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School Flooring : Getting Down To Basics

James Lightly, education specialist at Altro, explains the challenge of supplying flooring for schools:

FLOORING in schools has to work hard. As well as taking a pounding it has to be multi-functional. We all remember school halls of our childhood that had to accommodate assembly, school dinners, PE, drama performances and much more.

Things are less simple today. Increasingly, school buildings are community resources. Use outside school hours means flooring exposed to increased levels of wear and tear, with reduced time for cleaning and maintenance. Providing sufficient flexibility for a wider range of activities can also prove problematic.
Wooden floors were the staple multi-use school flooring of old. However, with today’s litigation culture, schools shy away from this route in areas where there’s a risk of spillages from school dinners or evening

class refreshments.

So what solutions are there?: Technology provides some answers. Latest generation PUR flooring, for example, can reduce cleaning times.

Increased wear life products and warranties also give peace of mind.

Trickier questions are how to balance safety and multi-functionality? We recommend products based on intended usage of the space. With tight legislation, it’s usually a case of safety first. After all, you’re less likely to be sued by someone unable to play sports compared to someone who slipped because you didn’t have

safety flooring.

Wood look safety flooring is good for school dining areas, combining a traditional look with slip-resistance. However, playing sports on safety flooring doesn’t work – by its nature it stops you sliding and has little

shock absorbency.

To combine sports and dining in one area, the best option could be rubber sports flooring with good shock absorbency, resilience and low noise levels for the sports side, and a hygienic, easy to clean finish for

other uses.

Schools should remember that where this sort of flooring is deemed wet (for example when drinks or food are spilt) it will not offer slip resistance. Good housekeeping is crucial to ensure spillages are dealt with promptly and correctly.

Schools should also allow extra maintenance when using rubber flooring. New metal legged stools or chairs have plastic or rubber ferrules to protect floors. Inevitably though, these wear down with use, exposing the tubular metal rims. Add the weight of a teenager and point loading is tremendous. Rubber flooring is less resilient to this than safety flooring. It can suffer indentation, or the legs even cutting through the flooring material into the subfloor.

www.altro.com

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