Posts Tagged ‘resilient flooring’

Dementia-friendly design

August 27, 2013

I interviewed Diana Cellela of The Drawing Room Interiors as part of a case study I created for Karndean Designflooring, showcasing the use of their stone-effect Art Select luxury vinyl flooring at the EachStep dementia care centre in Manchester.

Karndean Art Select EachStep

Diana is a specialist in dementia-friendly design, and is the chairman of the SBID Healthcare Advisory Council, which is currently launching.

She explained a few of the tips and tricks when creating an environment for this particular user group.

There are many different views on what ‘Dementia Friendly’ design is but overall any area should be as comfortable and non-institutional in appearance as possible.  A home-like or cosy look will make the residents or patients feel more at ease.

Dementia-friendly design helps to prevent accidents amongst dementia sufferers, who can have difficulty distinguishing between, or can trip and fall over, surfaces or objects with a similar light reflectance value (LRV). Flooring and furniture, for example, is recommended to be specified with at least a 30% contrast in LRV.

Conversely, they can become confused when they see two adjoining floor surfaces that have a strong contrast in LRV. Two different floor materials or finishes may appear as a step, or the dementia sufferer may perceive a hole or hollow in the floor. Flecked patterns can appear as dirt on the floor and motifs may look like actual objects, and the person may bend down to wipe the surface or pick something up.

When selecting fabric for curtains, blinds or upholstery, try to avoid large busy patterns as these have been known to cause frustration.  Also avoid flowers as some suffers may try to pick the flowers, or bold stripes as may be seen as bars at the window.

Acoustics are extremely important; background noise can lead to extreme  frustrations, so minimize noise, by using soft fabrics or acoustic panels.

Furniture should have rounded edges and is good to have fronts which allow the patient to see what the furniture is used for, for example, scooped or Perspex frontage where some of the contents are visable, this can act as a prompt to the resident.

There are so many changes, some small, that can be made to an interior that can make a massive impact on the life of a dementia sufferer, from signage, to use of reminiscence rooms, rummage boxes, artwork and colours to name just a few.

EachStep Blackley is a dementia care centre run by the not-for-profit social and health care provider CIC Group. For the reception area flooring in this project, Diana specified a stone-effect finish, which would avoid the problems described above, and also had the necessary durability to withstand the high traffic levels expected.

Dementia friendly design can be studied at the Dementia Centre at Stirling University, and  the Centre Director Professor June Andrews is also on the Society of British Interior Design’s Healthcare Advisory Council.

Diana Celella runs The Drawing Room Interiors and is Director of the SBID’s Healthcare Advisory Council.


How Karndean use video to give technical advice and showcase a product

August 22, 2013

More and more manufacturers are using video to show the benefits of their products to their audience of architects, interior designers and other specifiers.

Here Karndean Designflooring show how 71 square metres of their LooseLay vinyl flooring product can be laid in 48 minutes.

There are technical tips too – if any subfloor shows a moisture reading of +75%, a damp proof membrane should be laid.

Karndean website

Karndean Youtube

Compare Karndean and other vinyl flooring on

Slip testing explained, by Karndean Designflooring

February 7, 2012

Karndean Designflooring is a leading supplier of commercial flooring, and here explains the slip testing standards that designers must bear in mind when specifying flooring in public areas – Pendulum testing and Ramp testing.

In 2009, seven million people were absent from work because of slips and trips and according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), flooring is one of three controllable causes of these types of incidents.

Statistics like these not only emphasise the need for flooring solutions that are thoroughly slip tested and accredited, but they also highlight the importance of developing a method of slip testing that is accepted on a global scale.

Mike Cheetham, Global Technical Director for Karndean International explores the two most common methods of slip testing and explains how the UK flooring industry would benefit from one worldwide technique.

“There are two commonly accepted forms of slip testing. Karndean use both methods to ensure that that the slip accreditation that accompanies each luxury design product is simple to understand and can be easily compared both here in the UK as well as in Europe and the USA.”

Pendulum Testing
The pendulum test is the method of testing preferred by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) for the assessment of floor slipperiness in dry and contaminated conditions.

The test uses a mechanical simulator to recreate the action of a person slipping. The imitation heel replicates a standard rubber shoe sole and when swung across the test surface, gives a measurable skid distance, showing how slippery the flooring is.

Accreditation is given according to how far the swinging ‘foot’ skids and each floor covering is awarded a Pendulum Test Value (PVT).

“PVT ratings range from zero to 36+ and equate to a high, moderate or low slip risk,” explains Mike. The following table shows how a PTV relates to the chance of slipping as a ratio to 1.

Risk, in 1: PTV Slip Potential
1,000,000 36+ Low
100,000 34 Moderate
10,000 29 Moderate
200 27 Moderate
20 24 High
2 19 High


Guest blog: sustainable timber flooring options

February 7, 2012

This piece comes courtesy of Mark Iscaro, director of First Angle, an architecture and interior design practice in Victoria, Australia. Mark is also active on twitter; follow him @First_Angle. Mark looks at six flooring types and appraises their sustainability from the specifier’s point of view.

When it comes to being sustainable with your flooring, there are many options available. Some you would be well aware of, others you may not know about, and even those that you might believe are sustainable, which actually are not. So how do you determine what flooring is for you? Well, first you need to understand what is out there to choose from.

