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Cushion Flooring

By: Hsin-Yi Cohen BSc, MA, MSt - Updated: 29 Mar 2011 | comments*Discuss
 
Cushioned Flooring Cushioned Floors

A type of specialty flooring that has been gaining popularity in recent years, both in the commercial sector and in the home, is cushioned flooring. This can be made of a range of materials but incorporates some form of absorbing cushion underfoot which makes it much more comfortable to stand and walk on but at the same time, still has a firm feel and an illusion of neatness.

Types of Cushioned Flooring

One of the most popular types of cushioned flooring is cushioned Vinyl Flooring. Many flooring manufacturers are now offering quality cushioned vinyl flooring in a range of styles and colours. Not only do they provide extra comfort but they also offer all the traditional vinyl advantages, such as a durable surface that is easy to clean and maintain and is stain-resistant and waterproof. Remember that cushioned vinyl can only be installed over hard, solid surfaces, such as tiles.

Rubber is another popular choice for cushioned flooring, particularly in the commercial sector. It is cheap, easy to clean, water-proof and even more hard-wearing than vinyl and is used in a range of situations, from healthcare to sports and recreation.

For an environmentally-friendly alternative, cork is a good choice. It is extremely soft underfoot and naturally anti-microbial; it’s only downside is that it is porous and may not be a good choice for high moisture areas.

Cushioned Floors in the Home

It may be wise to think about cushioned flooring if you have children in the home as it provides the most safe and comfortable surface for play. Traditionally, this would be provided by thick carpet but problems can arise from heavy wear and tear, spills, stains and other soiling associated with children. Therefore, cushioned flooring might be a better choice. Modern vinyl comes in bright colours, with protective and padded surfaces ideal for Children’s Play Areas, especially outdoors, so that children can spend long hours playing many games in cushioned comfort. In many instances, it may even be a good idea to use cushioned vinyl as an alternative to tiles in kitchens and conservatories, not only do these floors provide warmth and comfort, they are hard-wearing, easy to clean and even anti-allergenic in these high family activity areas.

Cushioned Floors in the Commercial Sector

Research has now shown that using cushioned floors can greatly enhance working conditions and in some cases, may be recommended by medical practitioners for certain types of jobs. These include those that require the worker to spend long hours in the day standing or walking, such as workers in assembly lines, cashiers and even health personnel in hospitals (doctors and nurses). The stresses from these jobs expose the feet, knees and backs to health risks, as a result of the long periods of standing every day. Thus, if the workers can stand on a cushioned service, this helps to minimise the stress on their bodies, compared to standing on harder surfaces like tile and concrete. In fact, cushioned flooring can even help to reduce the risk of slips and falls.

Depending on the situation, the thickness of the cushioned flooring will vary from the maximum ergonomic protection that is required in industrial settings to the slighter cushioning effects used in retail. Materials include things like cushioned linoleum, cushioned carpeting and slip-resistant cushioned floor mats. The last is very popular in children’s play centres and other Leisure and Recreation Areas where they provide protection for outdoor activities like rock-climbing and playgrounds.

Other advantages to the employers – aside from benefits to the workers – are lowered insurance premiums when cushioned floors contribute to employee and customer health and safety.

Maintenance of Cushioned Floors

Like other types of flooring, the maintenance of cushioned flooring will depend largely on the amount and type of usage. In general, maintenance requires nothing more than a regular sweep or vacuum followed by a wipe with a damp mop or cloth. Stains and spills should be tackled as soon as possible. Be very careful about piercing the surface of cushioned flooring by sharp objects – thus watch out for stiletto heels and be careful when dragging heavy furniture and appliances across the floor. Also be wary of hot or burning objects. General abrasion from grit is also something to keep in mind therefore it is a good idea to always sweep or vacuum the flooring regularly.

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