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Elevating Educational Environments: The Transformative Influence of Commercial Flooring

Introduction:

In the realm of education, the physical environment crucially shapes the learning experience. Every space within educational facilities, from classrooms to hallways, libraries to gymnasiums, influences student engagement, comfort, and overall well-being. This blog post explores the significant impact of commercial flooring in the education sector, highlighting innovative trends, case studies, and examples that demonstrate its transformative power in creating dynamic and inspiring learning environments.

The Importance of Flooring in Educational Settings:

Today, the finishes chosen for learning environments exceed basic comfort requirements. Studies reveal that elements such as colour, light, texture, and air quality in classrooms significantly impact student learning, potentially boosting it by up to 16% when thoughtfully implemented. Improving the focus and health of those using the space while contributing to sustainability, flooring plays a key role in successful educational spaces.


While the design and layout of educational spaces often receive attention, the role of flooring is sometimes underestimated. However, commercial flooring in schools and universities serves several essential functions beyond aesthetics:

– Providing durability and safety to withstand heavy foot traffic and daily wear and tear.

– Enhancing acoustics to minimise noise levels and create conducive learning environments.

– Supporting cleanliness and hygiene by facilitating easy maintenance and sanitation.

– Contributing to sustainability efforts by choosing eco-friendly materials and practices.

– Innovative Trends and Examples in Educational Flooring.

This emphasises the broader impact of flooring on learning environments, aligning with the subsequent discussion on its importance in educational settings.

Flooring in the education sector

Flexible Learning Spaces:

In the realm of educational design, an emerging trend emphasises the creation of flexible learning environments that can adapt to diverse teaching methods and cater to the varying needs of students. This approach involves utilising flooring solutions like modular carpet tiles, which provide versatility for educators to quickly and creatively reconfigure spaces. This adaptability ensures that the learning environment remains dynamic and responsive to evolving educational requirements. Zoning areas in schools play a crucial role in supporting this flexibility by organizing and designating specific spaces for various purposes. By delineating areas for classrooms, libraries, cafeterias, recreational spaces, and administrative offices, zoning facilitates efficient operations and optimises the learning environment. Moreover, it aids in creating distinct environments tailored to different activities, promoting focus, safety, and productivity among students and staff. Overall, zoning areas in schools contribute to the effective utilisation of space, ensuring that each area serves its intended purpose while accommodating the diverse needs of students and educators.

Examples:

Interface’s modular flooring system, FLOR, enables schools to customise their environments with vibrant colours, patterns, and textures while promoting sustainability through recycled materials and low VOC emissions. This case study demonstrates how Interface’s FLOR system can transform educational spaces, combining aesthetics, customisation, and sustainability. 

Burmatex’s blog discusses how zoning with flooring can effectively guide seating arrangements, direct movement along walkways, and draw attention to specific teaching areas. By utilizing Burmatex’s insights, schools can optimise their learning spaces to promote productivity and engagement among students. For further information, visit Burmatex’s blog post on zoning areas in educational settings: Burmatex Blog: Use of Zoned Areas.

Flooring for Lecture Halls

Biophilic Design Elements:

Schools play a vital role in educating the next generation about environmental importance, especially in an increasingly urbanised world. By incorporating nature into school environments, architects and specifiers can effectively engage young people with the world around them. Not only does biophilic design serve this purpose, but it also offers clear benefits for concentration and productivity in educational settings. The integration of biophilic design principles into educational spaces significantly enhances student concentration, mood, and overall well-being. Utilising flooring options that emulate natural elements, such as wood-look vinyl planks or carpet tiles inspired by organic patterns, educators can cultivate a connection to nature, effectively bringing the outdoors inside. Explore the world of biophilic design flooring with this curated list of renowned manufacturers, each offering innovative flooring solutions that bring the essence of nature into any space: Forbo, Gerflor, Modulyss, Moduleo, Karndean, IVC Commercial and V4.

Example:

An excellent example of biophilic flooring in a UK educational institution is the case study of the University of Salford’s New Adelphi Building. The project aimed to create an inspiring learning environment that promotes well-being. It featured Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT) with wood and stone textures to mimic natural environments, complemented by living walls and indoor gardens, and maximised daylight with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking green spaces. This approach to flooring design not only enhances the aesthetic appeal of the space but also contributes to the psychological comfort and academic focus of students and staff.

Safety and Accessibility:

Ensuring safety and accessibility is paramount in educational facilities, especially for students with disabilities or mobility challenges. Flooring solutions that prioritises slip resistance, cushioning, and ease of navigation contribute to a welcoming and inclusive environment for all.

Many school halls serve multiple purposes, presenting challenges in selecting the most suitable floor covering. While safety vinyl may seem like a safe choice, particularly in areas used for dining, it may not be the best option for activities like PE, where children are active and running. In fact, safety vinyl can potentially pose risks to children, as the small chippings intended to enhance slip resistance may cause more harm if a child falls, damaging their skin. Additionally, these small chippings can make the vinyl harder to clean and maintain over time. Therefore, careful consideration should be given to selecting flooring materials that balance safety, durability, and ease of maintenance for the diverse activities conducted in multi-use areas within educational facilities.

Example:

Sports vinyl often offers a balanced solution that is suitable for a variety of uses. Sports vinyl comes in several thicknesses. Each thickness will be manufactured with a different set of sports in mind. The lower thicknesses with less cushioning are particularly useful for multi-use school halls. The sports vinyl surface offers good slip resistance allowing children to stop abruptly or turn sharply. All bar the 2mm option has extra cushioning within the backing. There are no sharp chippings to cut or shred skin.For more detailed information, you can refer to the case studies provided by Gerflor Sports Flooring, which showcase various installations of sports vinyl flooring in educational settings across the UK.

Sustainable Flooring Practices:

As educational institutions increasingly prioritize sustainability, there’s growing interest in eco-friendly flooring options that minimize environmental impact. From recycled content materials to renewable resources and low-emission products, sustainable flooring solutions align with schools’ commitment to environmental stewardship.

Example:

Tarkett’s ReStart program offers a closed-loop recycling solution for commercial flooring, allowing schools to return old flooring materials for recycling and repurposing into new products, reducing waste and promoting circular economy principles.The vast majority of our partner commercial flooring companies are at the forefront of sustainability, providing a selection of eco-conscious floor coverings. Their active recycling programs further underscore a deep-seated dedication to environmental stewardship and the principles of a circular economy.

Conclusion:

Commercial flooring plays a pivotal role in shaping the learning environment within educational facilities, influencing everything from safety and sustainability to flexibility and aesthetics. By embracing innovative trends and incorporating flooring solutions that prioritize durability, safety, and student well-being, schools and universities can create inspiring spaces that foster creativity, collaboration, and academic success. At Olivers Contracts, we’re committed to partnering with educational institutions to transform their learning environments through innovative flooring solutions. Contact us today to explore how we can help you create dynamic and functional spaces that inspire the next generation of learners.