Maybe you’re in a shopping mood the spruce up your kitchen, and the flooring is one of the main focus points of that room, considering how the design will fit in well with the units & appliances themselves. But have you also given thought to the functionality & some real consideration to the safety aspect of your new kitchen flooring? A serious consideration it should be, with most household accidents occurring in the kitchen. From burns & scolds to trips & falls, your kitchen is a place where many accidents are waiting to happen. Many of these can be prevented, or at least have their potential risks much lowered. Part of this prevention entails a good choice of flooring.
Amongst the choice of design for your kitchen flooring, other aspects include:
- The cleanability
- The non-slip rating of the material
- The comfort under your feet
- The robustness & wearability
From the food hygiene standpoint, the cleanliness of the flooring is important, so something where all residues of food or bacteria can hide. All kitchens naturally have many nooks and crannies where anything can be stewing away. With the flooring, you’ll be wanting something flush. This could be fitted flush to the skirting boards or walls, or better still. Commercial kitchens can be installed with the flooring material going typically 10cm up the walls as opposed to a sharp right angle that is difficult to clean & mop. This is also highly recommended for kitchens where food for the public is prepared to keep the yearly surprise environmental health inspectors happy. And a smooth floor with all joins fully sealed for water reasons as well as hygiene. In a commercial or restaurant kitchen, this resilient flooring with usually be infused with an aggregate to get good traction even on a wet surface. This same aggregate is really not so necessary in your home, where you’ll likely want something with a smoother finish to incorporate a top layer design in the vinyl, usually in a wood or stone finish.
On the other hand, although a smooth floor has its benefits, it can also be a hazard itself in the event of food or water spills. Maybe not so much in your home but for a commercial kitchen environment our kitchen mats are commonly used to overcome the risk of slippages on oily & wet floors. They also act as a fatigue-reducing barrier, taking the strains often endured when standing for long periods in working kitchens. These can be used in combination with the sealed & easily cleaned flooring material itself. Rubber mats, usually made from natural & recycled rubber, are also environmentally friendly, unlike the vinyl flooring mentioned above, which essentially is plastic, whether flexible or not.
The extra comfort of the matting is a safety bonus in a busy working kitchen, but for your home, they may appear too industrial looking, and to be brutally honest, they are designed purely with safety in mind. So a great go-between could be something such as a cushion vinyl floor or flocked carpet floor, both of which have great designs, including wood, stone & abstract/colors, which are printed as a top layer & inbuilt with a cushioning effect on usage.
Consider how long the floor will be used for and under what extreme commercial or low homely usage. Then gauge the amount of wear or years of usage with a realistic expectation of its longevity vs. the amount you’re paying for your new floor. You’ll likely be more concerned with an aesthetically pleasing finish in your own house, and that’s where a lot of the cost will go, as opposed to a commercial kitchen where functionality will surely play a more important deciding factor over a design. But of the 2 types of kitchens, all factors will play a part.
The quality & longevity of the floor won’t only be just about the product selected but also the quality of the installation work undertaken. As with all fitting of flooring, the conditions need to be to the manufacturer’s specifications, which will usually involve the preparation of a smooth, dry subfloor, then actually laying the flooring. The work will likely be much more difficult in a commercial kitchen that needs cap & coving and fully sealed work. Then to contend with big heavy equipment and the operational hours of the working business. This is something that should be left to the experts, so the restaurant or whatever business it is can be functional for as long as possible. In your home still, a professional floor fitter is recommended. However, you won’t have the same time constraints & importance from a safety/hygiene aspect. Often it can become a labor of love, with many people opting to have a good go themselves, taking pride in their finished work.
This should now give you some great pointers as to what to look for in your new flooring search, whether that be online or at your local flooring shop. The local shops will usually have some good options for your home, but they don’t serve commercial customers so well. In this case, you’d need to delve in deeper seeking out more of a flooring specialist or even online to open up to the safety aspect of nonslip vinyl.