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Comparing Material Options for a Commercial Building's Floors

When it comes to choosing building materials for your commercial space, there is arguably no choice more important than that for floors. Among the many functions that your commercial floor should perform include:

  • Provide an inviting and aesthetically appearance

  • Be able to withstand the wear and tear of heavy traffic, limiting the cost and time committed to maintenance, repairs, and replacements

  • Help keep utility costs under control

  • Allow for a wide variety of furniture and decor options

The contemporary market is flooded with flooring materials, with some options proving more suitable for commercial spaces than others. The good news is that with so many options at your disposal, you should have no trouble finding the perfect material to suit your needs, with the following products popular choices in many modern commercial spaces.

1. Engineered Hardwood

Hardwood floors are often the end goal when it comes to flooring materials, for commercial and residential spaces alike. Hardwood conveys elegance while maintaining a natural aspect that other flooring materials simply cannot match.

The problem is that natural hardwood is among the most expensive following options on the market, making it a prohibitive choice for commercial buildings that have a lot of square footage to cover.

Enter engineered hardwood as a solution to this problem. Its no-hassle tongue and groove fabrication dramatically reduce installation costs and with a real wood top sheathing an engineered body, it gives a 100% authentic appearance while using a fraction of the wood, which not only reduces costs but aids in the conservation of forests, as well.

For those business owners that are concerned that hardwood and its variations are a “cold” flooring option that will lead to elevated heating costs, consider radiant floor heating to mitigate this problem. This innovative system works on a stove-like principle that sends heat radiating up through the floor and throughout the building, reducing the need for spotty and potentially dirty air being blown through your commercial flooring.

2. Luxury Vinyl Tile

Another top flooring option for commercial spaces that need a hard surface is luxury vinyl tile. In most cases, this synthetic product is, even more, cost-effective than engineered hardwood while offering an expansive array of design and color options, including wood, stone, and marble.

Luxury vinyl tile is very easy to install and extremely durable, with the design layer that covers the tile and vinyl backing protected by a clear support layer that is sealed with a polyurethane coating, making luxury vinyl tile a great choice for retail spaces that want to maintain the aspect of their floor in the face of heavy traffic.

A downside to luxury vinyl tile--and most hard flooring options, for that matter--is the tendency to get very slippery when wet. Therefore, if you choose to use luxury vinyl tile in a doctor’s office, handicap ramp, or another area where people may have compromised health and/or balance, you will want to look into pairing your floor with some customizable handrails.

3. Epoxy Terrazzo

If you have a truly vast commercial space to floor that will need to stand up to heavy, non-stop traffic--think airport terminals and mall food courts--epoxy terrazzo may be worth the investment. Made from an extremely tough mixture of glass, quartz, and granite and sealed with a nonporous, cementitious epoxy resin, this flooring is essentially bulletproof and will likely never need to be replaced if given the least modicum of care.

The downside to this lifetime of benefits is that terrazzo floors are exceptionally expensive upon initial installation. They are also extremely cold flooring, easily allowing heat to escape during the winter months, meaning that epoxy terrazzo floors should not be added without first laying some quality polyiso insulation.


It's crucial to choose the correct materials for commercial building floors before purchasing one. Consider all the factors such as appearance, durability, value for money, and all the other small details that can affect a building's floors in the long run. Use this guide in making decisions to help ensure that you're choosing the right material for your floors!

This article was authored by Skylar Ross, a contributor to Innovative Building Materials. He is a blogger and content writer for the residential and commercial flooring industry. Skylar is focused on helping fellow homeowners, contractors, and manufacturers discover materials and methods of installation that increase property value, improve durability, and discover innovative flooring options for their home or commercial space.



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