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ASK DENVER: Tips on using design & pattern in floors

by Tania Wannenburg
Ask Denver Jnl 1 15

Getting to the core of what exactly is entailed in installing flooring that demonstrates a company’s brand by using patterns and designs.

With more than 50 years’ experience in the local and international flooring industry, Denver Coleman, Chairman of Polyflor SA, answers questions posed by installers, architects and readers. In this issue, he discusses how patterns and designs can be successfully used in corporate and retail environments to enhance their corporate image.

“I love it when companies brand their floors with their corporate logos. Please explain how this is achieved and what I should bear in mind when commissioning such a project for our company?” Dereck Kemp, Germiston (Gauteng)

Architects and designers are creatively embracing floors to enhance the ambience of an area. In corporate and retail environments, a company’s logo, patterns or corporate colours become synonymous with its brand and are often used in floorcoverings to create an instantly recognisable corporate identity.

Similarly, colours and patterns can also be used in flooring to designate certain areas or create different spaces and themes.

There are two ways in which pattern or design work can be achieved:

Firstly, when opting for a simpler design, it can easily be hand-cut by an installer. These patterns are then welded in the traditional manner (unless LVTs are used). When designing or fitting a hand-cut pattern, certain requirements should be kept in mind. Patterns should be larger and less intricate while shapes such as circles should be a minimum of 300 mm in diameter.

A second option is having the design water-jet cut at the factory. This facility allows for extremely small and very intricate designs and no welding is required. However, there are certain basic requirements that need to be considered.

To ensure a successful installation of the water-jet image, it is advisable to design the image in a frame, for example, a flower in a circular border. This allows the fitter to cut the circle and drop it into the floor field. He then welds only around the circle edge, instead of having to cut and weld around each flower petal.

When marking out areas for designs or patterns, always use chalk lines that are filled with a colour in real chalk and not oxide of any type that will mark the floor surface. Edges of designs and patterns should always be scribed, and not cut in freehand. Welded joins and grooves – where applicable – should be tight butted using the seam scriber method, and then correctly grooved. When welding a pattern or design, always use a weld rod that matches the darker colour as this will make the weld less visible to the eye.

If smaller or medium-sized cutouts are to be installed in passages or large areas, the cutout or design pattern should be installed before installing the sheeting. This will allow for more accurate cutting around the design and also prevents damage to the screed surface.

Choose a background or field colour for the frame of the cutout that is a different colour to the main floor field used. Apart from the fact that the colours might appear different, getting the direction of the decoration the same as the field can be a challenge.  

Finally, it is always wise to install cutouts with contact adhesive to ensure an excellent bond. It is also sensible to seal the cutout with a couple of coats of good-quality floor sealer so that the joins are protected. Most water-jet cutouts from a reputable source will come with a clear self-adhesive film over the top to keep it all together. When removing this, it is always best to pull it off parallel to the floor surface slowly so as to not disturb the adhesion of the finer cuttings.

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