The list of sustainable and supposedly sustainable flooring is a long one, including bamboo flooring, recycled timber flooring, regrowth timber flooring, cork flooring, linoleum flooring and rubber flooring. So let’s take a look at these flooring options and see what the pros and cons are.

Linoleum Flooring
Now I know what you’re thinking– linoleum isn’t timber. Amazingly it is, as linoleum is made from pine resin, ground cork dust and wood flour amongst other natural ingredients. Created over 150 years ago, it has been a constant in domestic settings, and more recently has begun to be seen as a sustainable alternative to other types flooring.

It durable and comfortable, as well as being biodegradable, and is possibly the most cost-effective flooring around, but it doesn’t have the beauty of a natural timber floor.

Link: Compare lineoleum products on

Bamboo Flooring
Bamboo flooring has in recent times hit the headlines as perhaps the most sustainable of flooring options. It is cost-effective, easy to install and has all the beauty of timber floors. There are numerous styles and options to choose from, ranging from natural-finish, strand-woven through to darker, char-finished styles.

The main issue with bamboo flooring is that the glues used in its construction are generally not good for the environment with most using formaldehyde. The use of low-VOC in bamboo flooring is yet to occur, making it a good choice but not a great choice. Other questions with bamboo flooring are its manufacturing and a lack of fair trade agreements. So although a somewhat sustainable option it is probably the least sustainable of all the timber flooring options out there.


Bamboo flooring: list of UK suppliers on (more…)

Flooring refurbishments

June 30, 2010

I asked my twitter contacts whether it was normal to screed over existing ceramic tiles when refurbishing flooring. The case in question is the atrium of my office building, which is having new vinyl sheet installed at the moment.

In my recent rant, I was baffled as to why seemingly perfectly good ceramic tiles were being covered over. There could be a variety of reasons, but Sam from The Rubber Flooring Company gave me some useful feedback.

The general advice is, where possible, to get back to the original substrate and apply a self-leveling smoothing compound. However, if budget or site won’t allow this, and the ceramic is sound, then they can be primed and screeded over, albeit with more risk of system failure.

Our building is in use during weekday working hours, so the site conditions are tricky, but judging by the move to a hard-wearing, easy-maintenance floor covering, budget may also be a primary consideration. But in the ‘age of austerity’ why the need to refurbish the floorcovering in the first place?

You can almost see the outline of the existing tiles in the picture above.

Office atrium refurb rant

June 28, 2010

I’ve been tweeting recently about the refurbishment of the atrium of our office building – the building houses four large open-plan offices: a commercial publisher (us), two public bodies and a business banking centre.

I’m not a qualified designer or architect, but I have a bit of knowledge built up over the years, researching and editing information about interior and architecture products and this atrium refurbishment really isn’t working for me.

This morning I came in to find my fears were confirmed: the stone-effect tiles in the atrium are being replaced with flexible sheet flooring. I won’t mention the product, because there is nothing wrong with resilient flooring per se, but for this application it just seems inappropriate. Fine for a school or sports centre, but without getting ideas above my station, the organisations in this building would expect something with a little more prestige.

The ceramic tiles in in the toilets have already been replaced with anti-slip vinyl flooring. While this is a slightly more suitable application, I still didn’t think a replacement was needed. It’s not an improvement aesthetically, as the flooring is now out of step with the white wall tiles in the individual toilet rooms. Furthermore, the men’s has blue and the ladies a light red: for goodness sake, this isn’t a primary school!

To be honest a good scrub would probably have sufficed. The installation isn’t exactly immaculate either and may lead to maintenance problems: there is no coving, and the gaps between the edge of the sheet and the wall will fill up with dirt before long. The thin screed that now covers the atrium and balcony appears to have been poured on top of the tiles, and our office door doesn’t open properly. So how is the new sheet going to fit?

Aesthetic and design considerations aside, it was simply a waste to replace the tiles, although the carpet tiles that covered the stairs and balcony level had reached the end of its life. I suspect anti-slip flooring may have been chosen as an anti-litigious measure, and to give the building a ‘new feel’ for prospective new tenants.

In my view a better use of the money would have been to install some lighting controls for the atrium- it has big fluorescent fittings that burn all day during summer when the space is filled with natural light. There are taps that constantly drip in the disabled cubicle, and the solid wood sliding door is almost too heavy for an able-bodied user to operate. A consultation with the users might have uncovered these issues, or that there is little provision for cycle parking and the smokers might appreciate a shelter.

Isn’t how a building is used just as important, if not more so, than than how it looks?

The state of the contract flooring market

November 18, 2009

FX magazine (October 2009) reported that the UK contract floor coverings market was worth £1.1 billion in 2008, making up just over half of all floor coverings. 2008 saw a slight decline, after strong growth from 2003-2007.

In 2009 the decline is expected to be sharper (as all industries are aware), as new commercial offices, entertainment, retail and refurbishment work have been delayed by the recession and the squeeze on credit.

The article speculated a little as to performance in 2010. Although public sector spending will still be under pressure, we would hope to see commercial projects beginning to get moving again. has large amount of products listed allowing specifiers to filter using technical parameters and compare products side-by-side.

Sustainable design competition

August 27, 2009

Interior Design magazine reports on a new sustainable design competition in the USA.

The Green Building Council has teamed up with The American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), and The Hospitality Industry Network (NEWH) to create the competition.

Mandatory design elements for all submissions are water efficient fixtures for bathrooms, energy efficient lighting, furniture, linens, carpet or flooring, wall covering or paint, and recycling programs.

ESI references: