November 7/14, 2016: Volume 31, Number 11
By Renee Hite
In high-traffic commercial structures, flooring is one of the most critical components of an installation, but it’s usually the first thing that is compromised. An entryway is the first line of defense—the ideal starting point for trapping dirt and water.
Quick fixes using carpet tiles are often preferred, but they might not be the best, most cost-efficient approach. Too often, less-expensive alternatives only add to the problem but are often chosen over a permanent entrance flooring system due to short-term benefits like low initial cost. Carpet tiles installed at the entrance in lieu of a permanent entrance flooring system are subjected to oversaturation, unsightly stains and wear patterns, and may become the source of unpleasant odors. In addition, they typically need to be replaced frequently to keep up with the demands of a busy facility.
The significant role flooring systems play in ensuring entryways are kept clean and safe for building users and maintenance staff cannot be overstated. Entrance flooring systems are most efficient when installed and maintained according to the manufacturer’s specifications. It is important to work with a supplier and product that is proven to be ADA compliant with recessed or surface mounted frames and insert options that tackle common pain points.
Entrance flooring systems play an integral part by helping to keep the entrance safe from slip, trips and falls while providing defense against dirt and water entering your building in a variety of weather and geographical conditions. When dirt and water are introduced to carpet tiles, significant wear begins to occur, usually requiring frequent replacement and becoming costly after time. The purpose of all entrance flooring systems is to allow dirt and water to fall through the system, trapping debris underneath the system while keeping the top surface clean and cutting down on contaminants that are tracked throughout the building. These systems partner well with many types of conditions, depths and flooring products such as pre-existing carpet and tiled surfaces. Employing an entrance flooring system in a recessed application allows for a smooth transition from one top surface to another and are also available for surface mounted applications, using specific ADA-compliant frame options, for those entrances that have existing VCT or terrazzo.
Entrance flooring systems combine design and functionality with an array of insert and logo options. Though most models are designed to withstand a great deal of weight, be sure the demands are reflected in the rolling load capacity for the chosen entrance flooring system. If not, breakage can occur, leaving the facility liable. Rolling load testing is the best way to ensure your real-time environment will stand up to excessive rolling loads from wheel chairs, electric carts, various deliveries and maintenance equipment.
Providing an effective, permanent entrance flooring system in your new facility or existing project will go a long way in maintaining and preserving other flooring materials further inside the building. It will require an investment, but the benefits will pay big dividends.
Renee Hite is owner/development manager for Construction Specialties. She has 30 years experience in the customer service and management field with a strong track record of providing innovative, long-term solutions for property owners, facility managers, architects and contractors. She may be reached firstname.lastname@example.org or 800.233.8493.