Facility Managers Retail

How to Select the Right Wood Flooring for Your Retail Project

by Jason Brubaker

In the retail world image is everything. From the way the lighting sets the tone, to the way the flooring guides the shopper from one area to the next. The retail experience is based on an image created by the setting of a space. To make the most of your space you are already considering the best type of flooring, hardwood. But let’s take this a step further. What type of wood flooring are you looking at having installed? Read on to learn about the various tones created by the different wood flooring options available to you.

Why Choose Wood

To answer this theoretical statement, imagine two retail spaces. One room has a flooring made of tile in a black and white checkered pattern. The other features a hardwood floor using White Oak that has been reclaimed to give it an aged look. You won’t see another one like it because of the personality that is evoked with the character of hardwood. The grain, the hue, and the textured finish create a unique experience. So, which one would you choose? If you went with wood, you are on the right track.

Consider the fact that social research shows shoppers spend most of their time looking down. They are watching where they walk and, in general, avoiding eye contact with strangers. As such you want to choose a hardwood floor that will speak volumes about your retail space, without saying a word. The flooring also has to hold up well to the beating it will certainly take due to foot traffic. This means you want a floor that looks fantastic, while also being ultra durable against wear and tear. The flooring also needs to feature a safety element in order to protect those walking on it.

Looks Count a Lot

With all of those shoppers looking down at your retail wood flooring you want to make this fifth wall count. Start by choosing a hardwood according to the color, grain and texture that best suits your space. Your choice of stain offers a great advantage when choosing the right wood flooring for your retail project.

For example, one of the lightest finishes available is Bella Luna, which is nearly white in color, while the darkest is Ebony--both of which are available in Maple hardwood flooring. You can do just about anything with the stained finish of wood flooring including transforming a traditionally darker wood into something light and bright. Once you have decided on the perfect color of hardwood it's time to think about the texture and finish.

The texture of a wood comes from a few different aspects. For starters, if you are working with wood flooring that has been reclaimed this creates a unique texture. Reclaimed lumber comes from aged wood sourced from old growth forests. These trees would be centuries of years old had they not been harvested for lumber.

As such the wood used for reclaimed lumber came from trees that grew much hardier than trees used for virgin lumber today. That hardiness factor is multiplied by the curing and age that takes place over the many years. As a result, reclaimed wood flooring is not just super durable but it also has its own finish. Deeper grooves make the texture more pronounced on reclaimed wood floors.

You can also see a different type of texture in a couple of other flooring products. Take the TXTURE Distressed White Oak exclusively available at Nydree Flooring. This flooring is treated using a wire brushing technique to give it the look and feel of reclaimed wood. Yet the flooring itself is made using partially virgin lumber.

Another way to add texture and character to wood is through handcrafted methods. For example, the Nydree Flooring Handcrafted Collection features the artisan work of in-house woodworkers. These professionals hand-plank each board using expertise that cannot be found with machine-planked boards. Completed in-house in Karthaus, Pennsylvania this handcrafted work is made in America by local carpenters.

Safety as a Primary Concern

In terms of what it takes for wood flooring to be considered safe for a retail space, you have a few factors to take in:

  • The flooring must have the proper amount of friction to prevent slipping.
  • The surface should not get overly slick when wet.

In the day and age of lawsuits galore, the last thing you want is a lawsuit due to the fact that your retail wood flooring is unsafe. The main concern in a retail environment involves slips and falls. This is one of the biggest hazards you will face in your retail environment in relation to the flooring choice.

If you aren’t sure how a retail floor, say in a clothing store, would get wet, consider how often shoppers are carrying beverages like coffee or sippy cups for their kids. These things get dropped all of the time, and often customers are not so prompt in alerting the sales personnel. Another issue pertains to the weather. If it’s raining or snowing outside, this moisture gets tracked in on shoppers’ footwear. Puddle after puddle accumulates and creates safety hazards. So, yes, wet floors happen, even in retail, and it's up to you to find a solution in wood flooring.

Start by looking for hardwood that is water and slip resistant. For example, the flooring products made in the USA by Nydree Flooring is finished with a superior acrylic infusion. This allows the hardwood surface to be more than just three times stronger than the competitors. It also creates enhanced moisture resistance that remedies the issue of slips and falls.

As you consider the many possibilities of wood flooring for your next retail project, we want to help. Check out our portfolio at Nydree Flooring to see various wood species, colors and textures in action in retail settings. We take choosing the right wood flooring for retail very seriously. Let us help you make the best choice for your retail space. As your hardwood flooring experts we have the experience and products that will bring your retail flooring up to the highest level.