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Choosing flooring for hospitals and surgeries

688103_77582599When choosing flooring for medical buildings such as doctors’ surgeries and hospitals it is vital to make sure that the choice of flooring is easy to clean on a frequent basis and that it is hygienic.

With that in mind, there are two key choices for hospitals and surgeries: vinyl sheet and safety flooring.

Vinyl flooring is ideal for doctors’ surgeries and hospitals because it is extremely easy to keep clean and maintain. The flooring of doctors’ surgeries and hospitals has to put up with a lot – a large number of people go in and out of doctors’ surgeries to see the doctor, nurse or pick up prescriptions. Stand in a hospital corridor or ward for a short period of time and you will soon realise just how many people are walking up and down. This includes nurses and doctors going from patient to patient, patients moving around, and visitors coming and going to see their relatives. On a rainy day it doesn’t take long before the floor is wet or is covered in moody footprints.

People in doctors’ surgeries and hospitals also handle large amounts of liquids, such as medicines, as well as food and drink in hospitals, so it is not uncommon for there to be spillages. This all poses a threat to people – patients, staff and visitors alike who could slip over, and patients in particular who might be at risk of infection and vulnerable to germs and bacteria. All of these problems on vinyl flooring can be dealt with quickly and easily by using a mop and keeping floors safe and hygienic.

Vinyl flooring is particularly ideal for hospitals and doctors’ surgeries because it doesn’t have any gaps in it – it is just a solid sheet. That means, unlike tile floors which have grouting, there is no space where bacteria can get into and avoid being cleaned, making vinyl flooring a more hygienic option than other types of flooring.

You may also be surprised to learn that vinyl flooring is extremely hard wearing. Many vinyl floors come with a commercial rating, which makes them ideal for hospitals and doctors’ surgeries, allowing the floor to withstand heavy foot traffic.

It isn’t just heavy foot traffic that is an issue in these types of buildings though – there are likely to be large numbers of people with wheelchairs, walking frames and walking sticks, all of which have the potential to damage the floor also. In hospitals there are also likely to be large numbers of stretchers and beds being wheeled around the hospital throughout the day and night. Vinyl flooring is ideal for withstanding all of this activity.

Safety flooring is also ideal for these types of environments. It is very similar to vinyl flooring, being hardwearing and hygienic, very easy to maintain and keep clean, but it is also slip resistant, having an R10 rating. It means that you can regularly mop down the floor to keep it clean and hygienic without having to worry about people slipping, tripping or falling over and injuring themselves.

Finally, you don’t have to use vinyl or safety flooring throughout a hospital or doctors’ surgery. There may be areas where you don’t need it, and may instead prefer to give a feel of warmth and comfort, such as in a hospital chapel, a reception or waiting area, or in consulting rather than treatment areas.

For more information about commercial flooring, click here to read our online introduction to commercial flooring.

Commercial flooring and health & safety

clip_image002The Health and Safety Executive devotes a whole section of their website to slips and trips in the workplace and it is hardly surprising. Slips and trips are the most common cause of injury at work, accounting for almost 40 per cent of all reported major injuries as well as leading to other types of serious accidents, such as falls from heights.

There are a number of factors which can cause slips, all of which employers need to think very carefully about. These are:

  • Footwear
  • Environment
  • Contamination
  • People
  • Cleaning
  • Flooring

Trips are mainly caused by obstructions in walkways but can also be caused by uneven floors. Employers need to be aware of what the law says regarding preventing slips and trips in the workplace. There are three key pieces of Health & Safety legislation in this area:

The HSW Act requires employers to ensure the health and safety of all employees and anyone who may be affected by their work (such as customers, visitors or other members of the public), as far as is reasonably practicable. This includes taking steps to control slip and trip risks, and making sure that they and others are not put in danger.

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations state that employers must carry out risk assessments, including assessing the risk of slips and trips, and taking action where necessary.

The Workplace Regulations require floors to be suitable, in good condition and free from obstructions, and people should be able to move about safely. Section 12 specifically covers the conditions of floors and traffic routes in the workplace and states that:

“Every floor in a workplace and the surface of every traffic route in a workplace shall be of a construction such that the floor or surface of the traffic route is suitable for the purpose for which it is used.”

It goes on to say that:

“The floor, or surface of the traffic route, shall have no hole or slope, or be uneven or slippery so as, in each case, to expose any person to a risk to his health or safety.”

In short, these regulations mean that the floor in a workplace must be suitable for the type of work activity taking place on it, and that where a floor is likely to be subject to frequent contamination, people should still be able to walk on it without the risk of slipping.

