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Fast fit flooring: refurbishing schools for the new academic year

Lewis Cooper explores how adhesive-free floorcoverings can aid in flooring solutions that can be installed quickly, helping contractors to meet tight project deadlines.

WITH education projects often time sensitive in nature, it’s important that contractors are using flooring solutions that can be installed quickly, minimising disruption. Here I’ll explore how adhesive-free floorcoverings can aid in this, helping contractors to meet tight project deadlines.

During term time, schools are in almost constant use, meaning any refurbishments must be carried out outside of school hours, on weekends or during school holidays. This can often leave very little time for work to be completed using traditionally adhered floorcoverings.

With this in mind, there is now an increasing choice of adhesive-free flooring solutions available to contractors, designed to help them meet their clients’ expectations and timescales.

With no need for traditional adhesive or tackifier, adhesive-free flooring can be installed far quicker than other options, helping to reduce downtime by as much as 50% – a huge time saving during the busy education refurbishment season.

As if that wasn’t enough, depending on the condition of the subfloor and the solution being used, some floorcoverings can even be fitted directly over existing products, further decreasing the time spent onsite.

Another benefit of adhesive-free flooring is that it can be walked on, and furniture replaced, as soon as it has been installed – as opposed to the 48-hour wait commonly expected with traditionally adhered solutions.

This lends itself particularly well to the education sector, where the flooring could be installed over weekends or towards the end of a wider refurbishment project, mere hours before teachers and students are due to re-enter the school building.

Another concern for school refurbishment projects can be the effect they have on the environment and those using the spaces. Here, adhesive-free flooring can tick both boxes, reducing the carbon footprint of a building by cutting down the materials used during its installation such as adhesives. Additionally, as the floorcovering does not have any adhesive residue on the back, they can be easily removed, recycled or reused at the end of their lifetime, helping to increase the circularity of the flooring industry.

The absence of adhesive also means there are no lingering odours and reduced volatile organic compounds (VOCs), as well as less noise and dust, with little to no subfloor preparation needed. All of this can help to create healthier spaces that are free of contaminants and pollutants.
As with all floorcoverings, there are a variety of adhesive-free solutions to choose from, depending on the functional requirements of each specific area.

This is especially important when working within schools, colleges and universities, where you may be installing into corridors, classrooms, eating spaces, kitchens, science labs and other specialist areas.

To meet the needs of each of these applications, contractors should consider the usage of the space. For corridors and circulation areas, which are likely to be subjected to heavy footfall, a durable solution with impact sound reduction qualities should be considered.

An acoustic vinyl that can be installed adhesive free, such as Forbo’s Modul’up, which was recently specified in refurbishments to Edinburgh College, delivering 19 dB impact sound reduction, would be ideal.

To meet the demands of a classroom or learning space, a carpet tile solution could be installed, with a wide range of colours available to help encourage creativity and productivity, as well as providing underfoot comfort. Here there are also adhesive-free solutions, such as Forbo’s Tessera carpet tiles, which can be installed adhesive-free using IOBAC MagTabs.

An adhesive-free solution can also ensure fewer VOCs and lingering odours, that could affect staff and students’ ability to learn and teach. For more specialist application areas, like kitchens, bathrooms or wetrooms, an adhesive-free slip resistant flooring solution, such as Forbo’s Surestep Fast Fit, is ideal, helping to maintain the safety of staff, students and visitors, while also being installed in a timely fashion.

Thanks to modern design technology, each of these solutions comes in a range of colours and designs, ensuring that aesthetic requirements aren’t left behind.

Forbo Flooring Systems’ Fast Flooring collection contains a wide range of adhesive-free products, spanning across its vast portfolio of solutions.

Lewis Cooper is education segment marketing manager at Forbo Flooring Systems

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