How to pick the best floor for your facility.
Looking for a durable, stain- and water-resistant flooring option for your next renovation? Resilient flooring may fit the bill. This wide category includes a variety of sturdy options for floors. Review your options below to ensure you make the right choice.
What is Resilient Flooring?
Resilient flooring is a non-textile floor – i.e. not carpet – that bounces back from repeated traffic and compression. This wide category includes:
- Luxury vinyl tile, which uses photo-realistic imaging to mimic natural stone and wood on tiles or planks
- Solid vinyl tile, made by molding resins and fillers into squares or strips
- Vinyl composition tile, an easy-to-install square tile that accounts for more square footage than other resilient options
- Sheet vinyl, sold in rolls and cut to the shape of a room
- Linoleum, which is experiencing a recent revival in popularity due to its natural ingredients (linseed oil, wood flour, limestone, cork and tree resins)
- Rubber, an ideal option for floors in high-impact spaces that require frequent cleaning, such as those in fitness centers, health clubs, healthcare facilities, gyms and dance floors
- Cork, a natural material made from the bark of the cork oak
“About 94% of resilient flooring sold is vinyl-type products because vinyl is such a durable, long-term-performing material,” explains Dean Thompson, President of the Resilient Floor Covering Institute. “Luxury vinyl tile has been a strong contributor to the growth in the hard flooring market due to the advances in digital printing and the fact that LVT is designed to work in both commercial and residential applications.”
How to Evaluate Your Options
There are a few ways to evaluate which resilient flooring fits your facility, Thompson explains. First, ensure that your vendor is offering a product that can hold up to the traffic in your building, Thompson notes. Vinyl products typically have a wear layer of 12-20 mils, whereas rubber tile is required by ASTM F 1344 to have a wear layer of at least 40 mils. The thicker the layer, the heavier the traffic that the flooring can stand.
Several sustainability certifications are also available to help potential buyers sort through their flooring options. They include:
FloorScore: Administered by SCS Global Services, this IAQ certification covers hard surface flooring materials, adhesives and underlayments. Flooring submissions are tested for 35 VOCs that can contribute to poor air quality. Certified products can contribute to points for LEED, BREEAM, the Collaborative for High Performance Schools and other green building designations.
NSF 332: This multi-attribute product standard for resilient flooring assigns points in six key areas: product design, manufacturing, long-term value, end-of-life management, corporate governance and innovation. Flooring can be certified at a Conformant, Silver, Gold or Platinum level depending on the number of points it earns.
Product ingredient labeling: This category includes Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs), Health Product Declarations, Product Transparency Declarations and others that examine product ingredients. Depending on the label, manufacturers will disclose the names and amounts of product ingredients, whether the product contains recycled content and other screening information.
Janelle Penny email@example.com is senior editor of BUILDINGS.