Choosing which type of flooring is best for your business is therefore vital to ensure that you are fulfilling your health and safety obligations to your employees and to members of the public. Different types of commercial flooring will be appropriate for different industries, so it is important to discuss your needs with your flooring company to make sure you stay safe.

For more information about choosing appropriate commercial flooring, please click here to read our online guide.

Lincolnshire Flooring launches new commercial flooring section of website

clip_image002Lincolnshire Flooring is delighted to have launched a new commercial and contract flooring section on our website. From now on, when you visit www.lincolnshireflooring.co.uk you will first see a screen offering you two options – flooring for your home, or commercial and contract flooring.

Whilst the section of the website is new however, the service is not. Lincolnshire Flooring has been installing commercial floor coverings in Lincolnshire and the surrounding areas for over 50 years, but until recently the website has only reflected the services we offer to the domestic market. In fact, Lincolnshire Flooring offered commercial and contract flooring long before it offered flooring to the domestic sector.

The company was founded by the father of current Managing Director Graham Jefferson. Tony Jefferson used to work at Ruston-Bucyrus, where he was approached by a company called National Flooring who asked him if they would like to run the Lincoln branch, which he agreed to in 1954. Over the next decade he opened branches for them in Sheffield, York, Liverpool and Manchester, and they were doing jobs like laying flooring in Blackpool Ballroom Tower, Hammersmith Palais and Glasgow Tax Office. But by 1966, National Flooring was in financial trouble, the receiver was called in, and Tony bought the Lincoln branch off of the receiver. So Lincolnshire Flooring was formed in 1966 and traded accordingly from there. It was only when current Managing Director, Graham Jefferson, joined the company in the 1970s with a background in retail did Lincolnshire Flooring actually start selling to domestic homeowners.

Lincolnshire Flooring carries out work locally, but also works for national companies further afield, including in London. We have carried out work for businesses such as Lloyds, Barclays, Morrisons, ASDA and Pret A Manger, as well as local health authorities, hospitals, doctors’ surgeries, councils, schools, colleges, universities, prisons, care homes, health clubs, gyms, camps, pubs, restaurants, shops and builders.

The key products that Lincolnshire Flooring provides in terms of commercial flooring are commercial carpets, vinyl flooring, safety flooring and carpet tiling. Based in Lincoln, we are Lincolnshire’s largest commercial flooring contractor, carrying out contracts of values of up to £200,000. For more information about our commercial and contract flooring services, please visit the new section of our website: http://www.lincolnshireflooring.co.uk/commercial/

An overview of vinyl flooring

Image 3What is vinyl flooring?
Vinyl flooring, or cushion floor as it is also known, is among the least expensive forms of flooring available. It is made from PVC material which is tough, durable and well suited to wet-areas like the bathroom and kitchen. Vinyl tends to be available as sheet, tile or plank flooring.

Why should you choose it?
When it comes to choosing new flooring for your home it can be a struggle to find something that suits all of your needs. You might find the perfect style, but discover it’s out of your price range, or you might find a floor that’s sturdy but isn’t up to much visually speaking.

Vinyl flooring can be a great solution to this problem as it is one of the most versatile types of flooring available today and not only that, but it is also substantially cheaper than many other types of flooring.

Vinyl flooring can be installed easily over subfloors. It’s suitable for any room and in particular it works well in kitchens and bathrooms. Vinyl isn’t damaged by water, mud or dirt and will often come with an R10 rating which means it is slip resistant – worth bearing in mind if you are planning on installing a new bathroom floor.

When it comes to maintaining a vinyl floor you’ll be happy to know that they don’t require much upkeep. Sweeping and an occasional damp mop across its surface can help vinyl flooring keep its shine for a very long time – in fact most come with a 15 year warrantee.

To find out more about vinyl and other types of flooring, please read our article Flooring: A Product Guide or visit our show room on Outer Circle Road in Lincoln.

LVT flooring: a luxurious choice

Image 4What is LVT flooring?
LVT (which stands for Luxury Vinyl Tiles)  is a designer floor which makes an instant impact on your home for yourself and your family, friends and visitors. You can choose your own design for LVT so you can make it completely your own by customizing it with motifs or borders and you can even change the direction of the strips.

The fitting of an LVT floor can be quite complex, requiring quite a lot of subfloor preparation, which sometimes makes it a more expensive choice than other types of flooring, but the result is a hardwearing, luxury floor with a tough surface that you can expect to last a very long time.

