Walk into any commercial carpet showroom and you’ll be wowed by the many different styles that are available for selection. There are solid-colored options, geometric patterns and even carpet with designs inspired by nature. While the process of choosing the right carpet for your educational facility can seem overwhelming, there are certain strategies you can apply to arrive at a decision.
Types of Commercial Carpet
There are several types of carpet that you can consider for your facility. Each has its own set of pros and cons to note. The best carpet will be the type that fits your school’s unique set of needs. Carpet falls into the following two categories:
- Tiles – Carpet tiles, also known as carpet squares or modular carpet, are smaller square pieces of carpet that interlock or line up with one another to create a cohesive look. Carpet tiles have their own backing and thus do not require carpet padding to be installed on top of the substrate. What is great about carpet squares is that they are pre-sized and will require less cutting during installation, especially if you have square or rectangular interior spaces.
- Broadloom – Broadloom carpet is manufactured in rolls. Often, it has a lower upfront cost compared to carpet tiles and it is available in a myriad of different colors and patterns given that it is such a popular choice in commercial facilities. However, it is important to look beyond just the initial cost of purchasing carpet and consider the lifetime costs that will come along with upholding the appearance of carpet in your school buildings.
Additionally, broadloom carpet can create more waste during installation than carpet tiles because it needs to be perfectly sized to your environment. Broadloom carpet can also be more expensive to replace if damaged, as the roll is continuous compared to carpet tiles that enable you to tear out one specific section and replace it.
How to Choose a Carpet
There are several best practices every facility manager should follow when selecting carpet for a commercial facility:
- Set a budget – Any type of remodeling project should have a corresponding budget. Your budget should consider not only the cost of the carpet but also the price to install it and any new equipment you might need to maintain the carpet over time. This may include vacuums, cleaners and stain removers and low-moisture encapsulation machines that can agitate the carpet and apply cleaning solutions.
- Narrow your selection to the appropriate type of carpet – As previously mentioned, you will need to either select broadloom carpet or carpet tiles. Once you have decided on which kind will work best in your school, you can then move onto the more exciting parts of carpet selection.
- Consider color – Light-colored carpet is certainly a calming choice, but it is important to note that it will be more challenging to maintain compared to darker-colored carpet. Dark carpet tends to show less dirt and fewer spots, yet that is not an excuse to maintain it less frequently. Plus, very dark-colored carpet, like black or navy blue, can show spots more easily than other hues or colors. Typically, school buildings like libraries and student centers experience frequent foot traffic, so it might be wise to select a darker color. You will also want to make sure that the color you select complements the entire space. In other words, does it align with the wall paint, furniture, or other features of the room? Avoid colors that clash with the other design elements so that you will not feel compelled to overhaul the entire interior design.
- Decide on pattern – There is a seemingly endless selection of carpet designs available today. Solid-colored carpet devoid of pattern is classic but might show soils and stains a bit more in comparison to patterned carpet featuring lines, color blocking or textures. Patterned carpet provides another visual element but may be a bit louder and less soothing than a more restrained design. Whichever direction you go in, it is necessary to consider the purpose of the space, foot traffic patterns, your maintenance schedule and the other colors and patterns in place. For instance, a student center is typically an energetic place that would benefit from a bold pattern. Meanwhile, a library or dorm common areas are more subdued and need to support focus and learning, so simpler patterns or solid colors will suffice.
- Determine how best to maintain the carpet – Before purchasing and installing carpet, you will want to have a clear understanding of how to maintain the carpet. Well-maintained carpet can last decades. Additionally, proper care ensures that your carpet warranty remains valid, as using equipment that could damage carpet can void the carpet manufacturer’s warranty. Be sure to read the warranty in detail and discuss with the manufacturer the best ways to approach maintenance. Low-moisture encapsulation is a method that is proven to use much less water than other carpet maintenance methods and is extremely effective at removing embedded soils and stains. Implementing a low-moisture maintenance plan can actually help you reduce the frequency of more costly and intensive cleaning processes, as encapsulation does not result in sticky residues that attract dirt to the carpet. Select a comprehensive system consisting of interim maintenance chemistries and easy-to-use machines that will apply the solutions to carpet and agitate the fibers.
Carpet Selection in Schools
Redesigning the interiors of school buildings is a large undertaking that takes careful consideration. The choices you make today regarding flooring can impact your budget and maintenance strategies in the future. Whether you are interested in broadloom carpet or carpet squares, following the above tips can help you select carpet that will enhance the aesthetic of your facility for years to come. Looking to maintain your school’s carpet effectively and sustainably? Whittaker’s low-moisture encapsulation carpet care systems are easy to use and perform well on both broadloom carpet and carpet tiles. To learn more about our Smart ® machines and CRYSTAL® Chemistry, contact the Whittaker sales team at 800.422.7686 or firstname.lastname@example.org.