Floor shopping can be challenging, whether you need new floorboards for a bedroom or a replacement surface for an office lobby. While aesthetics are important in commercial and retail properties, flooring must also be practical. Choosing the wrong material for high traffic areas can rapidly decline its condition, causing visible wear and tear, discoloration, and scratching.
Areas that experience heavy foot traffic must be fitted with high-quality flooring to stand up to the constant pounding of feet, boots, and any other items that come through the door. Choosing durable, chemical resistant, and easy-to-clean flooring helps keep your property in good condition for longer and minimizes damage. Explore five of the most durable flooring options for high traffic areas, from large format tiles to heavy-duty finished concrete.
#1 Porcelain Tiles
Porcelain tiles are popular options for commercial and residential properties due to their versatile look and practicality. Compared to other common tile materials like terracotta, porcelain is denser, increasing its strength and resilience in heavy traffic areas like entryways, hotel foyers, or bathrooms. Porcelain tiles are strong and durable, making them resistant to cracks and scratching from workman’s boots or if heavy goods fall on the floor. Another key advantage of porcelain tiles is their stain resistance. The glaze on the tiles helps seal any porosity in the porcelain’s surface to help repel stains and minimize moisture damage.
Porcelain tiles are capable of withstanding significant temperature fluctuations, making them a suitable flooring option for a range of climates and environments. Porcelain tiles are largely unaffected by ultraviolet (UV) rays and sunlight exposure, unlike wooden floor materials. This makes them excellent for bright, open rooms like terraces or Florida rooms. Provided they are properly installed, your tiles can last for several decades. If you lack DIY or construction experience, hiring a professional tiler helps ensure a secure, symmetrical, and quality fit. Porcelain is a hard material, making it difficult to cut without high-quality tools.
While professional contractors are expensive, they can save you time and labor. A professional installation may also reduce wasted materials from inaccurate cuts or accidental damage. Although it is laborsome, installing porcelain tiles isn’t particularly complicated. The process requires basic tile tools, including a cutter, mallet, spacer, level, trowel, mortar, and grout.
#2 Vinyl Flooring
Vinyl flooring is fabricated by rolling several layers of vinyl sheets with powder and film under heat exposure. The multilayering process creates durability and damage resistance that far exceeds most natural materials. It is often more affordable than natural stone and hardwood, making it an excellent choice for large-scale flooring projects in commercial properties or condos. Vinyl flooring is primarily used in commercial and retail environments. The material doesn’t dent, scratch, or stain easily. It is also resistant to moisture and a range of chemicals, including acids, alkalis, and solvents. Vinyl is frequently used in high traffic establishments like commercial kitchens, healthcare institutions, and retail stores.
Historically, the main drawback with vinyl flooring is the aesthetics. Industrial vinyl is designed for durability and ease of maintenance without much regard for looks. However, modern vinyl is available in a wide range of colors and styles. Luxury vinyl flooring (LVF) can be tailored to resemble timber flooring, stone, and tiles. Luxury vinyl not only looks great, but it is also extremely durable. It differs from standard laminate in terms of its structural makeup. It is crafted from waterproof materials from the core to the exterior finish, making it virtually impermeable by water.
#3 Laminate Flooring
Laminate is a tough and durable material, making it an excellent option for heavy-traffic areas like hallways or large offices. Laminate flooring has a protective top layer, safeguarding the core material from unwanted scratches or marks. Laminate can be designed to mimic various materials, from stained wood to patterned tiling. One of the main reasons behind the popularity of laminate flooring is its value for money. You can find laminate in a variety of colors and styles at affordable prices. However, the quality of laminate can vary significantly, with some cheaper flooring offering minimal impact or scratch resistance.
If you’re looking for a durable option for corridor entryways or a retail store, you’ll need a high-quality laminate. While the laminate core can stand up to the demands of heavy footfall, the protective layer wears down over time. This requires replacing every few years since it cannot be sanded and polished like natural wood. Laminate flooring is occasionally criticized for looking fake or unnatural. However, aesthetic issues can be overcome by combining several styles, colors, or patterns of high-quality laminate boards.
Consider hardwood boards if you’re after a natural-looking floor that won’t fade or crack immediately after heavy use. Although natural wood is likely to experience at least some damage with frequent traffic, several tough varieties can stand up to years of significant footfall. Many timber lovers also believe that some wear and tear gives the hardwood floor character and uniqueness.
Wood-inspired vinyl and laminate flooring may be sturdy and aesthetically pleasing enough for a retail unit or office. However, an upscale restaurant or living room may require a more elegant material, like oak, hickory, or mahogany. Even if your boards endure some damage over the years, they can be refinished and polished multiple times, restoring their pristine appearance. However, if you opt for engineered wood flooring, note whether it is finished with a thin hardwood layer over the surface. These boards often can’t be sanded or refinished. If you choose engineered hardwood for high traffic areas, ensure the top layer is thick enough to be refinished.
Concrete is a low-cost flooring option that can last a lifetime in high traffic areas. It is exceptionally durable, demonstrating excellent impact resistance to product falls or contact with heavy-duty machinery. While concrete has an industrial aesthetic, it can be finished in a range of colors and styles for a more sophisticated appearance.
If practicality and toughness are the priority, concrete is a cost-effective flooring material for a warehouse or distribution center. It is easy to maintain and can be protected further with regular waxing and resealing. Concrete is not the perfect solution for all facilities, however. It is less moisture resistant than the other materials. If it isn’t maintained appropriately, cracks may develop, facilitating the growth of mold and mildew. It is also an extremely hard surface that can cause injury after a fall.
Improve the Longevity of Your Floors
You don’t have to sacrifice interior design flair when choosing a high-performance floor for high traffic areas. There are a number of practical yet stylish materials that can improve the look of a space for decades. Determine the hazards and potential causes of damage before selecting your new flooring because choosing the right type of flooring helps ensure your property looks fabulous for many years.