Although it is often thought of last in interior design, the floor is one of the most significant parts of a structure. The fact that it literally carries the weight of footfall in houses, commercial establishments, and other busy buildings should be enough to make you think about your floor choices more thoroughly.
When shopping around for the right flooring material for high-traffic areas, one of the most crucial factors you must consider is its durability. Whether it’s your kitchen or the hallways of a hospital, it is wise to choose one that is tough enough to take a beating for a long time.
From ceramic tiles to decorative concrete flooring, below are the top three floor materials you should consider in high traffic areas with their various perks and drawbacks.
Tile flooring is one of the most popular types of floors used in living rooms, hallways, and other high-traffic areas. Although it is considered a great choice for busy places, this type of flooring material can also be used in many other different environments.
Below are some of its advantages and disadvantages:
- In terms of durability, tile has no equal. With correct installation and proper maintenance, tile flooring can last as long as 20 years.
- Another advantage of tiles is the ease of repair. In fact, even if few of the tiles do crack due to severe impact, you only need to replace those specific tiles and not the entire flooring. This means you’ll have a much lower overall repair cost.
- Tile is also popular for being stain- and water-resistant, thanks to a protective layer at the very surface of the material.
- Another big advantage of tile flooring is that it doesn’t require much to maintain. Since tiles don’t absorb dirt and fluids, you’ll only need to wipe them away to leave it as good as new.
- One thing that makes people think twice about tile flooring is its inability to absorb or maintain heat. When installed in a residential space, tiles tend to feel cold on the feet, especially during winter.
- Tiles are also quite slippery during the cold season or when splashed with water or other liquids.
- Although its hardiness makes it durable, this characteristic of tile flooring also makes it a lot less comfortable to stand on for extended periods.
Concrete flooring has been used in both industrial and commercial applications. Considering the traffic situation in these settings, the material is the correct choice because it can carry both the weight of people and heavy equipment.
Concrete alone isn’t always pretty to look at, which explains why some people don’t want to use it indoors. Fortunately, modern innovative solutions transformed concrete flooring into something more aesthetically-pleasing while maintaining its durability: polished concrete flooring.
To see whether polished concrete is the right choice for you, below are the different pros and cons of this type of flooring:
- Like tiles, polished concrete is also easy to clean and maintain. Simply dust mop or sweep it daily using a broom, and it’s ready for another day of foot traffic. Mopping it at least once a week also helps keep it looking pristine and remove any water stains, smudging, and scruffs.
- When it comes to cost-efficiency, polished concrete is also a good choice. In some cases, you can choose to apply a decorative coating, polish, or overlay on an existing concrete slab. Aside from installation costs, polished concrete also helps you save on maintenance costs.
- Sanitation-wise, having polished concrete floors are also advantageous. When sealed and finished properly, polished concrete is virtually moisture-proof. Thanks to layers of waterproof barriers, the seal prevents contaminants from getting into the concrete. Others even feature a special anti-microbial protective layer.
- Similar to tile flooring, concrete can also be a bit uncomfortable on the feet because it cannot retain warmth and is difficult to stand on for longer periods due to its hardiness.
- Like natural stone, ceramic tiles, and even some hardwood floors, concrete tend to be loud without rugs and drapes to block or absorb the sound of footfall. This means it is not ideal for use in bedrooms and other areas where people sleep.
- Improper finishing and sealing of polished concrete floors also leave it exposed to moisture. If fluids make their way into the concrete’s pores, it can lead to moisture accumulation and foster the growth of mold and mildew.
Terrazzo is a timeless flooring option still available today. It was first used during the Renaissance and was introduced by Venetians. Since then, this type of floor material has been installed in places of significant meaning, such as cathedrals, executive offices, and million-dollar homes.
Here are some of the perks and drawbacks of having this type of flooring:
- Terrazzo is considered as one of the leaders when it comes to durability.
- It also has a low lifetime cost, which means you won’t have to spend too much, too soon.
- This type of flooring material is more aesthetically versatile than other options in the market. It can even be used to customize a space with corporate logos and even murals on the floor.
- Despite its durability and lifetime costs, terrazzo is not as popular as tile or polished concrete. This is probably due to the high upfront costs of materials and installation.
- Terrazzo is not as flexible compared to the other materials on this list, mainly due to its price. While it is perfect for big, busy places like showrooms and airports that require a more significant level of pizzazz, it may not be a cost-efficient option for tighter spaces since the per-square-foot cost rises as the space becomes smaller.
Making the choice
To choose the right kind of flooring material for high-traffic places, you have to learn about the different pros and cons each of them has to offer. Then, weigh your options according to the area specifications, your preferences, and the main purpose of the space where it will be installed in.
Ralph El Eid is the Business Development Manager at COLORTEK – Wall & Floor Fashion. EQUIPAINT is the franchise owner of COLORTEK in Dubai (U.A.E.) and Doha (Qatar); an international paints manufacturer specializing in the widest range of decorative paints and seamless concrete & resin flooring, with a unique showroom concept, and thus an ideal destination for homeowners, consultants, architects, interior designers and paint applicators.