|Size matters: Larger boards with visible impurities can lengthen the life of hardwood floors by building future imperfections into the design.|
Designers are inclined to think at eye level. However, the public areas of hotels are evolving in such a way that guests are lingering in them longer, and there is more incentive for properties to think big when it comes to the flooring used in these areas.
Dan O’Neill, commercial development manager for Carlisle Wide Plank Floors, said there is a link between a hotel’s F&B division and the money that is allocated for floor design. “We see a trend where high-quality flooring is being installed, and it isn’t necessarily in the guestroom,” O’Neill said. “It’s where the money is being spent, which right now means lobby spaces, meetings facilities and other gathering areas.”
O’Neill said many hotels are afraid of using wood flooring because it has been value engineered over the years to appear cheap and difficult to maintain. “If you start with a beautiful idea and downgrade it to meet a low budget, you will get an inferior product,” O’Neill said. “But now more than ever properties are spending to install nicer woods, and they have higher expectations.”
Materials such as tile and wood are trending right now in hotel meeting spaces, especially outside of the U.S. “Europe is ahead of the U.S. in utilizing hard surface materials throughout the hotel, including meeting rooms and dining spaces,” said Joe Sultan, CEO of Chilewich.
According to Sultan, one of the main draws for installing tile or wood into meeting rooms is the ease at which they can be cleaned and their comparatively longer shelf life. “Hard surfaces also don’t sag and stretch as carpets do,” Sultan said.
One of the biggest concerns regarding hard flooring in meeting rooms is the loss of sound dampening that comes with carpet flooring. Sultan suggests using wall and ceiling treatments to dampen sound rather than attempting to place anything on the floor itself. Hotels will be forced to design around the flooring to reduce noise levels if they want the hard look.
“Wood flooring just doesn’t have the sound absorption,” said Ron Treister, president/owner of Communicators International. “But it has the look people want and it’s easy to clean.”