Why should you choose it?
LVT floors look very impressive and are often chosen by high street stores due to the options for customisation and the fact that they last so well. Its durability and hard wearing nature means that it can resist most damage and wear and tear.

When it comes to maintaining LVT you’ll be happy to know that this kind of flooring is very easy to take care of. All that’s needed is a broom or a mop - however, you should be wary of using bleach, washing up liquid or other household cleaners.

You have plenty of options when it comes to choosing which room to put LVT in – it’s very versatile and it can come in a variety of styles including wood and stone. LVT works well as flooring for corridors, dining rooms, living rooms, studies and even bedrooms if you are looking for an alternative to carpet. But it’s also ideal for areas like the kitchen and bathroom where spillage might occur, as it’s waterproof and can be easily cleaned.

To find out more about LVT flooring as well as other types of flooring, you can read our article, here: http://www.lincolnshireflooring.co.uk/articles/guide-to-different-types-of-flooring.html

Why choose laminate flooring?

Image 2

Laminate flooring: an overview
When laminate flooring was first introduced it was initially very popular due to its hard wearing nature. However in order to increase profits, some manufacturers began to make it from poorer quality materials to make it fit a price point which caused it to fall from favour. So what’s changed?

Well these days laminate flooring has undergone a transformation that could have it described as an almost entirely different product. It looks far more realistic, it’s hard wearing, compatible with under floor heating and, vitally, it’s easy to maintain.

Why should you choose it?
One of the big perks with laminate flooring and the reason that it is so popular is that it is long lasting. Laminate flooring is durable, meaning it doesn’t scratch or dent easily, which is great for areas of your home that receive a lot of wear. Where other types of flooring can expand with moisture, laminate flooring is installed with a moisture barrier which assists with resisting residual moisture. A good laminate floor will also come with a 15 to 20 year warrantee.

Laminate flooring looks like the real deal too. In fact it’s unlikely that anyone will notice the difference when they visit your home. It also has a great reputation for low maintenance and will require very little of your time to keep clean – just give it a quick sweep or the once over with a slightly damp mop.

When deciding which room you want laminate to go in you have quite a few options. Kitchens are the most popular room to have laminate flooring, and lounges, dining rooms, hallways and conservatories don’t prove a problem either. Laminate flooring is compatible with underfloor heating too, so rooms which require more heat like the bedroom or rooms which are naturally colder can be kept warm under foot. When it comes to deciding which room to install laminate flooring, the only thing to remember is to take steps to prevent water damage which can cause problems with the flooring - so it’s not usually recommended to have it installed in a bathroom or wet room.

To find out more about laminate flooring as well as other types of flooring, you can read our article here: http://www.lincolnshireflooring.co.uk/articles/guide-to-different-types-of-flooring.html

Getting to grips with wooden flooring: a jargon guide

Image 1Wood flooring: an overview
Natural, warming and organic are all words that spring to mind when thinking of wooden flooring. It’s a popular choice for homeowners due to its unique style, its organic nature and the fact that it fits in with almost any decor. If you’ve settled for wooden flooring then here are some key terms that can help you to understand more about what you’re buying.

Adhesive is the glue used to keep floor boards together. Some adhesives are only applied to the tongue and groove i.e. in the case of floating floors. Others are applied to the subfloor creating a direct stick.

Bevelled edges are when a floor boards edges are sloped downwards to give them a more natural look.

Click-lock system planks - these types of planks click and lock together and are a quick and easy method of fitting a floor.

Damp proof membrane is a barrier that protects against moisture from the ground which could potentially harm subfloor and floor boards.

Engineered wood flooring is flooring that is made of multiple layers of wood bonded together (e.g. Plywood) which is finished with a top layer of a particular species.

Expansion gaps allow for expansion of wooden floors in humid areas as naturally occurs. Wedges and spacers can be used to create expansion gaps.

Hardwood flooring is dense, hard, strong and heavy flooring and is made from deciduous trees. Typically popular at the moment are oak, ash, cherry, beech and walnut.

LATEX is installed under flooring to create a smooth & level surface.

Scotia or Quadrant is the beading used at the perimeter of the flooring to cover the expansion gap.

Subfloor is the foundation for a floor in a building i.e. concrete.

Underlay creates extra thermal resistance and exists between the subfloor and the wooden floor.

To find out more about wood flooring as well as other types of flooring, you can read our article, here.

