Education Sector Flooring - Schools, Colleges, Universities and everything in between!
The education sector has very specific flooring requirements and only the highest quality, most economical and performance led flooring solutions should be considered when choosing floors for Schools, Colleges, Universities, Nurseries and any educational facility. Hamilton flooring provides solutions for the design and functional necessities of classrooms, sports halls, labs, corridors, receptions and many other areas.
Educational establishments demand attractive, low-maintenance, safe & hard wearing flooring designed to not only be conducive to a space of learning but also durable and optimised for high foot traffic. At Hamilton Flooring we work with the best suppliers in the industry and our team of professional flooring experts are incredibly knowledgeable on the requirements of school flooring, this means we are able to deliver the highest quality flooring solutions across the entire education section and are on hand to consult and advise on the finer details of the selection process.
Although we understand that the focus should be on factors like durability, safety, hygiene and accessibility, we also believe that this does not mean that style has to be compromised! The design of a learning space should not be underestimated and a well considered design can contribute to a positive space where students and staff can flourish.
Designing flooring for schools and educational facilities
When thinking about schools and campuses as a whole, differing aesthetic themes can define the activities in the area and different functions have different requirements when it comes to flooring. For example, maximising durability and ease of maintenance is key in high traffic areas and so is the consideration of appropriate patterns and colours. Colour palettes are important in educational spaces as the environment should not over stimulate students so as to be distracting but long gone are the days when a school was a bleak landscape of grey and brown. Calming colours and natural effects are advantageous in educational flooring.
Colour Psychology is often used in the interior design of educational environments and there remains value to its application to flooring solutions. When considering how colours evoke certain responses we can note that creativity can be encouraged through purple tones - balancing the stimulating elements of reds and the calming aspects of blue tones to create a tension relieving space which (in muted versions rather than, say a cadbury purple!) would work well in a carpet tiled area such as a library or casual study zone. Regarding the calming, stress relieving aspects of colours, cooler colours such as blues and greens are considered to be most appropriate. Furthermore, muted tones such as pastel greens are scientifically noted as less strainful on eye muscles as the eye focuses the colour green directly on the retina. There is a high chance that many classrooms and labs within a school will be decorated in blues and greens for this exact reason and flooring can be selected to complement this and any other scheme.
Warmer tones and natural effects such as wood or stone promote a sense of wellbeing whilst being stimulating. Wooden effect flooring in vinyl is a popular option in canteens and eateries as it gives a feel of comfort and homeliness whilst being welcoming and inviting.
Leaving colour psychology behind, colour and pattern in flooring options can also reflect the brand and personality of the educational institution. School colours and logos - or even crests - can be incorporated into the floor with custom bespoke flooring. Areas such as receptions can benefit from a custom floor, highlighting the institutions’ identity through inlaid lettering or imagery either in the main flooring or through custom welcome matting. Irrespective of the many style options available, ensuring the characteristics of certain flooring solutions are considered when selecting a flooring type for a specific area of a School, College, University or other educational facility.
No two spaces are exactly the same which is why our flooring experts would consult on the requirements, functions and design needs of a specific area for your Institution - to speak with a member of the team or to book a consultation please fill out our contact form and someone will get in touch.
In the meantime, here are some of our general recommendations for flooring solutions in Schools, Colleges, Universities and other educational institutions.
Carpet tiles - style and comfort for schools
Carpet tiles are widely recognised as the perfect alternative to wall-to-wall carpeting in areas which require the characteristics of carpet but with the added benefit of the ability to replace individual tiles should spills or damage be acquired in the daily use of a carpeted area.
Furthermore, the variety of colour and pattern options is astounding and there is surely a combination for everyone! Once fitted, carpet tile gives the appearance of wall-to-wall carpeting rather than piecemeal sections. Having said this, intricate patterns and designs can be created with carpet tile using custom flooring techniques, allowing for a bespoke finish and personalised aspects should this be desired.
Carpet tile is particularly effective at noise reduction which, as anyone who has ever been in a school for class changeover will know, is incredibly important - especially in larger institutions.
Excessive noise is detrimental to productivity and in an environment where one class could be reenacting the sonnets of Shakespeare at great volume next door to a class working on quadratic equations, any form of noise reduction is welcomed!
Carpet tile absorbs more than three times more noise than a hardwood floor and traditional hard flooring such as wood and concrete are very poor at sound absorption whereas a cushion backed carpet tile offers 50% more absorption than a hard backed carpet. The cushioning properties of carpet tiles are also a consideration as they provide a padded environment which is low-impact and hardworking.
Areas which may benefit from carpet tiles would include; Classrooms, reception areas (often in conjunction with vinyl tile), common areas, libraries, lecture halls/auditoriums, offices and student halls of residence.
Carpet tiles are simple and quick to install, which is important as it is not ideal to have spaces within schools, nurseries and universities as unusable for extended periods of time. For more information about carpet tiles,speak to one of our flooring experts about how we can work with your needs and budget to create a stylish and practical carpeted area for you.
Carpet tile is something of a commercial space workhorse and is pretty well suited to most work spaces however there are areas which would benefit from some characteristics which carpet does not hold.
Vinyl flooring - a great choice for school flooring
Vinyl flooring is a real staple in the education section and can be found in most areas of schools, nurseries, universities and any place of learning. With seemingly endless design options and variations on thickness and texture, Vinyl is very much a universal flooring solution.
