The term ‘retail flooring’ is very broad. Your business may be a small boutique store, or it could be a large general merchandise store – or it could be anything in between. The type of floor covering will be different depending on a wide range of factors. So size apart from cost will have little to do with your retail flooring selecting.
So how do you assess which floor covering is best for your retail business? These points will help you narrow down your options, hopefully making that final decision much easier.
Foot Traffic – there are several different factors to take into consideration when looking at traffic. Obviously, the amount of traffic is important, however, the type of traffic is equally important. Small boutique retail environments may be light on traffic, however, if they are upmarket, are the customers generally female who tend to wear high heels? On the other hand, your retail business may be trade orientated and your customers may be male, in general wearing heavy and dirty work boots.
Non-Foot Traffic – non-foot traffic is often forgotten, however, this is the type of traffic that may cause more damage to retail flooring than foot traffic. Shopping trolleys are one example and have either hard rubber or metal wheels – not friendly on a lot of surfaces. You will need a surface that allows those trolleys to move freely, so carpet is probably out of the question. Hand trolleys that are delivery merchandise is another form of non-foot traffic that should be considered. Porcelain and granite floor tiles will handle this traffic, although you will need to use commercial grades.
Merchandise – how is your merchandise displayed? Is it on permanent racks or shelves? If that’s the case, then there will be little effect on your flooring. If your merchandise is displayed on racks with wheels, or racks that can be moved easily, then look for hard floor coverings that will resist scratching. This is where porcelain floor tiles are in a league of their own – they are amongst the toughest and most durable tiles on the market.
Environment – are liquids or foodstuffs an issue? If so, a water- (and stain-) resistant floor covering is essential. It should also be a floor covering that can be quickly cleaned and dried should there be any spills. Floor tiles offer the best cover in this environment with granite and porcelain being your best options.
Decor – this is one area that is of little importance to your decision-making process unless you are after a specific effect. If you really must have carpet, even though the previous points make this a risky option, then you’ll probably head in that direction anyway. Otherwise, floor tiles come in such a wide range of colors and patterns that you can leave this to the very end – find the right type of floor tile, then look for a color and pattern to suit your tastes.
Above all else, talk to a tile expert first. They will help you select the right type of tile for your retail flooring – from there, it’s a matter of finding the tile that suits you and your business. If you make the decision early, you’ll have retail flooring that’s easy to clean, easy to maintain, shows off your business well, and lasts a lifetime no matter how much punishment it receives.