Which type of flooring is best for high traffic rooms?

laminate 1We have already considered what type of flooring is best for upstairs rooms such as the bedrooms, landing and stairs, and have also considered the best type of flooring for rooms where the floor is likely to get wet, such as the kitchen or the bathroom. This post will now consider the remaining “high traffic” rooms, which are rooms which have floors that are walked on quite frequently. These are the lounge, dining room, hallway and conservatory.

The good news when it comes to choosing flooring for these rooms is that there is really very little that can’t go in any of them, so a large part of the decision is going to come down to personal taste, and the look and feel that you are trying to achieve for your room or for your house as a whole. The following are your five key options:

Carpet
Carpet is the option for you if you want to walk or sit around in your lounge, dining room, conservatory or hallways in bare feet, because it is soft, warm and comfortable. It provides extra insulation to a room, and is ideal if you have children that want to crawl, sit or lie on the floor. It also provides them with a soft landing if they fall over. However, it is worth bearing in mind that because these are high traffic areas, you should choose a good quality carpet. There are a huge range of colours and designs available that can really make a huge difference to a room – just because it is carpet, doesn’t mean it has to be beige! Be creative, and you will have a floor that can make a fantastic impact.

Wood
These rooms are the ones which will be seen most by your guests and visitors, so you want to make a great impression with them. A wood floor will do just that. The key point about a wood floor is that it is unique – each piece of wood is completely different as it is a natural product. This gives it a rustic charm and beauty, but it also means that you don’t have any control over how it looks. Whilst a wooden floor is long lasting, it will scratch and is high maintenance. To many people, this only adds to its character, but others don’t want a floor in a high traffic area that scratches and needs lots of maintenance, so again it really is a matter of personal taste.

LVTs
If you really want to make a fantastic impression on guests in your most visited rooms and you don’t want wood, then LVTs are your best option. LVTs (Luxury Vinyl Tiles) are designer floors and look incredible –the design options are practically endless, with each floor being custom made and therefore unique. You can add borders, motifs, your own designs, change directions – the list goes on and on! They are extremely hard wearing, and if maintained properly still look like new even after 25 or 30 years! They are also easy to keep clean, needing only a mop, and so are perfect for high traffic rooms.

Laminate
Easy to keep clean, easy to maintain, and more or less scratch proof – three reasons why laminate is perfect for high traffic areas. However, don’t be tempted by a cheap, poor quality laminate floor. A good quality laminate floor should come with a 20 year warrantee, so you know it will last.

Vinyl
Vinyl is another great option for high traffic areas because it is easy to maintain and keep clean – all you need is a mop. It is very hard wearing and especially robust, often coming with a 15 year guarantee, and has come a long way in terms of appearance and quality from your grandmother’s lino!

For more advice on what type of flooring would suit your tastes and needs in each room of the house, please take a look at our online room by room flooring guide, give us a call on 01522 524374, or pop in to our company showroom in Lincoln for a chat with our friendly and experienced sales staff.

Choosing flooring for the upstairs of the house

MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA         When it comes to choosing what type of flooring you want for the upstairs of the house, you can separate the rooms into two categories: wet rooms (such as bathrooms) and then the rest. This article looks at the rest: bedrooms, the landing, stairs, and any other rooms you may have upstairs. To read about what type of flooring to include in wet areas, please click here.

Carpet – the popular choice
It is quite normal for people to put the same type of flooring throughout the upstairs of the house, usually carpet. But why is carpet such a popular choice for the upstairs rooms of the house? Because more often than not you will be walking around barefoot upstairs, whether that is last thing at night when going to the bathroom to brush your teeth, first thing in the morning when heading to the shower, or walking to your child’s room in the middle of the night when they’ve had a bad dream. You’ll be barefoot usually, so you want something that is soft, warm, luxurious and comfortable.

One of the other advantages of carpet is that it is available in a wide range of colours and patterns, so you don’t have to have the same carpet throughout– you can have a blue carpet in the master bedroom to match the decor there, a green carpet in the spare bedroom to match the decor there, and a beige carpet on the landing and the stairs if you so choose.

Carpet is also available to suit a wide range of budgets. If you are trying to save money, it makes sense to put a better quality carpet in the master bedroom and on the stairs and landing, as you are going to be spending more time walking on the carpet there. You should put a cheaper carpet in the spare bedroom, as it will probably only get walked on about once a week and so will last longer.

Other options

Although carpet is by far the most popular choice for the upstairs rooms of the house, it isn’t your only option. You might not want carpet upstairs because you or your family are asthmatic, or because carpet would not match the character of your house.