As we have already mentioned, noise pollution is a significant issue in schools and Vinyl is a great choice when carpet is not an option. Although not quite as effective at noise reduction as carpet (superior due to the gaps in pile) it however remains a highly effective solution. Vinyl easily outweighs traditional hard floor for sound absorption. Furthermore, for the same aesthetic impact as many higher cost hard flooring solutions, Vinyl flooring is unmatched!
Vinyl flooring designs have the ability to replicate natural stone or wood products but without the high price tag as well as being available in graphic and digitally created designs.
The main options with Vinyl would be for sheet vinyl or vinyl tile (and strictly speaking - a third option in luxury vinyl in the form of tile or plank with examples such as Karndean and Amtico although for larger spaces the cost of LVT/P may reduce its viability as an option).
Similarly to carpet tile, vinyl tile is incredibly versatile and durable as well as having the added practical element of being able to replace individual tiles should damage occur. Vinyl is extremely well suited to areas of high foot traffic, especially areas which are likely to experience low-level liquid interaction - whether from spillages or from wet weather being tracked into the building by students although it should be noted that vinyl tile is water resistant but due to joins between the tiles is not completely impermeable to moisture.
Sheet Vinyl is a stylish and cost effective solution which is known for durability and low-maintenance needs. Furthermore, due to its spill resistance and bacteria management properties, Vinyl is well suited to kitchens and bathrooms especially as (unlike Vinyl Tile) it is completely impermeable to water. This makes Vinyl a perfect choice for areas which will receive frequent cleaning and heavy foot traffic.
Polyflor, Forbo and Altro are all trusted suppliers working with Hamilton Flooring to provide quality Vinyl flooring systems with specialist products adhering to safety flooring standards with anti-slip technology and water resistant properties. Vinyl, in comparison to some other hard surface flooring, offers high levels of thermal and acoustic properties and won't chip, warp or discolour.
Areas which may benefit from Vinyl flooring would include; Corridors and walkways, toilets and changing rooms, reception areas, common areas, kitchens, labs and workshops.
Using multiple flooring types across Schools, Universities and Nurseries
School flooring needs to be ergonomic as well as stylish and vinyl is an effective combination of the two, with practical elements in their construction as well as a vast array of designs, colours and styles available. Contemporary vinyl flooring is both durable and stylish, making it practical and easy to maintain. Vinyl is very affordable and there are options to suit all budgets.
Combining different flooring types across one design can be a useful way to denote distinct areas in a space and this is very effective in an educational environment specifically in common areas or open plan multi-use zones. Utilising carpet in desk areas, vinyl in high traffic locations and stylised options such as Karndene or Amtico in areas like personal offices or boardrooms allows for a dynamic use of space. Drawing together texture, design and utility, flooring is a key element of any educational facility and can be used to promote the identity of the institution, productivity and wellbeing amongst staff & students and to present a stylish and welcoming environment to visitors.
Specialist areas - considering fit for purpose flooring
In addition to Vinyl and Carpet options, certain areas will have very specific needs for example staircases and labs. Stairs are areas of extremely high traffic as well as being a high risk area for trips and falls, particularly in the hustle and bustle of a school. Hamilton Flooring has been installing safety flooring in commercial spaces for many years and are experts in incorporating safety features such as colour contrast and structured stair noses to give tactile and visual indications of level changes working in conjunction with the features of safety flooring, namely anti-slip, high grip technology. This is also a key consideration in science labs and workshops where safety and durability is important - especially where tools and chemicals are present. Safety flooring also has noise absorbing properties and are constructed to withstand significant footfall meaning that safety flooring installed by Hamilton Flooring is guaranteed to stand up to the tests of its location in terms of durability and longevity.
A further location requiring specialist flooring types would be server rooms, often an area overlooked when thinking about flooring solutions. Most larger schools, colleges and universities will have dedicated server rooms in which flooring should be carefully selected. These areas contain sensitive electronic equipment for which electrostatic discharges can cause serious damage. To prevent this, dissipative and conductive flooring should be utilised to expel these discharges through an earthing point and drain charges. An added benefit is that this type of flooring is resistant to excessive indentation which aids in the prevention of floor deterioration.
Other notable specialist flooring characteristics include, for example, Forbos Marmoleum which is a vinyl flooring which is certified as allergy friendly pertaining to its ultra smooth service preventing a build up of Dust Mites as well as being proven to inhibit the spread of MRSA, Norovirus and E-Coli. Danfloor is one of our main suppliers of cognitive impairment design accredited flooring which, primarily used for Dementia friendly flooring needs, has applications in SEN units as well as being particularly well suited to encouraging full accessibility for those with visual impairment or differing cognitive requirements.
Specific flooring should be considered for areas such as sports halls and gyms where rubber matting and safety flooring is most suited to the function and environment of the space, as well as customised and bespoke options for sports hall line markings. Entrance ways benefit from the inclusion of matting to help keep other areas free from outdoor debris whilst also providing the opportunity for customised elements such as branding to make a welcoming first impression.
Hamilton Flooring offer a wide range of flooring solutions and with their expertise in the industry you are in good hands. So whether you are looking to update and upgrade existing flooring or if you are starting from scratch, there’s a flooring solution for you!
For more information about the services provided by Hamilton Flooring or to book a free consultation for your school and education sector flooring needs, our experts are on hand to explore the creative and practical elements you require.
Unless otherwise stated, Images are used for illustrative purposes and do not represent work untaken by Hamilton flooring - examples of work completed can be found in our Gallery