Why go with polished concrete instead of carpet?

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By James Berndt, Custodial Services

Four of our newest buildings on campus have polished concrete flooring. We had architects and designers recommend concrete flooring for our new buildings for the following reasons-
*Cleaning & maintenance

I agree with their recommendations. When it comes to interior designers, I am not always on board. When we have 15 different types of lighting fixtures and some wild color features, it is hard to agree sometimes.

What about Building 9?

The existing carpet in Building 9 needed to be replaced. It was delaminating and causing trip hazards. It was also stained and looking very worn. Media and IT departments work out of this building and they regularly move work carts that further delaminate carpet. Staining is a constant problem with coffee spills (spills need to be cleaned up immediately, or they set into the fiber), and other accidents. We have also had pet accidents on this carpet. With almost a million square feet of carpet, trying to get to all of the carpet cleaned on a very regular basis is almost impossible. You start in one building and by the time you get back around to the same building, it takes months. If we did replace the carpet this summer, we would continue to have all of the above issues and would need to complete another install in 10 to 15 years.    

Polished concrete is one of the hardest types of flooring; it’s extremely durable. Unlike other types of flooring, you won’t have to worry about delamination, tripping hazards, seams coming apart, ripped carpeting or coffee/other stains that set into carpet on a very regular basis. Hands down, polished concrete is easier to maintain and it looks better in the long term.

We have not even touched on the sustainability issue of polished concrete vs carpet. Polished concrete wins hands down. We are not having to put thousands and thousands of square feet of carpet into our land fills every 10 to 15 years. We are going to be able to maintain the polished concrete with an extremely small environmental footprint for the rest of the building’s life.

Final Verdict: Concrete is one of the strongest flooring materials. Concrete flooring can last 100-plus years with regular use. It is easy to maintain and provides a very small sustainable footprint.

Concrete is the clear winner!