With our focus being student housing, selecting the appropriate interior finishes is extremely important for the maintenance, aesthetic and lifecycle of each building. Our job as designers is to create spaces that attract students, while ensuring the proper function of the space. The design team evaluates each project based on location, desired aesthetics, and budget to recommend the most appropriate materials with a maximum lifecycle.
Flooring selection is an important part of the design process. It is one of the first things you notice when you enter a building and receives the heaviest amount of use. Not all products are created equal nor are all products environmentally friendly. The designer has the task of selecting flooring that looks great while also being extremely durable and achieving a high level of sustainability. The designer will select materials from environmentally responsible, trusted manufacturers that include industry leading warranties, while making sure the budget is met without sacrificing the quality of flooring used. Examples of flooring types in student housing projects are concrete, carpet tiles, resilient flooring, and quarry or porcelain tiles. The flooring specified for each area will depend on the function of the space, any special conditions the floor will be subject to and of course the amount of foot traffic that area receives. The designer will also take in to consideration the ease of maintenance for each material as well as ease of replacement in the case of any damage.
Maintaining the flooring properly after installation is key. Good maintenance includes keeping soil from entering your building, which can be most visible on flooring in high traffic areas. Starting from the outside in by keeping exterior building entry areas clean, and installing high quality walk-off surfaces designed specifically for entryways reduces the amount of soil tracked inside the building. Daily cleaning of the flooring will do wonders for maximizing longevity. Dirt, rocks and small sharp objects can easily cause abrasions on the surface of the floor and that will scratch the sealant and speed up the wearing process. Educating facility managers on the cleaning methods recommended by the manufacturers for each flooring type is very important. Routine maintenance with the correct cleaning solutions and tools will keep the materials looking their best throughout the life of the product.
Flooring design can be very impactful to a building’s interior and overall sustainability and is an opportunity for a designer’s creativity to shine. It is important for the designer to select materials that emphasize the desired style of the interior, while making sure the product is not too trendy. Since flooring can be a high cost material to replace, all products will need to maintain their function as well as aesthetics throughout their expected lifecycle. The designer’s goal is to create a space that is healthy, attractive and that students will enjoy and thrive in for many years to come.