All of the other four key types of flooring – laminate, wood, vinyl or luxury vinyl tiles (LVTs) are good options for the upstairs of your house, however they will probably feel quite cold on bare feet, especially in the winter, so you might want to consider underfloor heating.

If you do want to go down this route, your options are an engineered wood floor, a laminate floor, or an LVT floor. LVT floors in particular look fantastic in bedrooms, and each floor is unique, meaning you can design a floor to match the character and feel of your bedroom. An LVT floor is limited only by your imagination!

For more advice on what type of flooring is best for which room of the house, please take a look at our room by room flooring guide, give us a call on 01522 524374, or pop in to our company showroom where our experienced sales staff will be happy to guide and advise you further.

Choosing flooring for wet areas

Bathroom imageOne question that we are frequently asked is what type of flooring is suitable for certain rooms in the house. Quite often this is regarding rooms in the house that are likely to get wet. The key rooms that fall into this category are the bathroom and the kitchen.

Out of the five main types of flooring – carpet, wood, vinyl, laminate and Luxury Vinyl Tiles (LVTs), wood is the most unsuitable choice for a wet area. We would advise against putting it in a kitchen, and would categorically refuse to put it in a bathroom. Why? Because a wood floor will soak up water like a sponge, drawing moisture from the air when it is damp and expanding, releasing moisture and shrinking when the air is dry.

You can use carpets in both kitchens and bathrooms, although very few people put carpets in their kitchens these days. This is largely due to cleanliness and hygiene issues – carpet gets wet, dirty and greasy from cooking. People do still like to have carpets in the bathroom for the same reason that they have carpets in the bedroom and the rest of the upstairs area of the house – because it is soft, warm and comfortable underfoot.

The downside of course is that it absorbs water and you get a damp carpet, although if you house has central heating then this is not as much of a problem as it will dry out. Still, if you want carpet in your bathroom, you might want to consider a hard area around your shower or bath so that you don’t step out on to your carpet with bare feet, and you also might want to consider manmade fibres.

Laminate isn’t a great option for wet areas either, although it can be used in kitchens and frequently is. It is low maintenance and looks fantastic, but doesn’t perform well if it gets wet. A washing machine leak or a back door that’s frequently left open can ruin it, so you need to take steps to make sure it doesn’t get wet if using it in a kitchen.

The two best options for wet areas are LVTs and vinyl. Vinyl doesn’t mind water, making it ideal for areas that get wet. It is low maintenance, looks great, and good quality vinyl is hardwearing and (most importantly for wet areas) slip resistant. Luxury Vinyl Tiles (LVTs) look incredible and have a fantastic impact. They allow you to be unique and creative with your flooring, and are quite low maintenance. Also, both vinyl and LVT floors allow for underfloor heating, so you can walk around barefoot in your bathroom or kitchen if you want to, without getting cold feet!

For more advice on what type of flooring is best for which room of the house, please take a look at our room by room flooring guide which covers all rooms of the house, give us a call on 01522 524374, or pop in to our company showroom where our experienced sales staff will be happy to guide and advise you further.

The 7 Questions to ask before buying Carpet and Flooring

carpet page image 2Before you go to look at buying carpet or flooring for your home, there are a few key questions that you need to ask yourself. These include:

· How often are you going to walk on the floor?

· Who is going to be walking on it?

· How many people are in the house?

· Have you got pets, particularly large ones such as dogs?

· Have you got young children?

· Do you and your visitors take your shoes off at the front door or leave them on?

· Is your floor likely to get muddy?

However, it is important not to let the answers to these questions limit your thinking! You just need to be aware of the issues so that you can think about the solutions. There are ways around the issues!

So, you can still have three kids, four dogs and a carpet in your lounge, as some carpet fibres are manufactured to shrug off staining. Or you can choose a mottled blend - dark coloured carpets show bits, light coloured carpets show soiling, so if you choose a darker coloured carpet to hide the soiling, and then hide the bits with a two tone effect you can get away with it. The bits will still be there – you just won’t see them.

Also, don’t fall into the trap of thinking that because you have three kids and four dogs that you should go for a cheap carpet because you don’t want them to ruin an expensive carpet. If you put a cheap carpet into a room that has kids and animals running it through all the time, chances are that the fitters will have to come back next year to replace it as it will be worn out, so this isn’t necessarily the cost effective option. Be aware of the issues so you can discuss them with sales staff. 

For more information about choosing carpet and flooring for your home, click here to read our room by room guide to which type of flooring is best for each room of the home.