How carpet can boost learning environments

WITH summer here, it’s now a key time for the refurbishments of schools, colleges and universities.

A better environment

When carefully planned out, the innovative use of carpet can significantly enhance the environment of any educational facility. By using tile-and-plank in different areas and experimenting with different installation methods, it’s possible to create an exciting and dynamic atmosphere that leads to a more stimulating place in which to learn.

Another way to add inspiration to a learning centre is by creating feature areas with bright accent colours to make a bold impact. Adding a feature area to an existing floor is as simple as swapping a tile or two around.

The Gradus Emphasis range is suitable for this, featuring six bright accent colours that have been specially designed for use with our other ranges as a highlight colour.

When installing carpet, it’s vital to consider the journeys that students, staff and visitors will take around the building. The best way to manage this is through zoning, which utilises different carpet tile designs, textures and colours to aid navigation and flow. Our Lafite Connect and Streetwise Design ranges enable you to implement zoning and are available in many complementary designs and colours.

The noise in a building, too, can be effectively managed by carpet. Acoustics are an important factor in learning environments, with the power to aid listening (especially for the hard of hearing), improve focus, and limit the sound effects of foot-traffic. All our carpets are tested for impact noise absorption, and our Times Square range is particularly effective for this.

Enhancing safety

Carpets and related accessories also play a key role in boosting safety at educational facilities. For example, the entrance to a facility – generally one of the busiest areas in any building – is a likely scene of slips and trips. Contractors should therefore insist on durable and fit-for-purpose barrier matting, designed to provide the grip that helps people to stay upright.

As well as reducing falls in the entrance area, barrier matting is the building’s first line of defence against dirt and moisture. Educational facilities experience heavy foot traffic on a daily basis and installing an effective matting system can reduce the amount of dirt and moisture tracked around the building by up to 90%.
Another hazard in any building is the stairs, and these present a particular danger-point in educational establishments where users may not always be paying full attention owing to chatting to others or looking at their phones.
Stair-edgings provide slip-resistance at the step edge, and are the best way to protect against stair injuries. In addition, our XT range of aluminium stair-edgings features an extended insert design that wraps around the leading edge of the step, ensuring foot contact is always made with the slip-resistant part of the stair-edging.

 Maintaining your budget

While it costs money in the short-term, installing carpet and accessories as part of a summer refurb is likely to save you money in the long-term. The first step to ensuring this is to opt for carpet tiles and planks, as this will mean worn areas can later be locally replaced, meaning you only need to take out one tile and not the whole carpet.

Zoning is another way of saving on later refurbishments, as it can be used to direct heavy footfall towards the more durable, heavy-duty sections of carpet that aren’t prone to wearing or fraying. This will ensure the different sections of carpet are subjected to appropriate levels of footfall and mean longer intervals between having to go to the trouble and cost of further refurbishments.

Similarly, the use of floor trims will stop the ends of a carpet from fraying and therefore requiring replacement, while barrier matting, by reducing the amount of dirt that gets tracked into the building, helps prolong the lifecycle of surrounding floorcoverings.

Finally, our XT stair-edgings feature a unique locking mechanism that secures the slip-resistant insert in place on the tread and riser, removing the need for an adhesive bond. This helps increase the resistance to moisture ingress, making them suitable for the intensive cleaning regimes, common to many educational environments, that accelerate wear-and-tear.

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