EDUCATION environments need a floor that’s durable and easy to maintain, while being able to respond to the design challenges of schools, colleges and universities that are inspiring the next generation of students.
The role of the modern school, college or university is to provide students with an environment that supports their learning and welfare but the approach to design can be markedly different between each as the interior responds to the different needs of the ages.
However, there’s an ever-present and consistent need for floors which are durable and easy to maintain. Whether school classroom flooring, college laboratory or lecture theatre, a floor that’s fit-for-purpose will ultimately prove cost-effective over its lifetime.
Supporting students through floor design
Every sector of education has the same intent for the design of the interior: supporting the learning and welfare of students. That said, exactly what this means for each establishment very much depends on the profile of pupils.
As an example, primary schools will often employ bright and recognisable colours on the floor as a tool for waymarking or zoning. Secondary schools, colleges and universities will use the selection of materials or more sophisticated palettes to the same effect.
Says IVC: ‘Heterogeneous vinyl flooring such as our Concept 70 range is adept at responding to this challenge, with sheets of different colours or material effects cut to geometric or organic shapes. Carpet tiles can also embrace this approach with changing colours marking transitions and identifying way finding.’
The impact of colour on learning
The psychological impact of colour should also be recognised as playing a role in the selection of the floor. For example, flooring for school classrooms where concentration or productivity are key goals may look to the positive influence of blue or calming influence of green, while areas designed for creativity or stimulation will benefit from energising colours such as yellow.
A comfortable way to learn
Any education environment must consider the comfort of the students to achieve an ideal environment for learning. Comfort manifests itself in two primary ways – visual perception and physical comfort. Good design will address the former, but physical comfort is down to the correct specification of materials.
Carpet tiles are natural acoustic insulators and comfortable underfoot, so are a sensible decision in quiet study areas, libraries, offices, and counselling rooms. Carpet tiles ‘feel’ comfortable, and it’s this feeling that helps soothe and calm students.
‘With collections such as Art Intervention and the Creative Spark palette of 32 colours,’ says IVC, ‘we can deliver carpet tiles that support comfort while also responding to the design and value challenges of education establishments.
‘However, while suitable for classrooms, quiet study areas and offices, carpet tiles are less practical solution in many areas of a school, college or university building. So, acoustic heterogeneous vinyl floors such as Optimise 70, which offers 19dB of impact noise reduction, help corridors and circulation areas remain quieter and more comfortable for pupils in transit as well as those learning in adjacent environments.’
Concern over the chances of slips and accidents can lead many education establishments to turn towards safety flooring. IVC continues: ‘Our Isafe 70 advanced safety flooring provides TRRL 36+ functionality in a range of attractive designs. Isafe 70’s enhanced particles can limit the risk of falling in various settings from a chemistry classroom where fluids may get spilled, to a canteen or coffee corner. Equipped with our Hypergrip surface finish that resists scuffs and stains, Isafe 70 is capable of being cleaned effectively without specialist treatment.’
Durability and maintenance driving value
The notion of value is complex, but fundamentally, other than the initial cost of purchase, a floor that provides long-term durability and ease of maintenance will deliver a school, college, or university the best value. Avoiding early signs of wear in areas of high-traffic and retaining aesthetic integrity are key ingredients in the floor contributing positively to a building’s value over time.
Many education environments utilise the initial value of carpet tiles made with polypropylene, but this can be false economy. By choosing an affordable solution-dyed nylon carpet tile, such as Creative Spark primary and secondary, says IVC, establishments can benefit from floors that last longer, are easier to clean and that avoid early replacement.
The excellent durability, water-resistance and low maintenance finish of heterogeneous vinyl also means it’s an excellent choice for schools, colleges, and universities across almost all areas, the company concludes.