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Designing high-traffic areas: Polymer flooring solutions for commercial spaces 

In bustling commercial spaces, the flooring plays a crucial role in creating a welcoming environment while also ensuring longevity and safety for visitors. The requirements of high-traffic zones, where durability and slip resistance are non-negotiable, call for a robust performer that doesn’t compromise on endurance, safety or style and this is where polymer flooring steps into the limelight. 

From epoxy’s versatility to the adaptability of polyurethane, the swift impact of MMA, and the understated sophistication of liquid vinyl — not to mention car park deck coatings, a guardian against the elements in what is often the first point of contact for commercial venues — the performance benefits of polymer flooring are many, as are the strategies behind crafting compelling high-traffic areas that seamlessly blend practicality with visual appeal. 

Factors to consider in high-traffic areas   

In commercial venues, where a functionality is just as critical as how the space looks and feels, the role of flooring becomes pivotal in meeting the needs of busy public locations. 

Durability & longevity 

In the continuous flux of activity, flooring within high-traffic zones isn’t a passive element – it’s an active participant. Foot traffic and movement can etch their mark over time, so flooring in these areas should be capable of enduring the consistent demands and resisting signs of wear.  

Safety & slip resistance 

In any building where members of the public are present, safety claims the top spot in critical considerations during the design process. High-traffic areas should foster confidence among visitors and occupants alike and mitigating the risk of slips and falls can go a long way towards meeting this requirement. 

Aesthetic appeal 

Beyond its utilitarian role, flooring can contribute significantly to a space’s visual narrative. Much more than a functional aspect, the flooring can an integral piece of the design puzzle. Beyond simply adding to the aesthetics of a space, choosing appropriate flooring can also help with navigation, traffic flow and safety. 

Ease of maintenance 

Amidst the consistent foot traffic often experienced in commercial venues, maintaining the floor should be seamless, not an impediment.  

Polymer flooring solutions for high-traffic areas 

Each type of polymer flooring brings distinct advantages that address the challenges of constant use and activity… 

Epoxy flooring 

Epoxy flooring is a versatile solution that can be tailored to meet the demands of high-traffic areas. The technology’s inherent durability and exceptional resistance to wear make it a practical choice for spaces that experience continuous foot traffic and activity.  

Even in the most simple of epoxy system designs, the molecular bond that forms during installation results in a surface that can withstand the impact of heavy usage without showing significant signs of deterioration. This robustness is essential for commercial spaces such as retail environments, restaurants and healthcare facilities, where foot traffic is a constant companion. 

Epoxy’s seamless and non-porous nature adds to its appeal in high-traffic settings. It resists moisture penetration and chemical attack, making cleaning spills and maintaining cleanliness a straightforward task. This characteristic aligns with the demands of bustling areas where spills and accidents are bound to occur. 

While often associated with industrial spaces, the aesthetics of epoxy systems go far beyond the solid-colour finish of high-build and self-levelling systems. 

Epoxy flaked or quartz systems like vebrores EP Flake (FeRFA Type 4) and vebrores EP Quartz Classic (FeRFA Type 6) offer an attractive aesthetic, while also delivering the same or improved impressive performance characteristics of FeRFA Type 3 high build systems

Designers of high-end commercial spaces where luxury and functionality are a top priority need look no further than epoxy terrazzo. vebro Classic Terrazzo is very heavy-duty FeRFA Type 8 system that packs an aesthetic punch without compromising on durability or resistance. 

The impressive City Hall in Sunderland, UK, erected at the Northeast city’s former Vaux manufacturing site, features vebro Classic Terrazzo throughout the concourse, walkways, large meeting space and café area. The multi-award-winning architectural feat shines as an example of design excellence. 

Polyurethane flooring 

Polyurethane flooring presents a high-performance solution well-suited for the challenges of high-traffic areas. Its distinctive attributes combine functionality and aesthetics, making it a favoured choice in environments that demand durability without sacrificing on looks. 

The flexibility inherent in polyurethane flooring lends itself to spaces where movement is constant. This feature allows the flooring to absorb impacts without succumbing to cracks or damage. In settings like educational institutions, corporate offices and museums, where foot traffic can vary in intensity, polyurethane’s ability to adapt to the environment is a valuable asset. 

One of polyurethane flooring’s notable advantages is its resistance to UV radiation, ensuring its appearance remains consistent even when exposed to sunlight. This characteristic makes it suitable for areas with windows or natural light sources, as it won’t fade or discolour over time. 

Over 700m² of trafficable, solvent-free, flexible and self-smoothing polyurethane flooring, vebrores PU SL HD was chosen for the main entrance and large atrium at Jedburgh Grammar Campus in the Scottish Borders, built as part of the ‘Schools for the Future’ programme. 

