No Quick Fixes
Danielle Ashton of Altro explains how refurbishment projects can be a great time to learn from past mistakes:
THERE are many reasons for refurbishment, but sometimes it happens only because someone didn’t get it right previously. With flooring, this can happen if you choose the wrong product for your needs, or get drawn into a quick fix but turns out to be anything but.
Here are some key aspects to consider in your safety flooring choices to avoid mistakes.
I Performance: With ever-more stringent health and safety regulations, especially in the healthcare sector, slip resistance is a key factor when choosing flooring. However, simply specifying safety flooring may not be enough. You’ll need to factor in the type of footwear users wear, whether the flooring will get wet, and, perhaps most importantly, how long the slip resistance will last.
Installed floors do not always behave in the same manner as new, and some quickly lose their slip resistance. Always ask the flooring manufacturer for results of performance over time.
I Durability: If you have to replace a floor sooner than expected, it means that either it didn’t live up to expectations, or it’s been subject to tougher conditions than it was designed for. If you need extra resilience and resistance to mechanical and physical damage, don’t skimp on your flooring. Choose safety flooring that’s 2.5mm thick or more and that comes with a sound warranty, and you should get 15 to 20 years of wear.
I Appearance retention: Sometimes a floor can have lots of wear left in it and be performing well, but is let down by how it looks. If you’re refurbishing a floor because of appearance, there’s good news. The latest generation safety flooring has PUR technology which aids colour retention and can reduce cleaning costs considerably. With this in mind, you don’t have to ‘play it safe’ with greys or dark colours; you can choose lighter, brighter tones with the confidence that they’ll still look good in years to come.
I Maintenance: Another costly lesson is that the performance, durability and appearance retention of any flooring are greatly affected by cleaning and maintenance regimes.
If you’re refurbishing because a floor didn’t perform as expected, try to discover how it was maintained; then ensure that clear instructions for cleaning reach those responsible for looking after the new floor. For example, PUR technology can make a huge difference to cleanability, but using the wrong cleaning regime can actually damage the sur face and negate the benefits from PUR. I Sustainability:
This is also an area of growing importance. Ask about the green credentials of the flooring you’re choosing – does it contain recycled materials, can it be recycled, what are the sustainability credentials of the manufacturer. Use BREEAM ratings to compare products and help you to make an informed choice.
I Costs: It can be tempting to try to cut costs if you have to replace flooring sooner than expected, but if anything, this is a reason not to skimp. Look at the bigger picture to understand lifecycle costs – initial costs plus maintenance, cleaning and how long the flooring will last. Get it right and your flooring should look good, perform well and last for years and years. Get it wrong and you’ll be paying to replace it far sooner than expected.
This article has been reproduced from the Contract Flooring Journal website. You can find them at www.contractflooringjournal.co.uk.