With a wide variety of building materials in a multitude of effects and colours at an architect’s disposal, commercial vinyl flooring has had to evolve into not only a high performance product but also a design-led flooring option worthy of consideration for education, healthcare, office, retail environments and more. Tavia Spencer, market manager for LVT flooring at Polyflor Ltd explains
Robust commercial flooring can now be a stand out design feature in a room. Whether using a continuous sheet product or luxury vinyl tiles (LVT), vinyl flooring has perfected the art of emulating the look of a natural wood or stone floor and also offers eye-catching abstract designs.
LVT and sheet flooring collections feature designs replicating every type of tree species and wood treatment imaginable, from classic warm and cool toned oaks to weathered spruce and vintage timber, all with grain patterns and surface embossing to add further realism. Stone collections include everything from industrial concretes and slates to traditional travertines and limestones, developed to complement any interior design scheme. Luxury vinyl tiles can also be fitted with complementary or contrasting grouting, marquetry and feature strips creates zones, indicate walkways or to give installations a bespoke look.
These natural wood and stone effects will always remain popular, but flooring manufacturers are adding something a little more original to their ranges alongside these tried and tested designs. Abstract effects are becoming more common in new collections, featuring designs such as swirls and linear ‘infinity’ designs which give the effect of endless wood. Solid colour floor coverings in bright shades are ideal for children’s play areas, clinics, nurseries and schools where engaging and inspiring interiors are required.
We’re also seeing the development of more eye-catching designs with varying plank widths, lengths and colours included all in the one box. Designs like this give the appearance of recycled and reclaimed wood floors which are becoming increasingly popular. Vinyl sheet material can also be printed with a complex herringbone design, or feature stencilled concrete designs, providing a quick and simple way to create a statement floor.
Creative flooring installations can also be achieved by simply cutting and laying luxury vinyl tiles and planks in patterns. Stunning effects can be created by using one type of flooring for the whole design, or by using more than one shade to create something even bolder. Sheet or tile flooring in contrasting colours and textures can also be laid alongside each other to create zones or walkways as a simple but effective way of helping users to navigate around a building.
The use of water jet cutting technology opens up even more opportunities to be creative with commercial vinyl flooring. Vinyl can be precision cut to create intricate images and logos as part of a bespoke flooring design. This technique has often been used for adding branding to floors in retail environments, adding school crests to assembly hall floors, creating fun patterns in children’s play areas and adding important signage in hospital corridors.
Aesthetics are important but this new focus on producing high design flooring does not mean that manufacturers have compromised on product performance. Heavy duty vinyl flooring undergoes rigorous testing to ensure that it can withstand the high foot traffic expected in commercial environments.
These floors are also easy to clean and maintain when they come with a polyurethane reinforcement which reduces cleaning time and costs for the lifetime of the product. Luxury vinyl tiles with the same beautiful wood and stone designs are now also available with aggregate for sustainable wet slip resistance in potential risk zones such as high-design entranceways where traditional safety vinyl flooring is not suitable. With the vast choice of beautiful and functional flooring designs available for commercial spaces, there is no excuse not to take the opportunity to be truly inventive with vinyl flooring and create something outstanding.