Picking the right LVT floor for the right place

This is part three in a series on hotel flooring design. Click here for part two: Luxury vinyl tile flooring selection tips.

"There are a few key factors we look at when we help our client make the ‘what to put where’ decision,” Christy Schofield, director of commercial hard surface at Durkan, said about matching the right kind of luxury vinyl tile to the right kind of hotel space. “In guestrooms, acoustics is the No. 1 concern, so we tend to go toward a floating option, which addresses noise with the product itself or an underlayment system. I also see lower-cost glue-down LVT go into guestrooms with an underlayment, especially if the hotel switches design every six to eight years.”

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LVT made for heavy commercial use is appropriate for corridors, common areas, and especially fitness centers, Schofield continued. “Rubber is one of my favorite options for back-of-house. However, with the growth of these products in hospitality, it’s the combination of carpet and hard surface that remains beautiful and functional.”

Christine Neufeld, director of marketing with LSI Floors, recommends vinyl products for both high-traffic areas and gently used spaces. “High-performance vinyl is applicable for all areas of a hotel from lobbies and guestrooms to back of house,” she said. “This versatility makes it highly desirable from a specification perspective as well as a maintenance and installation point of view.” 

While agreeing that durability, attractiveness and ease-of-cleaning are all important factors to consider, Neufeld believes that their order of importance should be determined by the area into which they are to be installed. “In addition, the slip-resistance of the product must be evaluated,” she added. “Slips and falls are the No. 1 causes of injuries in public spaces and, in the case of hotels, wet bathroom floors.” Some LVT products have a slip coefficient that actually improves under wet conditions, she noted—something a designer should consider when selecting flooring for a bathroom or a pool area. “Public safety should always be a consideration.” 

Murry Cathlina, executive VP for design and construction services for La Quinta, said that appearance will always be the first priority when selecting a design element. “The product has to be suitable for use with our decor scheme,” he said. Price points and warranties are also a consideration, he noted, as is overall durability. “And in the case of LVT, the thickness of wearable surface is a consideration,” he said. “Different products have different thickness of the top layer of wearable surface.” Ease of maintenance is something that is “inherent” to almost all LVT products, he noted, so that factor is frequently less of an issue. “But as we compare LVT to ceramic tile, LVT is much easier to keep clean because there are no grout joints.” 

Schofield agrees that attractiveness will always be the top reason for choosing one product over another. “All of these products are very easy to maintain, clean, and even replace a portion quickly,” she said. “Find one that checks all of the boxes for your property. Find one that is provided by a company that will be around to see the end of the warranty. Find one who will provide model rooms. And above all, find one that will help educate and partner with you from start to finish.”

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