved, handrail detail at the bottom of the stair.
The floor and all joinery items were coated with the same LED oil colour to match so the entire project flowed seamlessly. The result was a cost effective high quality project delivered below budget.
Another durable, and easy to maintain flooring solution for a commercial environment are the hard-wearing Carpet Tiles offered by Signature Floors.
“Carpet Tiles are the perfect choice of many commercial installations,” Signature Floor’s marketing manager Martina Kramer says.
“Because of their texture, they create a warm and noise reduced space.”
The Carpet Tiles are made from nylon-based fibres which perform well in areas of heavy foot traffic thanks to the strength and resilience of the nylon.
Yet again, the benefit of easy maintenance comes into play with Kramer noting that when a modular Carpet Tile gets damaged or dirty, they can be easily replaced, making maintenance much easier than traditional wall to wall carpet.
When being used in workplace, the Carpet Tiles can also be specified with Comfi BAK, a backing with a cushioning system that provides extra comfort underfoot for Carpet Tiles and improved noise insulation.
She also pointed to the fact that the Carpet Tiles are produced under strict, certified conditions where attention to material waste and energy efficiencies is closely controlled
“With sustainability a key aspect in the build of any project, manufacturers can no longer maintain processes that don’t take in account the world’s limiting resources and every decision must be considered with clear consequence on future generations,” she comments.
“All of Signature’s Carpet Tile collections feature Eco-Specifier Green Tag certification and are assessed as low VOC emission products, providing specifiers with the opportunity to achieve the maximum available points in their projects.”
All in all, Kramer believes the Carpet Tiles are a winner in commercial environments because everything can be customised.
CASE STUDY: Signature Floors Carpet Tiles used in the Meetings & Events space at Mercure Airport Hotel Sydney
Signature Floors were briefed to create a unique, elegant and sophisticated concept for the flooring in the Meetings and Event Space at the Mercure Airport in Sydney.
It needed to be cost-effective and executed in a short time span.
Shapes Carpet Tiles were selected due to their versatility and in-stock availability. This allowed costs to be kept low and for greater time efficiency.
The unique and textured trapezoid shape of the Carpet Tiles allowed the designers to create a soft and chic space with flowing concentrations of colour and movement, perfectly reflecting the architectural features in the building.
CASE STUDY: Signature Floors Carpet Tiles used in carpet zoning for education purposes
Zoning is the practice of separating different areas by creating a focal point with statement flooring, and is especially popular with modern, open-plan spaces, as companies find new and innovative ways to inspire their employees.
Being able to move around open plan areas is integral for collaborative thinking and creativity, though this also poses acoustic challenges.
Signature Floors’ Carpet Tiles are sought after for their effective sound absorption and noise reducing impact, making them ideal for office and education purposes.
The bold shapes and vivid colours that are available in Signature’s Carpet Tile ranges are ideal for zoning areas for a range of activities, from meetings and concentration to recreation – the perfect foundation for any contemporary place of work.
Another interesting aspect considered in more recent times when choosing material for a commercial floor is selecting flooring that is good for the health of the patients, customers, clients or workers frequenting the space.
This is something that the producer of natural finished, engineered timber floor boards, Mafi is proud to support.
The Mafi philosophy surrounds improving health and wellbeing through all natural timber flooring, which in turn, supports a healthy indoor environment.
They do not use plastic coatings, lacquers, stains or polishes. Instead they use a natural oil finish which soaks into the wood and hardens it from within.
The oil is made up of natural natural plant fats and oils as is the oil soap that is used to clean and maintain a Mafi floor.
CASE STUDY: Mafi’s Larch Brushed White Oil floorboards used at Allergy Medical in Double Bay
This Sydney Allergy specialist told their designer Hassell Studio that they wanted a welcoming space that supported improved health and wellbeing through chemical free products.
Mafi Larch Brushed White Oil floorboards were chosen by Hassell due to the health benefits and chemical free properties.
A Mafi floor is 100 percent chemical free, containing no VOCs or formaldehyde. Mafi points out that they are proud partners of the National Asthma Council of Australia’s Sensitive Choice program.
Mafi says reducing exposure to toxins is imperative to creating healthier living and working conditions.
Mafi Larch Brushed White Oil planks were also used to clad the wall as a design feature at the clinic’s entrance.
CASE STUDY: Mafi Oak Molto Brushed White Oil at The Working Capitol at Robinson in Singapore
The Working Capitol at Robinson in Singapore is a sophisticated, stylish and contemporary co-working space incorporating 86 office suites and six stores.
Mafi chemical-free floors were chosen in this space for both aesthetics and health benefits.
Designer, Hassell Studio, chose the “uniquely profiled grains and vibrant tones” of Oak Molto flooring to complement the “highly-worked tactile character of the building’s joinery and wall finishes”.
Delivered in random widths, Molto boards are processed to use smaller mixed-width planks that would otherwise be considered as offcuts.
Mafi sees this as a way to “celebrate the imperfect nature of timber”, presenting the client with a “feel-good, ecological and innovative” approach to their choice of office flooring.
There is just so much to consider when choosing the flooring for a commercial space.
It’s well worth running through every single factor though, as making the right choice at the outset can save lots of time and money in the long run as well as keeping those using the space happier and healthier.
Mafi Timber Flooring
Australian Sustainable Hardwoods