The experts at Spectrum Flooring/TSI, Rockford, offer advice on choosing the right flooring for your business.
Flooring for your business. It sounds so straightforward, but there’s a lot to know. Just ask Mike and Jill Bracken of Tile Specialists Inc., (TSI), the commercial side of Spectrum Flooring & Design, 3250 S. Alpine Road, Rockford.
For 30 years, the Brackens have helped hospitals, schools, retail stores, corporations, factories, law offices, assisted living complexes, libraries and government offices to choose and install flooring that makes the best sense for their particular situations, over the long haul.
“It’s so important to stop and make sure you have the right surface,” says Mike. “Find out how much maintenance will be required for that flooring type. Maintenance can be a larger expense in the long run than the cost of the flooring itself.”
About 80 percent of TSI’s business is outside of Rockford, from Janesville, Wis. to the LaSalle-Peru, Ill. area and the Chicago suburbs. The company is based in Champaign, Ill.
The Brackens have seen many trends come and go in commercial flooring, especially in the health care sector.
“Of course that industry has very specific needs, such as anti-microbial flooring in operating rooms,” says Jill. “But in general, we’re finding that hospitals are using a wide mix of flooring types these days, and in warmer materials and colors that make the atmosphere feel more homey and comfortable.” Vinyl products that simulate wood are popular, because they’re attractive, durable, quiet to walk on and easily sanitized.
Schools are using more carpet tiles than they once did. Unlike traditional broadloom rolls of carpet, individual carpet tiles are easily replaced when worn out. “Carpet reduces noise, adds warmth and is easily maintained by vacuuming,” says Jill.
“In legal offices, we usually find that clients want a mix of durable wood-look products and high-end carpet,” says Mike.
TSI installs highly-customized flooring patterns, cutting in company logos in contrasting colors, for example. The new flooring at the Charles Street entrance of SwedishAmerican Hospital in Rockford is an example of the company’s handiwork. Intricate installations are possible because of the high skill level of installers retained by TSI, says Mike.
“It’s a big advantage to work with a company that has its own installation team, as we do,” says Mike. “Our installers are certified Master Mechanics within the Carpenters Local 792 union, which means they always know what they’re doing and there are no timing problems, as there can be when you work with subcontractors. Keeping downtime to a minimum is a very big deal in business. You want the flooring installed once, the right way, and you want to get your business back up and running as soon as possible.”
Along with durability, maintenance and aesthetics, commercial flooring dealers must be well-acquainted with liability requirements (think asbestos in school districts), Green LEED-certified products and other technical issues that may be overlooked by non-commercial installers.
“And, some companies try to be responsible corporate citizens by making sure their old flooring is disposed of in ways that are least damaging to the environment, so we work with them on that,” says Mike.
As with most outsourced business functions, working with experienced experts can reduce frustration and save time and money.