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Where to start? Identify your floor surface.

There are important differences in finishes, just as there are in floors. If you can’t tell whether your floor is vinyl or linoleum you can test for floor type by checking the type of backing it has. Linoleum has a mesh backing and the color and pattern go throughout the tile, whereas vinyl is just a pattern printed on the top of the material. Additional flooring types and distinguishing characteristics are listed below.

Concrete Floors are a cost-effective flooring option in any environment – from industrial warehouses to high-end office buildings. The use of an existing concrete slab promotes savings and sustainable design, while the durability of concrete flooring is only matched by its longevity. Concrete is versatile and easy-to-maintain, plus it can be painted, stained or polished in any number of ways that will give it a unique finish.

Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT) is a durable and moisture resistant flooring material that can be an attractive alternative to wood, tile or stone. It is designed for seamless installation and can replicate the real hardwood or stone textures, but is scratch, stain, dent and scuff resistant for maximum resilience. Certain products that are low VOC can satisfy green building standards and contribute to LEED® points. LVT is versatile enough to be used in almost any type of facility.

Vinyl Composition Tile (VCT) is an affordable easy-to-install vinyl tile that is an alternative to natural materials, and is often used in educational, retail, food service, industrial and government facilities.

Terrazzo flooring consists of a thin resin matrix veneer adhered directly on to the concrete slab or prepared subfloor. The resin veneer is a mix of epoxy and coarse marble aggregate, and is lightweight, flexible, resilient and chemical resistant. Terrazzo is often used in large open spaces that have a lot of foot traffic such as airports, shopping malls and government buildings.

Linoleum is often confused with vinyl flooring, however linoleum is made with natural, renewable materials. It is one of the most sustainable flooring material choices, as well as being antibacterial and biodegradable! Linoleum is fire resistant and water resistant, but not waterproof. With regular maintenance, linoleum has twice the lifespan of vinyl (or up to 20-40 years) and will remain colorfast. It is perfect for foodservice, education, government and industrial buildings.

Marmoleum is a name brand of linoleum produced by Forbo.

Ceramic Floors are made of hard glazed tiles that are most notable for their durability. Ceramic is low maintenance, cost-effective and easy to clean and sterilize. The tiles create a non-resilient surface that is best used in common areas that have a good amount of foot traffic such as restrooms or lobbies.

Natural Stone flooring includes hard stones such as granite, marble and slate, and is the most durable of all flooring types. It is a non-resilient surface that is best used as a design statement in indoor and outdoor common areas.

Recycled Rubber is a softer flooring material that can help relieve fatigue and stress related to standing for long periods of time. It is non-toxic, water resistant, durable, low maintenance and is made of recycled materials which can potentially contribute to LEED® points. Although slightly more expensive than some other flooring options, it proves to be an excellent option for playgrounds, physical fitness, foodservice and industrial/manufacturing facilities.

Safety, Embossed and Smooth Rubber is similar to Recycled Rubber however it can be synthetic or natural and is generally used in areas where a non-skid, resilient surface is necessary. 

Wood Floors are made of different types of wood and can be solid or engineered (composite layers with a top veneer).

 Your WAXIE Sanitary Maintenance Consultant can provide additional information about the techniques discussed here and make product and equipment recommendations for your specific requirements.