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Carpet Tiles Make A Comeback

Karen Burman, product manager for Gradus Floorcoverings, discusses why carpet tiles have seen a revival in recent times with a particular appeal for for specifiers:

WITH the financial climate stifling much commercial new-build, there is an emphasis on refurbishment and maintenance in the private sector.

Carpet tiles are ideally suited thanks to their ease of installation, cleaning and maintenance benefits, as well as design versatility. The ability to swiftly replace individual tiles can help to reduce maintenance costs in the longer-term and maximise the flooring lifecycle.

These attributes also satisfy public sector demands and carpet tiles are a popular choice for education and healthcare, where comfort, aesthetics and acoustics are important, as well as ease of fit and repair.

The sombre economic mood has also influenced choices of design. Plainer styles, which reflect these more austere times and that won’t date a building, have become the choice of clients who need to achieve value for money in the longer-term. Also, where budgets are tight, it has become increasingly popular to refurbish small areas within a building without replacing the entire floorcovering.

Specific areas within a building such as seating areas and walkways can be emphasised with new carpet tiles, which can create an aesthetically pleasing and positive change to an interior whilst being cost effective and avoiding a ‘one product fits all’ mentality.

An added benefit of the move towards plainer styles and emphasising specific areas is that it becomes easier to achieve visual contrast – something that all contractors must be aware of.

Visual contrast is essential for helping visually impaired people to navigate a building and is achieved using Light Reflectance Values (LRVs), which indicate the amount of light reflected by a surface. The LRV scale runs from 0 (the perfect black) to 100 (the perfect white). A 30 points difference is recommended between the LRVs of adjoining surfaces, in order to achieve adequate visual contrast.

Use of contrasting colours on adjacent surfaces such as floors and walls can help people with visual impairments to gauge the size and shape of a room. Zoning particular areas within a building with the correct level of contrast between each floorcovering can also help to communicate the space. These design methods can improve access and help to create inclusive environments, in line with the duties outlined in the

Equality Act 2010.

So while strong opportunities exist for carpet tiles, it is wor th sounding a cautionar y note to flooring contractors taking on the role of specifiers for clients who choose to deal direct – it is essential to select floorcoverings with an LRV measured using the approved method, as wall colours, stair edgings and other adjacent fixtures will be contrasted with this surface.

For this reason – and for long-term cost and maintenance benefits too – carpet tiles have real merit in 2013. www.gradusworld.com

This article has been reproduced from the Contract Flooring Journal website. You can find them at www.contractflooringjournal.co.uk.