Just a few years ago, who would have dreamt that it would be possible to have resilient floorcoverings termed as luxury flooring? Or that they could look so much like wood or stone you couldn’t tell the difference? Or that they would be available in planks and tiles with no need for waxing or polishing anymore? And that they would become a designer’s dream?
Modern technology has ensured that all these innovations and very desirable features are now fact, and resilient flooring is now more competitive than ever in providing aesthetically pleasing, low-maintenance and very durable floors in any commercial or residential application.
The resilient floorcovering sector provides so many different alternatives to choose from – vinyl tile and sheet; PVC tiles; linoleum tiles and sheeting; rubber tile and sheeting; and cork tile and sheeting to name a few – and each of these options has turned to the latest technology in its sphere to bring it into the market as a true design item.
The advent of Luxury Vinyl Tiles in plank or tile format with wood or stone look-alike surface finishes regenerated the interest of architects and interior designers. The surface treatments that enhance wear resistance and ensure easy cleaning, together with the increasing use of recycled materials in vinyl’s manufacture, have heralded a new era in the application and use of vinyl floors.
Also, there is a case for reasoning that the faux looks offer considerable benefits over the imitated material. For example, if the consumer or client wants a wood look, then an LVT has benefits over laminate flooring because it is waterproof and less noisy underfoot. Likewise, if a stone look is required, an LVT has benefits over natural stone or ceramics as it is softer, warmer and a lot cleaner and easier to install and replace.
Vinyl tiles and sheeting have added attractive colours to their ranges and, along with LVTs, linoleum, rubber and cork tiles and sheeting, are now more than ever meeting the ‘green’ requirements of any project – all of which bodes well for resilients achieving an increasing market share in the floorcovering industry.
However, it is wise to check the environmental credentials with the manufacturer or distributor to ensure that the product meets internationally accepted standards for green projects, as reputable manufacturers follow the current standards for best practice PVC, while others may not.
For years, commercial resilient flooring has been highly popular for use in schools and healthcare facilities. In schools it offers a cost-effective floor that can be easily and economically maintained and last for many years before needing replacement.
In healthcare facilities resilient flooring is often preferred. Because it can be welded and coved to form an impervious barrier to water and bacteria, this allows easy maintenance and hygiene, thus providing significant sanitary advantages over other types of flooring surfaces.
Its durability, high design possibilities and the creative and versatile application choices it offers have made resilient flooring a longtime favourite of stores and shops in creating design and branding statements.
Other frequent applications include laboratories, cleanrooms, computer rooms, lavatories, supermarkets, drug stores, lobbies, storage areas, spas, dormitories, libraries and restaurants, where resilient flooring both performs well and adds to the functionality and the design of these areas.
Most of the world’s best-known resilient floorcoverings are available in South Africa through associated companies, subsidiaries or distributors, and the level of expertise available from the reputable suppliers is second to none. Architects, interior designers, developers and end users need have no fears about quality, longevity or customer service and would do well to consider the benefits and design potential of these enduring floorcoverings.