As the expectations of building occupants change, so do the requirements of building owners and clients. Flooring specifications are becoming increasingly complex and manufacturers are meeting these needs by continuing to produce high performing floors for any situation.

High spec flooring products are abundant, but this doesn’t mean that you can start specifying left, right and centre without a proper plan in place. Here’s a checklist to follow when you need to narrow down your high spec flooring options:

Have you considered the screed?
The levelness, smoothness and hardness of your subfloor will all have an impact on the performance of your final flooring installation, so invest in a quality screed. Experts in the industry also recommend using a self-leveller that is able to reach minimum hardness levels of 25mpa.

Analyse the traffic that the area will receive
If you are specifying a floor for a shopping centre that is planning an expansion within the next few years, then the estimated foot traffic you receive today may be far below what the facility will receive in the future. Invest in a proper analysis of foot traffic as well as the types of traffic (such as machinery and rolling equipment) that the floor will receive so that you can specify the correct floor accordingly.

What are the acoustic requirements?
Food courts, theatres, intercom systems and socialising all have a huge impact on the noise levels in a space and can have a large impact on the experience of building occupants. Identify the activities within the space as well as the layout so that you can specify products that are geared towards sound reduction. Carpets act as a natural sound absorber and engineered products such as vinyl and linoleum can also help you meet acoustic requirements.

Do you need to meet sustainability goals?
Just because a high spec floor lasts a very long time doesn’t mean that you can disregard manufacturing processes, material sourcing and other factors that contribute to the sustainability of the product. Find out if your client is working towards a green target or rating so that you can specify accordingly.

Test moisture levels and install a moisture barrier
It’s crucial that moisture levels be tested because moisture rising after a floor has been installed can lead to floor coverings breaking, lifting or bubbling. If you are at all uncertain about the moisture levels, specify a moisture barrier.

Create a list of high spec performance attributes
Many of the high spec products available today have been designed to meet certain criteria. Make a list of everything that your client’s project could possible need as this may highlight elements that they haven’t yet thought of. Some of these performance attributes could include seamless; light reflective, hard wearing, stain resistance, easy cleaning, hypoallergenic, design flexibility, aesthetically diverse options, and being dust free.

Making cost/benefit decisions
When faced with the myriad performance attributes, most clients will want the highest quality floor with the most performance benefits (such as slip resistance, easy maintenance, longevity etc.) – until they are faced with the price. Often a collaborative approach needs to be taken to guide clients through a cost/benefit discovery process that helps to identify flooring that is fit for the building’s intended purpose, but also offers enough performance benefits to meet the client’s budget and needs.

Specialised tip: The levelness, smoothness and hardness of your subfloor will all have an impact on the performance of your final flooring installation, so invest in a quality screed.

Full thanks and acknowledgement are given to www.specfloors.com.au and www.constructionreviewonline.com for some of the information contained in this article.

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