Measuring The Real Cost Of A New Floor
Mark Burton on lifecycle costs
WHEN considering the real cost of any new flooring it’s essential to include the initial purchase and installation, as well as ongoing cleaning and maintenance for the whole life of the product.
Detailed lifecycle analysis has shown that over a 20 year period, cleaning and maintenance represent, on average, 92% of a flooring’s total cost, with purchase and installation accounting for only 8%. So it follows that products offering easier, more cost-effective cleaning and maintenance will deliver better lifetime value.
Of course, it makes sense to specify highly durable flooring solutions at the outset. Floors should always be fit for purpose delivering all the performance requirements of the specific location, such as slip resistance for wet areas or impact sound reduction where noise is an issue. Heavy traffic areas in commercial environments will need a tough, hard-wearing solution to cope with daily use.
Specifying a new floor that has an integral PUR surface will make cleaning and maintenance much easier, delivering cost savings where they matter most.
A PUR surface is particularly beneficial in heavy traffic areas since it significantly reduces the amount of heavy, wet cleaning required.
PUR’s provide added resistance to ever yday wear and tear, and the best will also protect against scratches, abrasions, scuffs and stains, ensuring even the most hard-working floorings retain their original appearance with minimal maintenance.
The colour and design of flooring can also affect its lifetime value as fashions change. Realistic ‘natural’ print finishes and designs that stand the test of time without ‘dating’ offer an ideal solution for commercial environments such as schools and hospitals where regular refurbishment is not viable.
Retail outlets, restaurants and leisure facilities, however, often need to keep up with the latest trends and may consider solutions that offer best value in the shorter term to allow for frequent updating.
Loose-lay tiles are a smart solution as they offer savings on installation, whilst still delivering high performance floors that are quick and easy to remove and replace.
Certain safety floorings are now also available in tile format, helping to reduce installation costs for hospitals and other facilities needing to provide slip resistant sur faces.
Tiles are easier to handle and can be installed more quickly than sheet flooring, with less installation waste. And it’s not just the financial cost of new flooring that needs to be considered. Today there is a growing awareness and concern for the environmental cost too.
This has led to increased demand for products to be manufactured with more natural, renewable resources and recycled material content.
High quality PUR treatments can also improve the environmental profile by reducing consumption of water, detergent and energy needed for cleaning, often by as much as 50%.
Flooring makes a significant contribution to the indoor environment too, both in terms of aesthetic appeal and indoor air quality.
A recent study at Karlstad University, Sweden, shows that phthalates (substances added to plastics to increase their flexibility, transparency, durability, and longevity) from PVC flooring materials are taken up by our bodies; probably through breathing and through the skin.
New phthalate-free floors and those with VOC emissions below quantifiable levels are delivering the next generation of ecologically sound solutions, creating safer, healthier environments for ever yone.
Mark Barton is supply chain sales team manager at Tarkett
This article has been reproduced from the Contract Flooring Journal. You can find them at www.contractflooringjournal.co.uk.