By Tasha Hughes
From the April 2018 Issue
Flooring and its maintenance can be a costly and time-consuming investment for a facility. While hard costs associated with this cleaning and maintenance can be significant, another factor to consider is the amount of downtime needed to maintain the floor and how those interruptions can impact building occupants. People are affected by floor maintenance in countless ways. Students can become distracted from learning, hospitals run less efficiently, worker productivity may drop, and retail spaces and restaurants could lose incremental revenue.
The way a facility is used often dictates its flooring maintenance schedule. In schools, heavy maintenance, such as finishing, waxing or sealing, is often put off until summer vacation. Office spaces typically require weekend upkeep, while 24/7 facilities such as hospitals present an even greater challenge.
According to Kline’s 2017 edition of “Janitorial and Housekeeping Cleaning Products: U.S. Marketing Analysis and Opportunities” report, spending on floor care products is decreasing as new construction planners choose lower maintenance flooring surfaces. Meanwhile, some facility managers with high maintenance floors are opting to reduce the number of times they refinish a floor to lower operational expenses.
However, the latter can contribute to hazardous facility conditions as well as loss of a building’s visual appeal. When developing a floor care plan, it’s important to conduct an audit of flooring options to determine which materials will cause the least amount of disruption to the building’s regular occupants and visitors.
Flooring with a coated surface can be easy to maintain on a day-to-day basis. However, materials such as vinyl and linoleum will eventually need to be refinished to preserve their original luster. It’s important for facility managers to look beyond the upfront costs of the product to determine the long-term expense of cleaning and maintenance and how these processes impact those who inhabit that space.
Another factor to consider is the level of noise pollution created during flooring maintenance. For facilities such as hospitals that do not have the ability to shut down during maintenance, it’s important to choose flooring that’s both easy to maintain and does not require disruptive equipment.
Finally, the type of chemicals used to clean the flooring should be factored into the audit. Harsh chemicals and astringents can have a direct impact on the health and safety of a building’s occupants. Facility management in both healthcare and education is turning to green cleaning products to maintain indoor air quality and enhance the well-being of patients and students.
Facility managers looking to decrease occupant disruptions should consider a non-coated flooring material to reduce downtime. Rubber flooring has a dense, nonporous surface that makes it highly dirt repellent and requires no finishing, waxing, or sealing. This helps reduce the flooring’s life-cycle costs, and also eliminates the need to quarantine areas of a building during maintenance.
Most rubber flooring can be cleaned with just water and a scrubber, contributing to a healthier environment. If deeper cleaning is required for sterile environments such as healthcare facilities, this flooring can be sanitized using a quiet, non-disruptive steam cleaner. This method of cleaning also results in shorter drying times to reduce falls and slips.
Appearance can play a large role in a building’s brand equity, which should make care of the flooring a priority. Therefore, it’s imperative facility managers seek out flooring products that enhance a building’s visual appeal while offering a maintenance regimen that helps keep occupants safe, content and productive.
Hughes is a public relations and marketing specialist for nora systems, Inc., an international rubber flooring manufacturer.
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