Schools often seem to find themselves under intense financial pressure. Costs can feel as though they are always ballooning, and income never seems to grow at the same rate.
Any economics teacher can tell you that finding savings is essential. It's the only way there will ever be enough money for really important things, like quality educational outcomes.
So, when choosing school flooring, what is the best and most affordable option? You've got to take into account upfront costs, but also maintenance costs and the possibility of having to replace floors in the future. And beyond just the dollars and cents, there are lots of other things to consider as well, like safety, acoustics, cleanliness and design and function.
To help you make an informed decision, we've put together the following guide to picking out flooring in the education industry.
Our team at Policrete is packed full of Melbourne's finest flooring experts. Read more about the polished concrete services we offer, and how we can install effective, affordable floors at your school.
Upfront costs vs lifetime costs: What is the real cost of a school's floors?
Some renovators and builders don't choose flooring with longevity in mind. For example, folks who are turning houses for renovations know that they're offloading the property, and aren't concerned with the long term costs of flooring.
A school, however, must be committed to serving generations of students. And since the upfront costs of installing a flooring surface are only a fraction of the lifetime costs that the institution will have to pay, there are other things to keep in mind, too.
Are polished concrete floors cheaper in the long run?
Over the lifetime of a surface, polished concrete floors are some of the most cost-effective surfaces on the market. Having carpet or lino installed in a room might be cheaper at first pass, but they will have to be replaced in a few years time (especially in a primary school, as young children have a tendency to make quite the mess).
Polished concrete, however, is a hardy and durable surface. It will continue to look great and serve its purpose year after year. And polished concrete isn't just affordable to install: it also lasts a long time. Additionally, it's an ecologically sustainable and shiny surface, meaning that a room with polished concrete will end up costing you less on power bills because you won't need to spend as much on heating and lighting.
Are polished concrete floors cheaper to clean?
Absolutely. Polished concrete floors are among the easiest surfaces to clean. In a school environment, almost all other types of surfaces can suffer damage and might have to be replaced:
Floorboards: These can scratch easily, especially when faced with deliberate vandalism from students. Not many wooden desks escape without being defaced by compasses at school, and floorboards are just as prone to damage.
Carpets: Kids and teenagers are seldom respectful of the floors in their own rooms — let alone the floors at school! Spills and scuffs quickly wreak havoc on even the hardiest carpets at school. Often, carpets at school are installed as replaceable carpet squares. These don't look as good as real carpet, and the cost of replacing each tarnished square can still add up over time.
Vinyl: Vinyl or rubber flooring is not an uncommon choice for floors in schools. It's easier to clean than carpet, but it can still have many of the same drawbacks. Additionally, it lacks the stylish visual appeal of polished concrete.
So, what's the most affordable type of floor for primary and secondary schools?
There's no one, particular type of flooring appropriate for a school's ground and floor. In the playground, for example, bark chips are most suitable. For a space in which small children might fall over frequently indoors, a big rug or carpet might be the right choice.
However, for a vast array of spaces, like classrooms, canteens, art rooms and science labs, polished concrete is a profoundly affordable, durable, and aesthetic choice.