Office flooring, like designer furniture and workplace innovations, is becoming an invaluable tool in the commercial landlord's toolbox.

In recent years, the floor has seen some of the most innovative materials and designs in creative workplaces. From warm to industrial, from sleek monochrome to bursting with colour, from stylish vinyl tiles to hipster concrete, office flooring has become an invaluable tool in the commercial landlord's toolbox.

Useful in brand-carrying, flooring can also be brought into play when defining areas of your office with different functions: you might, for example, use concrete throughout the space but highlight the breakout area with a hardwood flooring. 

The growing trend to specify contrasting materials and textures means that some unlikely flooring combinations may arise in the future, but what about the basics?

What is the best flooring option for your office? 

Vinyl flooring – stylish and affordable

Forbo’s Tessera Alignment carpet tiles inside Data solution company Qlik, at Tower 42, London. Designers: Crisp Design

Pros:

  • Its long-lasting performance makes it popular for commercial flooring.
  • Ideal for big offices with high traffic
  • Resistant to damage, like dents and scratches
  • Available in countless colours and designs
  • Easy to clean and with minimal maintenance

Cons:

  • Not biodegradable
  • Susceptible to discolouration when it comes in contact with rubber such as in mats or rubber shoe heels

Hardwood flooring – the classic

E&O Singapore's office boasts Hakwood Delft herringbone flooring

Pros: 

  • Has been a stylish look year after year
  • Durable and easy to clean

Cons: 

  • Costly
  • Soft wood will scratch and blemish easily
  • Can be noisy when walking across it
  • Choose a pre-finished floor to prevent damage from moisture

Laminate – versatile and inexpensive

Kronoswiss white oak laminate flooring

Pros:

  • More inexpensive alternative to wood flooring, tiles or stone
  • Simple to install and does not scratch or dent easily
  • Durable and easy to clean and maintain
  • Also comes in a variety of options from smooth and embossed to patina and wood grain laminate.

Cons:

  • Excessive water can seep into the seams between boards and cause swelling, so special laminate floor cleaner is required
  • As a result, buckling or warping can appear as a result of moisture. 
  • If heavily worn, scratched, or grooved, it cannot be sanded or refinished like solid hardwood: it must be replaced.

Carpet – hardwearing and cost-effective

Artistic Liberties carpet, by Milliken Carpet 

Pros: 

  • Suitable for businesses in need of noise insulation
  • Carpet tiles provide more flexibility and come in different styles and patterns, allowing for a wide range of choices to match the brand and aesthetic of an office.

Cons: 

  • Can easily get stained
  • May require close attention over time. 

Concrete – trendy and brimming with potential

Stylish zoning inside Saatchi & Saatchi's New York office. Architect: M Moser

Pros:

  • Low-maintenance: properly sealed concrete floors minimise the appearance of dirt, grit, stains and spills. A little damp mopping is all it needs to look new
  • Can be dyed to produce a wide range of earthy colours
  • Allows for surface treatments such as acid stains, concrete stains for unique finishes.
  • Can also be stamped with rubber stencils for more texture.
  • Can be made to mimic ceramic tile, natural stone, or brick.
  • When poured over an existing slab, can be embedded with  electrical cables or hot water tubes for added radiant heat 

 Cons:

  • Undeniably hard underfoot
  • Even expertly installed concrete may develop cracks over time. That’s due to inevitable changes in temperature, moisture and settling. Opt for coloured cement paste and patching materials to help disguise cracks.
  • Although concrete itself is biodegradable, the process of making cement requires a lot of energy and produces carbon dioxide.

 

Opening image: Whale Song, by Milliken Carpet

Made in Bulgaria, raised in Morocco, "matured" in the UK, Elissaveta is our Editor-in-Chief. Her career started in the field of architecture and design where she developed a talent for creative thinking and an eye for aesthetics. In 2014, she found her calling in design journalism and now has over three years’ experience in writing about design & architecture.