School Flooring That Goes the Distance for Higher Education Institutions

As students walk across campus, go in and out of classrooms, or grab a meal in the cafeteria, the last thing they think about is school flooring. Yet constant traffic, scraping furniture, and spills take a toll. University floors endure more intensive traffic in just a few years than residential flooring gets in decades.

So, you need durable flooring for schools that will go the distance, saving you from spending limited funds on constant replacements or repairs. Doing so requires you to think first in terms of total cost of ownership (TCO), estimating lifetime costs rather than just worrying about upfront pricing. Seeking long-lasting value also requires identifying higher-performance flooring specifications, materials, and maintenance practices.

Specifying for Durability

During the procurement process, you want to focus first on durability. The best school flooring you can purchase is the flooring you can buy and then not have to worry about for years to come.

Material Density or Gauge

Whether you are considering carpet, wood, tile, or vinyl, insist on the most durable commercial-grade options to avoid premature wear, cracks, and delaminating finishes.  Specify higher face weights for broadloom carpets, thicker laminated hardwood planks, and heavier backer boards on the tile.

While this will result in a higher cost per square foot at purchase time, it pays off with two to three times longer lifespans before issues emerge.

Greener Materials

Utilizing sustainable flooring made from natural renewable materials like cork or rubber not only minimizes environmental impact but also improves durability and resilience. Bamboo and even polylactic acid (PLA) carpets made from corn last longer without extra coatings required.

Proper Installation

A quality installation makes or breaks flooring performance. Make sure the supplier you choose uses adhesives compatible with specific flooring materials and slab conditions. Ensure suitable substrate prep is done to prevent the growth of mold or mildew underneath.

Hard Flooring with Endurance

Choose hard flooring options that will endure, including:

Natural Stone

Classic marbles, granites, and limestones maintain beauty for generations with proper care. More affordable quartz offers similar visual appeal and hardness to withstand decades of shuffling feet.

Porcelain Tile

Breakthrough manufacturing advancements now yield porcelain tiles that can rival granite in strength and scratch, stain, and water resistance. You may want to consider lighter colors that make scuffs or scratches harder to see.

Poured Floors

Seamless poured floors like polyurethane or epoxy deliver exceptional durability across both indoor and outdoor spans. They are especially attractive options for stadiums and arenas.

Durable Soft Surfaces

Durability is just as important for soft surfaces in school flooring.

Premium Carpet Fibers

Specify high-performance branded nylons. Nylon is one of the most durable fibers available, and it’s also easier to clean. It also offers a medium price point. Low-pile nylon carpet has good overall texture retention and appearance for high-traffic areas.

Reinforced Backings

Backings play a key role in school flooring stability, providing additional strength and stability. Synthetic secondary backings like polyolefin reinforce primary back coating. Integrated cushions also dissipate pressure and impact for floor tile systems.

Some sellers will use cheap backing to lower overall pricing, but it can lead to premature wear on even high-quality pricing. So, you will want to avoid making that mistake.

Adjustable Spot Replacement

Modular carpet tiles simplify repairing high-traffic areas that get a lot of wear and tear. Small sections can be swapped out without requiring full replacement. With modular tiles, it is a good idea to have a supply on hand to make sure the colors match. You can also install with design variations to hide any new replacements or rotate tiles for more even wear.

Maintenance Matters

Maintenance matters a great deal when it comes to the longevity of flooring for schools.

Floor Finish Restore

Factory-applied finishes on hard floors offer initial protection but wear over time, allowing dirt and spills to penetrate surface pores more easily. Timely reapplication of compatible floor finish protects quality and appearance and helps improve longevity.

Quick Carpet Cleaning

Do not let spills or soil set indefinitely. Prompt spot cleaning prevents stubborn stains, and annual deep steam extraction removes the majority of dry particulate soil below the carpet pile, extending lifespan significantly.

Address Moisture Issues ASAP

When moisture penetrates school flooring, it can loosen adhesives and fuel mold growth, causing floors to fail prematurely. Respond to liquid spills or leaks promptly to avoid problems.

Focus on Quality

By taking a lifecycle view to ensure only the highest quality floors are properly installed, facilities managers protect long-term investments against constant campus wear. Prioritizing preventative maintenance also ensures durable floors stay smooth, safe, and appealing for generations instead of requiring frequent wholesale replacements.

Need school flooring? E&I Cooperative Services has competitively solicited contracts with top suppliers, leveraging the bulk buying power of its 6,000 member institutions to save you time and money:

If you have any questions or need additional information, please contact your dedicated E&I member relations representative.


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