Designed by Stallan-Brand and developed by hub South East and main contractor BAM Construction, the new Jedburgh Grammar Campus is an innovative intergenerational learning space which will serve two to 18-year-olds. It replaces all three schools in the town and will have provision for nursery, primary, secondary and additional support needs pupils. 

Vebro Polymers provided its flexible, self-levelling, polyurethane flooring system, vebrores PU SL HD, in a deep Graphite Grey shade for use across the campus’ main entrance and atrium. 

PU liquid vinyl flooring 

PU liquid vinyl flooring, like Vebro’s vebroflex range, adeptly tackles the challenges of high-traffic areas while delivering an array of benefits that elevate its practicality and appeal. This versatile flooring option seamlessly integrates durability with low maintenance requirements, making it an impeccable fit for spaces characterised by continuous activity. 

PU liquid vinyl’s sound-absorbing properties contribute to its appeal for multi-occupancy and multi-storey spaces, where noise reduction cultivates an environment of enhanced comfort and productivity. This attribute enhances the overall acoustic quality of the space, providing occupants with a more pleasant atmosphere. 

The seamless finish of PU liquid vinyl eradicates joints and seams, streamlining cleaning routines and contributing to its ease of maintenance.  

Architects and specifiers can leverage its expansive range of RAL-matched colours and the ability to install it in bespoke patterns to seamlessly align with diverse design schemes.   

In terms of resilience, PU liquid vinyl flooring is exceptionally equipped to withstand the challenges of high-traffic commercial spaces. Its resistance to scuffs, impacts and the demands of heavy foot traffic guarantees the preservation of its appearance even in demanding conditions. 

MMA flooring 

MMA (methyl methacrylate) flooring offers a purpose-driven solution tailored to the demands of high-traffic areas. Known for its rapid-curing properties, MMA flooring is a strategic choice for spaces where quick installation turnaround is essential. 

One of the standout features of MMA flooring, like Vebro Polymers’s vebrospeed range, is its fast curing time. Curing in as little as 60 minutes, the swift installation minimises downtime and enables the area to be back in operation within a short span. Consequently, MMA flooring thrives in spaces such as airports, train stations, and supermarkets where minimal interruption is of utmost importance. 

MMA flooring’s resilience makes it a robust contender for areas of heavy foot traffic and frequent movement. This durability ensures that the flooring retains its appearance and functionality even in the face of constant engagement. 

Not to be outdone on aesthetics, MMA flooring also offers versatility in design. Architects and specifiers can select from a range of colours and finishes to seamlessly integrate the flooring with the overall aesthetic of the space. This adaptability allows for a harmonious visual appeal while accommodating the practical needs of high-traffic areas. 

This blend of aesthetics and performance was high on the agenda for Stockton Globe, who chose vebrospeed Quartz SR for its recently renovated music, comedy and theatre performance venue and adjoining bar, delivering a slip-resistant and attractive finish throughout. Read more about this MMA flooring installation here.

Car park deck coating systems  

Not to be forgotten, multi-storey car parks often represent the first point of contact for visitors to commercial spaces. 

Car park deck coating systems provide a targeted solution to the challenges posed by vehicular traffic, environmental factors and the constant exposure to the elements. Epoxy, polyurethane and MMA solutions for these punishing environments are specifically designed to enhance the longevity and structural integrity of parking structures, ensuring they remain functional and safe. 

Systems in Vebro’s vebrodeck range are formulated to resist the corrosive effects of chemicals, including those commonly found in vehicles and environmental pollutants. This resistance is crucial for maintaining the structural integrity of the car parks’ structure over time, especially in areas where de-icing salts and other corrosive substances are prevalent. 

In addition to chemical resistance, car park deck coatings offer protection against the physical impact of vehicular traffic and other heavy loads. This feature ensures that the surface remains free from scuffs, scratches and other forms of damage that can occur in parking areas. 

Designed to withstand UV radiation and weathering, coatings that are designed for application on external decks prevent the coating from fading, chalking or deteriorating when exposed to sunlight and environmental conditions. 

The practical benefits of car park deck coatings are complemented by their aesthetic adaptability, with a range of colours and finishes available to complement the overall design scheme of the facility, maintaining a balance between visual appeal and functional requirements. 

That’s a wrap… 

Navigating the complexities of high-traffic areas requires a nuanced understanding of both practicality and design finesse. Architects and specifiers play a pivotal role in shaping spaces that seamlessly balance endurance, visual appeal and functionality and polymer flooring solutions are reliable allies in this endeavour. 

These solutions aren’t just surfaces; they’re intelligent responses to the demands of bustling environments. With their unique strengths, polymer flooring solutions offer the means to craft commercial spaces that seamlessly combine form and function.  

Vebro Polymers is a manufacturer of a supplier of polymer flooring, specialist coatings, rapid-set cementitious underlayments and car park deck wearing solutions with manufacturing and office headquarters in the UK and Asia. 

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