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 the importance of the choice of a floorcovering and maintenance regimen on employee wellness.

“A healthy working environment and my employee’ wellbeing is important to me. What floorcovering should I choose to promote wellbeing in the workplace?” – Jack Migliotti, Johannesburg

The creation of safe and clean surroundings and an uplifting environment, which has proven to inspire confidence and a sense of wellbeing amongst staff and visitors alike, is an important design consideration. A floor plays a significant role and should not only be stylish, it should also perform well. A floor should be functional, practical and safe for human and environmental health. Comfort, safety and hygiene are paramount.

A healthy environment requires the specification and installation of appropriate ventilation, equipment and finishes. When it comes to looking at a floorcovering, it is easy to be impressed with headline-grabbing statements and emotional communications regarding its performance. Consider scientific fact and rational information when forming opinions, rather than making decisions based on perception.

Due to its hardwearing, water-resistant nature, ease of cleaning and extensive range, vinyl is increasingly being specified in the commercial, retail, education and hospitality sectors. An advantage of vinyl is its ‘cleanability’, and this is why this flooring product has been used in the strictest of hygiene zones for the past 50 years. Noise management, temperature control, underfoot comfort and design are also important considerations in any working environment. Vinyl also offers advantages in each of these categories.

Vinyl is a safe choice. Be sure to consider a reputable brand that has undertaken a measured and scientific approach and has passed key international standards, thus placing all flooring on a level playing field. A good quality brand will have been thoroughly researched and tested, and meet all international health and safety standards. Good quality vinyl flooring makes a significant contribution towards indoor air quality and creating indoor environments with very low VOC emissions.

The in-use phase of the resilient flooring lifecycle accounts for at least 80% of its environmental impact. In recognition of this, reputable manufacturers provide low maintenance options throughout their product portfolio. The easy-to-clean PUR ranges ensure that the use of polish, water, strippers and chemical cleansers are significantly reduced, thus contributing to significant maintenance cost savings over the life of the floor.

An additional benefit of low maintenance PUR products is the minimised VOC emissions from reduced use of chemicals for cleaning. In addition, there is no evidence to suggest that vinyl flooring contributes to common allergies such as asthma or dust allergies. It is non-shedding, where most allergies are caused by airborne dust.

The implementation of an effective cleaning regimen is the most important defence against infection. A tailored maintenance programme is simple to apply, keeps the floorcovering in pristine condition and can enhance its original appearance. It reduces wear and ultimately improves the life expectancy of the floorcovering, providing a considerable return on investment. Poor maintenance damages aesthetics, impairs performance, shortens floor life and creates hygiene problems. Comprehensive floorcare guidance is generally available for all products, along with a list of recommended cleaning products. All cleaning products should always be used in accordance with the manufacturers’ instructions.

Reputable vinyl manufacturers continue to develop and improve installation methods for their flooring ranges, with the increased use of solvent-free adhesives which also contributes to the overall health of a building.

By their very nature, floors are subject to the most use and therefore need to meet your demands. Don’t overlook the importance of your choice in floorcovering and what best suits your needs and means.

For more information, visit www.polyflor.co.za or call +27 (11) 609 3500.