Selecting the best commercial flooring option for your space can be a daunting task. It needs to be durable enough to withstand high levels of foot traffic, yet stylish enough to fit with the look you’re trying to create. And commercial flooring can come with a hefty price tag—both for installation and regular maintenance—so it’s important to get it right the first time.
Best commercial flooring options by type
To help you make the right choice for your business, we’ve pulled together a list of the best commercial flooring options. We explore the pros and cons of each, as well as the five factors you’ll want to keep in mind when selecting flooring: usage, durability, ease of maintenance, style and cost.
Image from Kardean Flooring
Whether for an industrial space, or a corporate office kitchen, vinyl is a versatile and affordable option that balances durability with cost-effectiveness. Made from synthetic polymer, there are two main types of vinyl: vinyl sheeting, which comes in large, continuous sheets, and vinyl planks or tiles, which are laid to mimic hardwood or tiles.
Pros: vinyl is one of the most hard-wearing flooring options, making it ideal for heavily trafficked spaces, like entranceways, corridors and meeting rooms. It’s tough and water-resistant, making it long-lasting (upwards of 10 years) and low maintenance—it can be mopped and vacuumed without damage. Its waterproof nature means that vinyl is suitable for all rooms, and it’s available in a range of styles and colours. Being significantly more affordable than other flooring solutions, vinyl is a great way to achieve the look of a hardwood floor, at a fraction of the price.
Cons: vinyl can be dented by heavy objects, and once damaged, the whole floor must be replaced. Vinyl also has a tendency to fade towards the end of its lifetime.
Like vinyl, carpet is a versatile and affordable flooring option. Whether you’re looking to create a luxurious private space, or simply need a wear-resistant floor capable of withstanding the demands of an office environment, carpet is worth considering.
Pros: available as either continuous meterage or carpet tiles, carpet is easy to install, and easy to replace, making it a great option for commercial spaces that see a lot of foot traffic, like offices, waiting rooms, day care centres and schools. It’s a softer alternative to other flooring options, making it comfortable underfoot, and it dampens noise.
Cons: unlike tiles and vinyl, carpet isn’t waterproof, making it unsuitable for wet spaces. It’s also slightly higher maintenance than other flooring options, and can show dirt and wear more easily if not cleaned regularly.
If you’re after an alternative to hardwood flooring that won’t break the bank, laminate is a great option. It’s made from two layers—an outer layer of heavy-duty artificial material printed to mimic the texture of timber, and an inner layer of resin or fibreboard that is lightweight, for ease of installation. Combined, these factors make it a lower-cost option, available in a range of styles.
Pros: like vinyl, laminate is hardwearing, and stain-resistant. It’s tough to scratch or dent, making it ideal for high-use areas like foyers and shop-floors. If properly cared for, laminate can last upwards of 10 years. It offers a warmer feel than vinyl and is available in a wider range of styles.
Cons: laminate is less waterproof than tiles or vinyl, so it’s unsuitable for wet-spaces. When cleaning laminate, it’s important not to use an excessive amount of water to prevent seepage.
The ultimate in luxury, hardwood floors add natural beauty and a timeless aesthetic. They are available in a range of timbers, and a wide variety of finishes, leaving plenty of scope to make the design choice that suits your business best.
Pros: while timber floors are harder than carpet, they feel nicer than vinyl and are warmer underfoot than tiles. They’re also durable, making them suitable for high-use spaces. Unlike vinyl, laminate and carpet, which need to be replaced once worn out, hardwood floors can be sanded and re-polished many times over. Hardwood is also easy to clean with a broom or vacuum, and light mop.
Cons: hardwood floors aren’t completely waterproof, and timber’s premium nature makes hardwood flooring one of the more expensive commercial flooring options. Hardwood is also more prone to scratches and scuff marks than vinyl or laminate, meaning it requires more frequent maintenance.
Waterproof, and easy to clean, ceramic tiles have long been a go-to option for commercial premises—especially commercial kitchens and bathrooms.
Pros: tiles are waterproof and temperature-stable making them a durable option, capable of withstanding heavy foot traffic, without requiring high maintenance. Being easy to clean makes them a great option for commercial bathrooms and kitchens where hygiene is a key consideration. They are available in an extensive range of sizes, colours and textures and, given their ease of installation and low maintenance costs, are a relatively inexpensive option in the long run.
Cons: tiling grout can absorb water if not properly sealed, making it difficult to keep clean. Tiles are also significantly harder than other flooring options, increasing the risk of items breaking when dropped. Given they can be slippery, it is important to select a tile with an appropriate texture in high use spaces.
A staple across many industrial buildings, concrete flooring is arguably the most durable commercial flooring option available.
