School flooring isn’t the traditional carpet and vinyl that it used to be. When you enter remodeled or more modern school buildings in the Twin Cities, you will find that polished concrete floors are dominant. From elementary schools to universities, administrations are looking for more affordable ways to make their flooring stand up to many years of foot traffic and abuse.
Concrete floors are durable, they have the ability to look great, and little maintenance is needed. It has been shown to be ideal for restrooms, classrooms, offices, hallways, and lobbies.
If some environments with concrete floors are too noisy, some have resolved the issue by placing carpeting on the walls. Band rooms in particular tend to have carpet to prevent an echo in the room. Auditoriums typically have sound-deadening panels on the walls. If carpet must be placed on the walls, it does not deal with foot traffic, thus it lasts a lot longer than carpeting on the floor.
For areas where students or teachers may have to stand for long periods of time, anti-fatigue mats can be put in those areas.
There are some schools that like to have a combination of carpeting and concrete throughout the building. However, machine shops are the perfect area for concrete floors. Concrete floors also work great in utility spaces where carpets could be worn or have substances spilled on them. Cafeterias are also areas that can experience a lot of foot traffic and spillage.
One area where polished concrete floors are not recommended is the gymnasium because of the pressure on the knees of the player. The materials used in the making of gym floor, such as wood, are more ideal.
As for safety, the Asthma Regional Council of New England has stated that concrete flooring is the ideal choice over vinyl and carpet for schools. The conclusion was drawn based off of the fact that carpet can harbor, dust, mold, and mildew. These substances can be released into the air. Vinyl is considered the most toxic type of flooring when it is manufactured and thrown away.
Concrete gets the best marks for being lower maintenance, safer for health reasons, more durable, and it has a reduced impact on the environment.
The fact that it is lower maintenance can help schools that are strapped for cash and must weigh the costs of concrete against other types of flooring. Not having to repeatedly wax, buff, and strip floors can save a lot of money over time. Tile floors have to be waxed and it has to be done professionally. Carpet and vinyl have to be cleaned often or they begin to look dingy and will require replacement sooner than expected.
Lastly, concrete floors are quite attractive. With the different design options and polishes available, it is easier to allow the concrete to match the architecture of the school. Not only is the flooring highly functional, but it also becomes an attractive part of the décor. Most importantly, it will last for years to come, becoming a fixture within the building.