As Luxury Vinyl Flooring is getting more popular and constructed with heavier wear layers and coatings to be used in commercial markets, we need to be more aware of the correct applications of a particular floor in a commercial setting. End-users, designers, retailers and installers should always be aware of the manufacturer’s recommendations for their products; most of us publish a Commercial Use Designation Guide.
Commercial installations are generally classified into three categories: Light Commercial, Heavy Commercial and Multi-Family or Multi-Use (we will cover Multi-Family and Residential in another Blog Article). Simple definitions of these are:
Light Commercial Areas are areas of use defined as environments with light to moderate foot traffic, light point loads and lack of rolling traffic. Light commercial areas also include those with no heavy chemicals, acids, greases or other such contaminants.
Heavy (or Full) Commercial Areas are areas of use with floors subjected to heavy static
and dynamic loads, caster use, heavy point loads and moderate to heavy traffic. Portable furnishings with casters, rests and wheels that concentrate the weight of the appliance/equipment are very damaging to resilient flooring. This does not necessarily include environments with heavy chemicals, acids, greases (including food and cooking) or other such contaminants.
What determines whether a product is residential or commercial?
LVF manufacturers will use the wear layer thickness and coating of products to determine wear warranty lengths and class of use, just as a carpet manufacturer will use type of strand, pile density and twist to determine carpet warranties. Additionally, LVF is classified by ASTM F1700-13a as any product having a 0.5 mm (20mil) or greater wear layer thickness as a commercial product. Most manufacturers have gone a further step in allowing a light commercial application with wear layers of at least 0.3mm (12mil).
What would my warranty be for a light commercial application?
Wear warranties for light commercial installations with at least a 12mil wear layer are typically the 10-12 year range for luxury vinyl products.
Am I limited to a certain installation method for commercial applications?
Not at all, but keep in mind that while directly adhered products might be the best method, floating and loose lay flooring certainly can be installed in commercial areas. You may encounter some inherent limitations to each of the products, so be sure to read the installation instructions for any limitations or special installation requirements.
This concludes Part One. Thank you to our own Jim Kups, North America Technical Manager, Novalis Innovative Flooring, for addressing this topic for our readers.