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Commercial Flooring: Restaurants

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

When it comes to multi-tasking, restaurant floors do it better than most! Not only do they have to be durable and easy to clean but they also must comply with strict health codes, as well as looking good and blending in with the interior decor theme of the eating establishment. This means that selection of the right type of flooring must be undertaken with extreme care.

Safety First

Before anything else, restaurant flooring needs to satisfy health and safety requirements. This is particularly important in today's litigious society. It can also be a way to keeping insurance premiums low. Thus, flooring needs to be of a non-slip material or be embedded with ridging and studs that help give better traction, particularly when wet. It should also comply with the requirements of the Disabilities Act and naturally be tested so as not to give off any toxic or allergenic fumes. It should also ideally be of a material and grade that will burn safely with low smoke emission in the event of a fire.

Looking Right

As one of the largest surface areas in the restaurant, the restaurant floor will contribute significantly to the overall look and feel of the place and affect the impact of the interior decorating. While it's true that most diners will not be consciously studying the flooring material, the type of flooring will nevertheless influence the ambience and general impression of the facility.

Think carefully of colours when selecting and bear in mind the general guidance with regards to Warm and Cool Colours and the moods that they create. Think also about how the flooring will look under the normal restaurant lighting, for example, very reflective glossy flooring may be too harsh under bright lights and cause the diners considerable discomfort. Think also about practical issues when choosing things such as patterns and designs for the flooring: for most busy restaurants, the floor will get very dirty during the course of the night and you do not want to choose a design which will easily display this to the diners. Something which will easily conceal dropped food, spills, tracked-in dirt and other grime in its overall pattern is a good choice.

Other Needs?

To keep maintenance costs and replacement costs down, flooring for restaurants need to be extremely durable and resistant to wear and tear, as it will be subject to heavy traffic daily. Not only must it cope with these demands but it must also remain looking good, even under adverse conditions. In addition, it should be easy to clean and preferably stain-resistant, grease-resistant, waterproof and also resistant to abrasions. Finally, it is in the interest of many employers to improve employee comfort and therefore cushioned flooring that provides support and softness underfoot for staff would be a good criterion to add to the list.

Flooring Options

Ceramic Tile

This is a very popular choice and it is easy to see why as Ceramic Tiles excel at withstanding the heavy use and abuse often occurring in commercial eating premises. Moreover, tiles are beautiful to look at and come in a range of styles and colours. In fact, arranging different colours to create a checkerboard effect is a common design choice and with the variety of colours and textures available, it is easy to create a customised, individual look. Finally, tile is environmentally-friendly as there are no petroleum products used in its manufacture. Providing that the grout is well-sealed, it will last for years, providing a beautiful and easy to clean surface.

Concrete

Another popular choice is concrete, particularly if you're looking for more inexpensive options. Concrete slab floors can be painted and stained in a variety of colours and styles and then sealed to provide good durability under heavy traffic and daily wear and tear. One great advantage of this flooring is that it allows you great creativity, delivering every look from faux stone to unique custom designs.

Rubber Flooring

For good durability AND comfort, it's hard to beat Rubber Flooring. It reduces fatigue on legs and back for those who have to stand for long hours and its flexibility and elasticity provide great wear under heavy traffic. It even covers the health and safety aspects too by helping to reduce slipping on wet or greasy floors. Naturally, rubber is extremely easy to clean and is naturally grease-resistant and anti-microbial. Rubber is extremely popular with interior designers for its unique 'high-tech' look.

Vinyl

This is a good alternative to rubber if you want to provide cushioned flooring but want something that looks a bit more 'refined' and sophisticated. The virtually limitless colour and design possibilities mean that you can have everything from classic looks to bold, modern designs and most particularly, the look of a hardwood floor without any of the costs or maintenance issues. And of course, one of vinyl's great attractions is its low cost which makes it one of the most economical options.

Whatever the choice of flooring, good professional installation is essential as it will prolong the life of the investment and prevent costly repairs and replacements. It is certainly one area worth spending a bit more on, even if you are on a limited budget.

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