For hotels and other places of commercial accommodation (such as B&B’s, lodges, hostels and self-catering units), the flooring is of utmost importance.
Not only does it have to cope with constant wear and tear and heavy foot traffic but it must also be easy to clean and maintain, stain-resistant and above all, retain an attractive appearance.
In the past, expensive luxury hotels often had floors to match – such as Marble and mosaic tiling – which is why many such places are now sightseeing destinations in themselves.
Think of the Hotel Danieli in Venice, for example. However, most modern hotels want more cost-effective options, particularly with the current trend for refurbishment every few years.
Behind the Scenes
The flooring choice will also depend on the type of room it is destined for. Kitchens and other back-of-house areas, for example, usually just require functional, easy to clean, durable and long-lasting surfaces with little importance given to aesthetics.
They should also usually be water-proof and stain-resistant. Thus even materials like Rubber would be ideal. Other choices are Vinyl and concrete.
Front of House
On the other hand, areas like the guest rooms and any boardrooms will need a more plush, luxurious interior and carpet is usually the flooring of choice in these areas.
In bedrooms, especially, sound proofing is paramount. Cork, although insulating, comfortable and environmentally-friendly, does not quite give the same impression of quality and luxury as carpet, although it might be a good choice for an ‘eco-establishment’.
Lobbies and cafes or restaurants may need to be more visually impressive and provide the sense of quality and image that the establishment is hoping to project, whether that is classic, modern, rustic, edgy, bohemian, homely, etc.
If you have spent a lot of money on the décor scheme, then it is essential that the flooring complements the rest of the environment, particularly as it is likely to be the single largest surface area in the room.
However, functional aspects will still need to be taken into account, such as the amount of foot traffic and the acoustic properties, particularly with a large number of people together and the possibility of women in high heels or other noisy shoes.
Other things to consider are the type of surface finishing, for example a matt finish that absorbs dirt and oil.
With the advances of modern technology these days, choosing a more practical material does not necessarily mean sacrificing on looks.
Laminates, for example, come in a range of wood simulations which can provide the same overall look as a hardwood floor without the cost or the high maintenance issues.
Similarly, vinyl now comes in a huge variety of simulation designs, from marble to wood to cobblestones – and a range of textures as well.
As mentioned earlier, with refurbishment on the calendar every few years, it is also important to consider ease of installation and repair when choosing flooring and a floating floor system may be a better choice.
Another thing to consider is the hotel’s location: if it is near water or in an area of high humidity, would there be problems from expansion and contraction of floor materials, such as hardwood floorboards?
Carpet – while a popular choice – has some negatives which need considering. One key point is that it is not waterproof and dirt and grime cannot simply be wiped or mopped away.
Therefore thorough cleaning via extraction method is required and these procedures often require complete evacuation of the premises and a lengthy drying out period.
One of the key areas a hotel or any other public place has to consider is health and safety, particularly in today’s litigious society.
Failure to ensure this could lead to suits against the establishment for negligence towards its duty to maintain safe premises for its guests.
A recent report in the Saipan Tribune described a man suing a hotel chain for injuries due to slippery tile flooring. Thus anywhere near water, whether a pool, water feature, fountain or even public toilets, should have flooring with non-slip, high-traction surfaces.