The right floors for corridors

Hotel hallways and corridors may not seem like the most important spaces to consider when picking out floors, but they’re the spaces in hotels that see the most traffic—and can make guests subtly aware of the change from one space to another.

“More now than ever, hotels are thinking about the style of the interior as a whole instead of individual guestrooms vs. hallways, lobbies, restaurants and lounges,” said Ben Anicet, CEO North America at Spanish rug company nanimarquina. “The hallway should act as a natural extension of the brand. You can showcase the hotel’s personality through flooring by livening it up with patterns or softening it with neutrals, all while still providing durability.” 

Corridors are a natural extension of the guestroom—and of the whole hotel, for that matter, Anicet said. The hallway floors, then, need to create a “seamless transition” from the lobby to the guestroom, providing a “cohesive style and ambiance.” Lydia Day, marketing executive at British carpet manufacturer Brintons Americas, agreed. “We see smaller and simplified design repeats where texture plays a huge role,” she said, noting that carpeting for hallways can be “wasteful” if not designed correctly. “Varied loom widths ... can be a great cost-savings tool for owners,” she said. 

“The past few years there has been a definite surge to move away from the traditional look of having separate patterns for the door drop and runner and instead creating a seamless run of a large repeating pattern,” said Lisa Herreth, creative director for Encore Hospitality Carpet. This move, she added, makes the space feel welcoming. “Designers are often leaning toward an asymmetrical design to designate the space.” 

Best Materials

Selecting what materials and patterns are right for what kind of corridor and hallway often comes down to the brand standards, said Herreth. “Once the standard is established, the designer has several options of both soft and hard-surface materials to choose from to create the desired aesthetic. If the hotel is not part of a brand, then the hotelier can choose from various tufted, woven and dye-injection products, which are all suitable in terms of wear ability as long as the appropriate ounce weight is specified.”

Due to concerns with acoustics and safety, broadloom carpets are most popular for hallway carpeting, said Paul Cleary, president of hospitality for American flooring company Tarkett North America. The wool in an Axminster carpet can resist cigarette burns, he explained. “Some upscale hotels do use Axminister [carpets], especially in casinos where smoking is still permissible,” he said. “For the majority of corridors, tufted solution-dyed nylon broadloom is the way to go.”

Day also vouched for “wool-rich Axminster” as a “natural insulator,” and said the textile’s natural resistance to dirt and water makes it easy to maintain. In addition, it is naturally flame resistant and “highly energy efficient” due to its prevention of heat loss, it naturally absorbs air contaminants and can be cultivated and manufactured with little environmental impact.

Maintaining Corridor Carpeting

Hotel corridors typically are the floors that get abused the most in terms of soiling, staining and wear, said Cleary. “It’s always important to choose products that suit the planned maintenance schedule and local conditions," he said. "A facility that is next to a beach or walking trails will have different dirt ingress than a downtown business hotel.” 

When selecting the flooring for corridors, hoteliers and designers also need to consider the logistics of maintaining the material. Solution-dyed nylon will come clean and large patterns with the right colors will hide soiling until maintenance is needed, Cleary said. “Vacuuming and spot cleaning need to be part of routine maintenance with scheduled wet cleaning using hot water extraction and very little chemicals. A best practice is to make sure that every entrance has walk-off carpet tiles that scrape dirt from shoes and wheels. Of course, it’s still important to maintain these areas daily.”

Nanimarquina uses nanotechnology treatments for its rugs, and Anicet recommends hotels have this applied when placing an order. Its damp-resistant treatment, for example, keeps liquids from penetrating into the fibers, while antifungal treatment prevents the growth of fungi and molds. Other treatments can prevent fading due to UV rays—useful in corridors with large windows. “The treatments do not produce toxic gases and do not affect the intrinsic properties of the wool, but improve the properties of the rug in regards to common problems like stains and deterioration,” Anicet said.

Day does not recommend machines that use spin bonnets, rotary brushes and rotary extractors when cleaning carpets with pile yarn because the rotary action of the equipment can distort the pile. Carpets with synthetic backing materials and pre-dyed pile yarns, she added, will maintain their colors. “This ensures wet cleaning can be used without causing shrinkage, seam splitting or fading.” 

Herreth said every carpet, rug or tile a hotel orders should have a care and maintenance document that demonstrates what equipment and cleaning agents to use and how often to clean the materials.

Photo credits: Brintons, nanimarquina, Brintons, Encore, Bloomsburg