There is no such thing as a maintenance free floor. Flooring is designed for foot traffic and is expected to carry many years of stress from people, animals, wheeled traffic, furniture, ageing. Carpet needs contant vacuuming and vinyl needs constant polishing.
On this page, we'd like to show the problems with using flooring other than rubber such as timber, lino, vinyl, cork, carpet, and ceramic tiles.
Many vinyl floor tiles in the 1970's had an aspestos backing. A few years ago Melbourne University were renovating one of their buildings but first found their vinyl tiles had this deadly substance. This added a great cost to the renovations. It's very important that if you suspect you have old vinyl tiles (as opposed to rollform vinyl), then you need to get it checked out by a professional.
Some vinyl claims to be environmentally friendly as it's made from recycled PET bottles. But it still ends up as landfill at the end of its life. Many architects and designers are now steering away from vinyl and not even wanting to use them in hospitals. Some chemicals that have previously been used in vinyl are considered to be carcinogenic.
Vinyl usually needs a polish on top and can quickly looked scratched and not have as long a guarantee. Have you noticed the floor polisher at the supermarket? This is because they are there every day! Sure you can buy vinyl for as low as $30m2 but we believe you get what you pay for.
In early July 2012 we visited Treehouse Childcare Centre at Stocklands in Sydney. Dalsouple was installed there in small areas as feature circles in green and pink. After 3 years the rubber is not worn, but the vinyl next to it is very badly scratched and doesn't look like it will last very long.
Vinyl badly scratched next to green (Vert Pomme) Dalsouple rubber. The owners had placed mats over some of the main walk ways as the vinyl was more slippery than the rubber and they didn't want the children to fall.
Close up shot of Dalsouple Vert Pomme, 3 years old and perfect.
This lino has been in a major museum in Melbourne for 5 years. The colours are no longer what they were, the floor is scratched terribly and the museum is going to have to replace it.
Brown lino flooring at a popular high end winery in the Yarra Valley, Victoria. The wines are amazing but the floor is looking very shabby. It looks like a stiletto heel may have ruined this and it's damaged right through.
This lino has been down for 4 years in an office in Melbourne. The colour was bright sunny yellow but you can see the floor has been polished but not cleaned properly. We went to see what this floor was like as the designer had chosen the lino over Dalsouple. Three months after it had been installed the secretary had created huge pock marks everywhere. Now after 4 years the flooring is quite damaged. This is the main entrance to their office as people step out of the lifts. Not a good look! This floor will not last 10 years! Some lino only has a guarantee of 5 years and yet some domestic customers we've recently spoken to have been quoted the same price as Dalsouple rubber (Dalsouple has a 10 year guarantee).
This lino is in a huge area of main city library in Australia and is only about 6 years old. As you can see, the floor is no longer brown, but now has black stripes! The facility manager is talking about replacing it which will be very costly as it's 100m2's.
While in Tasmania at the end of October 2012, we visited a popular bar in the Salamanca area in Hobart. There were 4 different types of flooring, hardwood timber, stone, carpet and cork. The cork looked dirty and worn, the timber had pockmarks of stiletto heels all over it. It was hard to tell how old the cork floor was, but the decor was quite modern. I would have guessed 5 years. It would have been hard to clean plus not be very hygenic.
Google 'cork flooring in a bathroom?' and you will find the answer generally is no. Water will kill the floor and the humidity is not good with it, and so it's not suitable to use in your bathroom.
Cork flooring gives a mottled look and the colours are not solid.
Timber flooring installed in a Telecommunications store in the CBD of Melbourne. Photo taken Jan 2012. This floor has only been down 4 years and already ruined with marks from stiletto heels. it's hard to see the grain of the timber now with all the dark holes pockmarked all over it. How long will the flooring last until it has to be replaced? Where will the flooring end up? Landfill? Recycled? What floor will they use to replace it?
Hardwood timber floor with scratches. If chairs are not protected with rubber stoppers, then even tough hardwood timber can be scratched. This means the floor would have to be sanded and revarnished. If the gouges are too deep then the floor is not going to look good at all. Floorboards are very noisy and many Body Corporates are now requiring quiter floorings in respect to other tenants.
This carpet is outside an architects' office in the CBD of Melbourne. I am not sure if they have had rain damage, but the stains have ruined the carpet. Coffee is the worst thing for carpet. We have a lot of feedback from designers that use it in their own office and it only lasts a few years. See study done by Suzanne Barnes, Rubber Flooring Value and Beauty for the long term.
The carpet in a major iconic office building in Sydney has been down 4 years. But it is now badly stained, looking tired and the owners are talking about replacing it. It is 1000's of m2 so the cost is huge. They should replace the major walk ways with rubber flooring!
Most carpets are problems for allergy sufferers. If carpeting is a must, the option is low-pile carpeting, which is less likely to attract dust, mites and other allergens. Carpet can be a problem if you have animals and is hard to keep free of animal hair.
Dalsouple was specified in Gris Anthracite (charcoal) for a railway station in a suburb in Melbourne. The architect had chosen Dalsouple as it's been used in many railway stations and airports in Europe and the UK. But the builder wanted to save money and chose Ceramic tiles as this photo shows. What you can't see very well in this photo is the poor installation of the tiles, with grout missing in some of the joins. This can cause moisture to get in between the tiles, the tiles to crack under human weight and other pressures. The tiles will not last ore than a few years. Then they will probably end up as landfill and another flooring will need to be found.
We get a lot of calls from domestic customers who do not want to use tiles in their ktichen or bathroom as they hate grout because of the problem with cleaning. Tiles are very cold underfoot and for cities such as Melbourne and Hobart, are not at all nice during winter! We don't recommend rubber tiles in the shower but are perfect in kitchens or bathrooms.
The latest 'green' craze is concrete floors. They are meant to be more energy efficient and retain heat in winter and cool in summer. We believe some polished concrete floors can be just as expensive as rubber. We have concerns that a concrete floor is very hard and not very comfortable to stand. Retired home owners or elderly do not want concrete floors for fear of falling over and breaking a hip. Some concrete floors are not very anti-slip. We had a call from MoVida restaurant in Melbourne, where the staff and patrons were slipping on the polished concrete. Dalsouple rubber flooring in R10 slip rating (Pastille Alpha-10 cent coin pattern) were able to be installed over the top of the concrete.
Our recent visit to MONA showed us how hard concrete is on the legs. After walking around for 6 hours on concrete, we really felt it in our legs. When we entered the Cloaca room with Dalsouple 2.5mm rubber tiles on the floor we could feel the difference. We've had some customers recently insist on getting 3.5mm rubber tiles for their kitchen as they do a lot of cooking and want that extra comfort.
Some Dalsouple textures have an R10 slip rating, so businesses can be confident they are protecting against falls and covering themselves against litigation.