Pros: concrete’s natural strength means it can stand up to the heaviest loads (like regular forklift use, and weighty shelving), and when properly maintained and sealed, it can last a lifetime. Sealed concrete is easy to keep clean, reducing maintenance costs, and contrary to popular opinion, you’re not limited to grey concrete flooring—it’s available in a wide variety of colours and finishes!
Cons: the flipside to concrete’s natural strength is that like tiles, it’s hard underfoot. While this isn’t typically an issue in a commercial setting, items dropped onto concrete are more likely to break, and falls onto concrete can be more dangerous. Like tiles, concrete feels colder underfoot, and will encourage sound to echo. Finally, it’s important to ensure your concrete flooring is installed correctly, as there is a small risk that water can damage concrete if not properly installed.
Best commercial flooring options by room
The most important factor to consider when selecting the best commercial flooring for your business, is how the space will be used. Different rooms have different uses, which place different demands on the flooring. Thinking through these demands at the beginning of the design process is vital to ensure you choose a commercial flooring option that not only looks great, but meets the practical demands of daily use. Below we outline the best commercial flooring options for some of the most common commercial spaces.
Best commercial gym flooring
From heavy weights dropping to the floor, to the stress of regular treadmill use, gym floors take on a lot. They not only need to be durable, but also slip-resistant and shock-absorbing to help keep gym users safe. On top of that, gym flooring should be water-resistant and easy to clean to maintain a hygienic environment. When thinking about gym flooring, you’ll want to keep in mind the different spaces within the gym. For instance, weights rooms and cardio areas will likely need different flooring to the reception area.
Some of the best commercial gym flooring options include:
- Rubber – an increasingly popular option that is easy to install and available in a range of sizes and thicknesses. Its shock-absorbing properties mean it’s a great way to protect the underfloor from gym equipment—particularly around weights—while reducing the impact on gym users’ joints. Rubber is also grippy, which helps to prevent falls. Furthermore, rubber is easy to clean, and naturally moisture resistant, helping to minimise mould growth.
- Carpet – another comfortable, low-maintenance option that is hard-wearing and easy to clean. Like rubber, carpet is suitable for all areas of the gym, as it provides a grippy, comfortable surface for all activities. It is less shock-absorbing than rubber, however it dampens noise just as effectively. However, carpet will absorb water, which can lead to stains and bad smells if not appropriately cleaned.
- Vinyl – a low cost, easy-care option that is waterproof and hard-wearing. However, vinyl provides less grip and cushioning than both carpet and rubber, and can be dented by heavy equipment over time.
Best commercial kitchen flooring
Foot traffic, temperature fluctuations, frequent spills and dropped utensils are all part and parcel of a day in a commercial kitchen. In addition to withstanding these demands, commercial kitchen flooring needs to provide a safe work surface for staff and enable easy cleaning to meet food safety standards.
Some of the best commercial kitchen flooring options include:
- Ceramic tiles – which are hard-wearing, and temperature stable. Waterproof and easy to clean, tiles typically don’t attract dust and allergens. However, they can be slippery, so it’s important to choose an appropriately textured tile. It’s also important to ensure proper installation, to prolong the lifespan of the grout. Tiles have the added benefit of being easily replaceable—if one does crack, there’s no need to replace the entire floor.
- Vinyl, specifically luxury vinyl tile and sheet flooring – which are strong, and resist heat, water and staining. Vinyl is slip-resistant, relatively comfortable underfoot (for long days in the kitchen) and can be treated to minimise bacteria and mould growth. It is the most cost-effective option and the easiest to wash down.
- Natural stone tiles or bricks – a premium flooring product that offer a stylish alternative to ceramic tiles and vinyl in commercial kitchens open to the public. Each of these is significantly more expensive than other flooring options, however, both stone and brick are durable and heat stable. As they are porous, they require sealing before use to prevent water damage.
Best commercial bathroom flooring
Just like commercial kitchen flooring, commercial bathroom flooring needs to be waterproof, easy to keep clean, and able to withstand foot traffic. At the same time, it needs to fit with the bathroom’s overall style.
Some of the best commercial bathroom flooring options include:
- Ceramic tiles – which are waterproof and easy to clean, making regular maintenance a breeze. They are available in a wide range of colours and textures, making it easy to find a tile that fits with the bathroom’s overall style while ensuring patron safety.
- Sealed concrete – which, like tiles, is a waterproof, low-maintenance option available in a variety of finishes. Concrete has the added advantage of being relatively low-cost, particularly if concrete is already part of the building’s subfloor. Although easy to keep clean, concrete does need to be regularly sealed to maintain its water resistance.
- Vinyl – loved for its easy maintenance and wear-resistant nature, vinyl is an inexpensive flooring option that lends itself to commercial bathrooms thanks to its stain and water-resistant nature. Like tiles, vinyl is available in a wide variety of styles, including faux hardwood. However, vinyl’s lifespan is shorter than concrete and tiles and it will gradually fade over time.