Flooring has a multitude of roles to fulfil in commercial environments, from creating a comfortable atmosphere in offices to guiding hotel guests to the reception desk and providing a relaxing, comfortable environment in the bedrooms. However, flooring also needs to provide a durable surface that will last for years to come. Luxury vinyl tiles (LVT) lead the way for commercial spaces and is indeed one of the most versatile, durable and hardwearing products available. It offers complete design freedom, presenting a commercially-attractive alternative to other flooring materials, such as natural wood, stone, sheet vinyl and laminates.
LVT vs natural materials
While natural woods and stones have their place, selecting LVT is a forward-thinking decision for a hotel or office; after all, LVT provides the shapes, angles/geometry and scale needed to optimise a space, while also remaining incredibly durable and meeting VOC requirements for wellbeing and air quality. Wellbeing is a significant topic in recent years, and it is well documented that it can have a positive impact on productivity in the workplace, and even relaxation in hotels. As humans, we are innately connected to nature, so it is understandable that employees perform better when working in spaces that feature views or even elements of the outdoors. Incorporating biophilic design can be fairly simple; choosing LVT flooring designs that mimic real wood or stone certainly offer the charm and character of natural materials. For this reason, we have launched Amtico Form, a new nature-inspired collection that recreates the tactile beauty and authentic textures of natural materials, helping designers and specifiers create spaces that boost positive wellbeing.
Ever-popular, LVT also provides complete resilience while withstanding heavy traffic and resisting scuffs, scratches and stains, which is why these products can be offered with long commercial warranties.
So, it is no surprise that LVT is rising above ceramics and timber to become the flooring material of choice when designing and ‘future-proofing’ commercial environments.
In addition to the design choices and durability, LVT with enhanced acoustic performance can be specified to help create a peaceful and quiet atmosphere. Indeed, the acoustics of an environment can have just as much an impact on a hotel guest’s stay as the firmness of a mattress. Of course, the need to reduce noise shouldn’t compromise design aesthetics, which is why Amtico has developed a 1mm PVC foam backing layer that works across standard planks and tiles to reduce sound transmission by up to 19 dB. In a hotel, this enhances comfort for occupants in adjoining and lower-level rooms.
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected how we view the cleanliness of the environments around us, and concerns about infection will remain indefinitely, with an even greater need to reassure occupants of their safety. Certainly, the concept of promoting positive wellbeing has extended beyond peaceful and calming aesthetics, and safety flooring variants of LVT complement this on a practical level.
The control of bacteria is increasingly important, as is reducing the risk of slips and falls. With this in mind, designers should opt for safety flooring LVT products that encompass antimicrobial technology in addition to near-invisible particles that increase friction levels between feet and the surface. However, not all safety flooring is made equal, and some manufacturers have developed unique techniques to distribute the slip-resistant particles throughout the wear layers of the LVT to provide enhanced slip resistance for the lifetime of the product.
Of course, safety flooring and interior design are not always considered together, with many product specifications focused solely on one element or the other. Part of the limitations in recent years have been linked to the proliferation of sheet vinyl safety flooring, which is often one-dimensional and lacks natural details. Consequently, there is growing demand for safety floors with more design variety and a higher quality finish.
The design of a space makes it possible to evoke an emotional response in an individual, which can range from a sense of excitement when seeing the room for the first time, through to making them feel relaxed and comfortable in the office. While upholstered furniture and ambient lighting are naturally considered the first factors to evoke such a response, flooring is also integral to this, as it can convey to occupants how an area should be used. However, the right choice of floor product – provided with a generous commercial warranty – goes a long way in terms of meeting the practical needs of a space’s occupants, while ensuring durability, long-lasting performance and, importantly, comfort. For this reason, LVT is the answer and offers a commercially-attractive alternative to other flooring materials, such as natural wood, stone, sheet vinyl and laminates.