Selecting commercial carpet for a university can feel like an overwhelming process. Which colors and designs will best complement the space? Which types of carpet will withstand the nearly constant foot traffic that libraries and student centers experience? With so many options available on the market, those responsible for selecting carpet need to review a set of several considerations. The following guide can help universities make informed decisions when purchasing carpet for various buildings on campus.
From construction type to design to cost, there are numerous factors to take into account when choosing commercial carpet for university buildings.
- Construction – Broadloom carpet, a continuous roll of carpet, is a popular choice for many facilities. However, for irregularly shaped rooms, the carpet has to be cut to size and can result in waste. Carpet tiles are available in rectangular and square shapes and can reduce the amount of waste during installation. They also offer great sound absorption, which is especially ideal in areas like libraries and computer rooms.
- Cushioning – Cushioning is important for standing up to wear and tear, providing comfort to building occupants and improving acoustics. Inquire about the thickness of the carpet cushioning for different spaces across campus, as the wrong density can lead to issues like buckling and wrinkling.
- Location – Carpet is not appropriate for every facility on campus. For instance, it would be difficult to keep clean carpet in a chemistry lab where chemical reactions and spills can occur, and wood is obviously the proper choice for a basketball court. Universities typically use carpet to create home-like environments within libraries, student centers, media centers and perhaps corridors. The goal is to have spaces that are comfortable, inviting and aesthetically pleasing without being too difficult to maintain.
- Design – The possibilities are endless when it comes to the look of your carpet. It’s important to decide whether the carpet will be bold and serve as the focal point or be more neutral and help accent pieces like furniture or art stand out. Consider selecting options that incorporate the university’s color palette, neutrals that blend well with the rest of the room or even calming colors like cool greens and blues that will help occupants concentrate on their studies. Test out samples in the space where the carpet will be installed, as lighting can affect the final look.
- Rating – Carpet manufacturers offer performance ratings on a scale of 1-5 that specifies carpet’s ability to hold up to wear and tear. Universities can select carpet with different performance ratings for different areas across campus. For example, heavily trafficked facilities and corridors will require a rating of 4 or 5. Media centers and conference rooms can likely use a rating of 3.
- Budget – It’s important to consider the long-term costs associated with carpet, rather than just the initial purchase price. While one type of carpet may be cheaper, it may be more difficult to maintain and may wear out more quickly than a more durable option. Don’t simply opt for the lowest upfront cost.
Once a school has installed commercial carpet, it’s important to select the right solutions that custodial staff and building service contractors can use to prolong its lifespan.
A low-moisture encapsulation system allows staff to carry out interim maintenance on an as-needed basis, such as when stains appear. A two- or three-brush machine works to lift the carpet pile and agitate the chemistry into the fibers to achieve a top to bottom clean. The crystalizing polymers and detergent in the solution encapsulate oily and abrasive substances, which are then removed through vacuuming. From dirt particles to marks from wet mud to food and beverage spills, encapsulation cleaning can tackle even the toughest stains without over-wetting carpet. The low-moisture approach means that areas can be returned to use after about 30 minutes, which allows staff to proactively clean even when students, faculty and visitors are using a facility.
Cleaners should regularly look for spots so that they can be removed as soon as possible before setting deeper into carpet fibers. With an easy-to-maneuver encapsulation machine and a range of spotting chemistry in their arsenal, employees can efficiently and effectively maintain carpet in high-trafficked spaces.
The Right Carpet for your Campus
The best commercial carpet for a university is a type that can hold up to frequent foot traffic and weather elements, has colors and designs that are well-matched to the interior spaces and will last for years to come with the proper carpet maintenance schedule in place. By following the above guidelines and best practices, universities can choose the right carpet for their campuses and keep it looking its best.