Due to the fact that there are several
key elements that are paramount in the selection and success of any floor
covering used we have to take into consideration the needs and requirements of
the key stake holders involved including the owner, specifier, designer,
management and general public. There are functional requirements which need to
be met by the owner such as maintaining budgets, refurbishment cycles and
downtime; guaranteed product performance criteria for the specifier; innovative
interior concepts by the designer; cleaning, maintenance, daily upkeep and
safety by the management; comfort, cleanliness and overall appearance by the
general public. Added to this list of requirements is the fact that some
of the areas will handle some of the densest concentrations of foot traffic of
any commercial installation. Taking all these factors into account woven
carpeting is the only type of floor covering product which meets the needs and
requirements and provides many key benefits over a hard floor covering.
There are considerable advantages of
woven 80%/20% wool/nylon carpets over hard floors as outlined below :-
Carpets give a luxurious appearance to
any installation, which can seldom be achieved through the use of hard
floorings. No other floor covering is available in such a wide range of
colours, designs and textures. Designers working on woven Axminster products
have the freedom of expression to produce exuberant designs to compliment the
décor of any prestigious installation. The introduction of small motifs,
patterns, logos or borders on flat areas and stairs can alter the tone or mood
of the interior ensuring that the customer has the right first impression.
Carpet is comfortable in use, warm to
the touch and soft to walk on, attributes not always achieved by hard flooring.
It is far less tiring for members of the public to walk on carpeted floors than
hard tiles, especially over large areas or where there is considerable use of
stairs. Underfoot comfort can also be a calming influence when sitting or
standing for long periods of time.
Carpet is an outstanding sound
absorption material and considerably reduces background noise in a building
also making it less stressful and tiring. Hard floor areas do not lessen
noise and it is a well known fact that after a period of time carpets have
often been purchased to lay on top of the hard flooring in order to help
alleviate the unpleasant noise problems or assisting with acoustics.
Safety is a major consideration often
overlooked when a floor covering is specified. Most hard floors can be very
slippery when wet causing falls, which can result in expensive claims against
the owners of a building. During cleaning areas need to be marked off and
spillages can quickly be carried over a large area increasing the risk of
falling and also increasing cleaning time. It has been proven that the
use of carpet, a non-slip product, considerably reduces the incidence of falls
even in areas where spillages are likely to occur. In the event that falls do
take place on carpet, the injuries received are usually far less severe than
those which occur on hard flooring. Hard floor areas such as those fitted with
ceramic tiles often suffer from lighting glare causing unpleasant conditions to
walk in and contributing to the likelihood of falls.
The life cycle costing is a comparison
of the advantages & dis-advantages of each type of floor covering relative
to the total overall life cost, taken over a period of time. It is important
when specifying for a floor covering that this life cycle costing is taken into
account since a product which appears to be an initial bargain could turn out
to be an expensive item when other costs are taken into consideration.The total overall cost of the floor
covering is made up of the initial cost of product, the cost of Installation,
cost of Maintenance over time and cost of removal and disposal of the floor
covering when its life is over. The total overall cost is then divided by the
expected life of the floor covering.
Hard flooring is not only expensive to
purchase it is also considerably more expensive to install, costing (depending
on quality) as much as 3 times that of carpet. The sub-floor preparation
also need to be in an excellent condition or this will lead to unsightly flaws
to the finished surface by uneven or cracked appearance.
It is often been said (usually by hard
floor manufacturers) that hard flooring is easier to keep clean than carpets.
Actual case studies have proved differently. Carpet absorbs dust and holds it
trapped within the fibres until it is vacuumed away. Dust on hard floors has no
where to go, it can be bounced back into the air with every footfall or draft
of air and, where grits remains on the surface, it grinds in causing damage.
This is why sweeping and damp mopping on a very frequent basis is required to
keep the area dust/grit free.
Spillages on hard floors, besides being
a safety issue, also cause major soiling problems as the spillage can be easily
spread from one area to the other. Carpet tends to confine the spillage to a
smaller area from where it can be wet vacuumed away. Any other day-to-day
problems, accidents or spillages can just be simply spot cleaned away when a
member of maintenance staff are available
Intensive cleaning of hard floors involves
regular and expensive buffing and stripping away of old polishes and other
finishes before re-surfacing can take place. Interim and intensive hot water extraction on carpet
is far less disruptive and even more importantly less expensive than hard floor
cleaning. Regular cleaning and maintenance programmes contribute to the
expected wear life of carpets, preventing any undue flattening of the surface.
They have been proven to be the most cost-effective way of ensuring acceptable
appearance of carpets during their entire life span.
The high cleaning costs of hard flooring
taken over the number of years in use, contribute heavily to the high life
cycle costing of the products compared to carpet over the same time scale. In
fact hard floor cleaning costs can be as much as 21/2 times that of
When the life of the product is over,
hard flooring can be very difficult, time consuming, and expensive to uplift.
Often the floor requires a sanding operation to remove old adhesive, in itself
a dangerous and dusty job. Carpets whether installed on underlay, Doublestick
or a Release systems need only rolling up and taking away, leaving the floor in
a clean condition ready to accept the new floor covering significantly reducing
re-furbishment and downtime. Landfill costs for product disposal, also need to
be taken into consideration. Recycling can reduce these costs. Some carpet
products can be re-cycled as agricultural soil improvers because wool is a
source of nitrogen when rotted into soil.
In summary hard flooring compares
unfavourably with carpet in a life cycle costing when the higher initial
purchase price / installation costs are combined with the higher maintenance
and removal costs over the products anticipated life spans. Some aspects
are a lot more difficult to measure but can still be important factors such as
the safety, comfort and overall look of the interior however in the leisure
sector these can be perceived as key value. How much positive effect that
this has on added value and repeat visits can only be a point of speculation,
but un-inspiring, unattractive interior appearance will certainly be a negative