Timber flooring… classic, elegant and timeless. Timber floors have been a popular choice for centuries and it seems they’ll never go out of style. However, if you’re making a flooring choice for a commercial operation, you may be worried about the practicality of installing genuine hardwoods on the floor.
For all their natural beauty, there are disadvantages to wooden floorboards. If your business experiences high customer traffic, involves visits from pets or animals, has a high risk for water spills or frequent movement of furniture or sharp objects, hardwood flooring may not be an appropriate choice. Some of the risks with wood floors include:
- Sunlight can cause colour variations that may increase your maintenance costs.
- Prone to scratching – pets, furniture and sharp objects are all culprits for scratches, dents and other visible damage. These can usually be sanded out, however, in a commercial setting, this can add more cost and hassle to the upkeep.
- Water damage – spills of water or fluids on the floor that are not dried thoroughly and promptly can result in moisture damage like warping the planks and mould growth.
Whilst there are some drawbacks to having actual hardwood floors installed at your commercial premises, if you have your heart set on that particular look and feel, we have some good news for you. Even though there are times when wooden flooring isn’t appropriate, there ARE alternatives on the market that will accommodate your business needs and budget, without compromising on style. So, what are the alternatives to wood?
A modern ‘wood look’ flooring choice providing the look and feel that you’re after, without the typical practicality issues faced by ‘real’ wood floors. Laminate can better tolerate moisture (though large spills still need immediate clean-up), are easier to clean and much harder to damage or scratch. They are well suited for high traffic commercial stores/offices, as well as areas that receive high levels of sun exposure. Laminate flooring is composed of four layers:
- Wear layer – top layer designed to withstand wear, staining and fading.
- Design layer – next is a high-resolution printed layer, giving the floor board a realistic wooden appearance.
- Inner core – Composed of High Density Fibreboard (HDF), which is a pressed, dense wood product that gives the floor board its stability.
- Backing layer – The final layer is melamine and provides further support and stability to the inner core. It also serves as the moisture barrier.
Both sheet vinyl and vinyl tiles/planks have many advantages that are beneficial in commercial settings. Just like laminate flooring, vinyl looks just like wood floors but is more water, stain and general damage resistant, and it’s less expensive than hardwood or bamboo. Vinyl flooring is essentially plastic, it is composed of coloured polyvinyl chloride (PVC) chips that are melted into solid sheets of various thicknesses through a process involving heat and pressure.
Hardwood flooring is warm, inviting and beautiful, though the significant financial outlay weighed against practicality issues often renders it an inappropriate choice in a commercial setting. If you’d still like your commercial property to have that warm, inviting and stylish vibe, definitely consider alternative “wood look” flooring options, such as laminate and vinyl. For any questions regarding wooden flooring or suitable alternatives, give our friendly team at Bass Floor Newcastle a call on (02) 4951 6166.