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What Is the Difference Between Heavy and Light Commercial Flooring?

by Jason Brubaker

There are so many options to choose from when it comes to commercial hardwood flooring, but understanding a project’s unique, long-term needs is crucial to making the best choice. It’s not enough to pick something pretty. Yes, you want something aesthetically impactful, but you need flooring that performs under pressure.

Investing in high-quality materials that can withstand constant use will pay off more quickly than expected.

Knowing the difference between heavy and light commercial flooring options and applications is the key to ensuring both a timeless design and choosing the best durability for your project.

What Is Heavy Commercial Flooring?

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Heavy commercial flooring is designed with durability in mind.

Perfect for high-traffic and high-impact areas such as lobbies, restaurants and retail stores, heavy commercial flooring — acrylic-infused hardwood — is built to last under constant use.

Heavy commercial flooring is more resistant to the wear and tear of foot traffic, especially from more taxing footwear such as high heels or work boots. It’s also less likely to scuff or buckle under heavy pieces like tables, chairs and other furniture pieces that may be moved around or rearranged often.

One major benefit to investing in heavy commercial flooring is that it does not have to be replaced as often as a cheaper, light commercial flooring option. Because it is so durable, there won’t be damaged boards that need to be replaced every few years. Plus, it’s easier to maintain, which will save time and money in the long run.

Another benefit to certain types of heavy commercial flooring is that it is more weather-resistant, making it the perfect choice for a commercial space located in harsh climates. It can hold up against any moisture brought in from rain or snow and, depending on the material and finish, can also be less susceptible to fading from constant direct sun exposure.

What Is Light Commercial Flooring?

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Light commercial flooring is terrific for lower traffic, personal-use spaces like apartments, hotel rooms and condominiums.

Light commercial flooring does not hold up against heavy foot traffic or shifting tables and chairs quite as well as heavy commercial flooring does, but it is often a cheaper solution. Consider saving with light commercial flooring in low-impact areas so you can invest in quality, durable heavy commercial flooring in more communally shared traffic areas.

What Materials to Use

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Heavy commercial flooring is so durable because it is made of sturdier materials, such as acrylic-infused hardwood, wide plank flooring and tile. These materials are engineered to last and withstand constant, high-impact use.

Light commercial flooring is made from other materials like traditional hardwood, laminate and vinyl. These materials are not as sturdy and need more upkeep and replacement than heavy commercial flooring alternatives, but then again, these materials also tend to be cheaper initially.

However, investing in heavy commercial flooring options like acrylic-infused hardwood even in low- traffic areas guarantees greater durability and quality in the long run. By choosing heavy commercial flooring, you’ll enjoy both design and benefits for decades to come.

Timeless in Design and Performance

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One example of heavy commercial flooring done right can be found in the lobby of the Graduate Oxford Hotel. They wanted the timeless look and inviting warmth of natural wood, but their classic, custom design needed to stand the test of time.

They chose an oak hardwood flooring infused with acrylic to achieve their vision. This combination made the flooring up to 3 times more resistant to marks and dents while maintaining the familiar feel of natural materials.

And, because of their strategic planning, they get to enjoy the floor’s rich aesthetics without having to worry about repairing or replacing worn-out planks every few years.

Intuitive Investing

You get what you pay for, and quality flooring is the foundation of any commercial space.

Investing in high-quality flooring will not only save your clients money in the long run, but it will also save them time and major headaches down the road. Having to repair and replace damaged flooring eats into profits and quickly becomes an inconvenience for customers and guests — and could end up costing more money if their business needs to be shut down to fix the flooring.

Lessons Learned

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Unlike the Graduate Oxford Hotel, not everyone gets it right on the first try. For instance, there’s a valuable lesson to learn from this boutique hotel’s mistake. They chose flooring with the perfect design aesthetic. It made the rest of the hotel pop. It was beautiful.

What was not so beautiful were the scratches, stains and dents that quickly accumulated and ruined the very aesthetic they paid for. Because, as beautiful as the flooring originally was, it just wasn’t designed to stand up to the constant wear and tear of travelers and their luggage.

And no matter how grand the floors looked when they went in, all the current guests saw were the markings of the hotel’s grave mistake. Had the owner invested in heavy commercial flooring up front, the hotel would have maintained its pristine image for decades.

How Can We Help?

Looking into flooring options but aren’t sure where to start? Let us help you determine which choice is best for your commercial project.

You can also check out the range of acrylic-infused solutions that Nydree has to offer to find the flooring of your dreams, and then, if you’re ready, request a quote.