We all know what it is like when we really believe in our flooring products and systems and because of this we recommend them or specify them. There is a major justification and sense of achievement when, as a company representative or product owner, we “know” we have the right flooring product for the right substrate that meets all the right criteria.

These criteria may include aesthetics, scratch resistance, stain resistance, fade resistance, colour choices, impact resistance, ease of maintenance, ease of repair, level of subfloor, warranties; whether the floor is industrial, commercial, retail or residential; life expectancy, UV resistance, non-slip properties, echo friendliness, floor heating compliance, budget, time taking for installation and the overall suitability of floor finish. These all play a part, whether mayor or minor, in our final flooring specification.

Once all the criteria have been studied, a fine balance must be maintained to offer the client the best of all worlds. This is a skill, as the choice is needs to be well weighted with the critical criteria
being selected first and foremost.For instance, industrial floors needs to be able to withstand impact, greases, heavy traffic and wear and tear, whereas residential floors must be aesthetically pleasing, comfortable to walk on, easy to clean and the colour choice of vitally important.

The biggest yet, least critical, performance criterion is “budget”. It is a swear word to specifiers who are paid to specify well in terms of the criteria mentioned above. The Afrikaans language sums it up best with “Goedkoop is duurkoop” which literally translated is “Cheap is expensive”. This is true!

Unfortunately, flooring is generally the last item to be installed on a project by which time the old adage often comes up. “We know it’s the right thing to do but we have blown the budget.” It is our job in the flooring industry to nail down these specifications and budgets before the start of the contract and stick by them firmly. Explain to the client that they should cut cost elsewhere as the floor is always the most functional part of the entire decision-making process on the project.

Everything takes place in and on the “floors”. The cost of replacing a failed underspecified floor far outweighs the money saved in not selecting the “correct” flooring in the first place!

Download the PDF as it appeared in Floors Magazine, September 2009