Form AND function together is essential in flooring materials — not one over the other. 

When it comes to commercial, retail, hospitality, education, and healthcare spaces, contractors, designers, and builders must find the right balance between form and function. This is particularly true when it comes to flooring finishes. 

Choosing the appropriate flooring in high-traffic areas is vastly different from choosing flooring for a residential project where most decorative paint finishes can do the job more than adequately. 

In high-traffic areas, you should be keenly aware of potential issues that can arise, especially the time and costs involved in repairing and replacing damaged flooring materials. 

Determining areas with heavy foot traffic

To choose the appropriate type of floor finish to use for a project, it is vital to decide on which areas get a substantial volume of foot traffic. 

Whatever type of project you are working on, there will be areas that receive more traffic compared to the other areas.

No matter what type of space you have, the entrances and exits will receive a fair amount of foot traffic. Like entrances and exits, hallways and corridors also get a substantial amount of foot traffic, and in some properties, there are other types of traffic sources like wheelchairs in hospitals and carts in hospitality establishments. Finally, common areas like waiting areas and lobbies also get a high volume of foot traffic. 

In the context of retail space, it should be noted that not all areas receive the same amount of foot traffic. In a grocery store, for example, some sections will receive higher foot traffic over the others. These include the produce, meat, dairy, and frozen food sections. 

In residential buildings, the entrance and exit, lobby, and hallway receive a good share of foot traffic. However, other areas also get a high amount of traffic. These include the elevator, mailbox, and laundry areas. 

To the casual eye, all areas of a restaurant may seem to receive heavy traffic. However, the cash register, bar, and the kitchen receive most of the foot traffic. 

Qualities of the best flooring materials and finishes

Although each type of flooring material offers a variety of benefits, all share a few qualities which make them ideal for areas with heavy foot traffic. 

Apart from being easy to clean, the right material requires minimal maintenance and repair. This translates to the least amount of disruption. 

Choosing the appropriate finish translates to durability. This means that the floor can capably handle massive foot traffic day in and day out. Furthermore, your clients get better returns on their investments over the short and long term. 

Flooring options to consider

Finding the right flooring material that deftly blends durability with other appealing qualities may seem like a difficult task. However, there are several options to choose from, which may meet the requirements of the project you are working on. 

Here's a brief list of some of the choices available to you:


Terrazzo is a popular finish among veteran builders and designers, and rightly so. This finish is typically used in showrooms, entrances, and lobbies because it works well with a variety of themes. 

Although the upfront cost is significantly higher, it remains fairly popular due to its durability and superior ROI. 

Due to its beauty, terrazzo is ideal for larger spaces. Furthermore, the costs of installation decrease substantially as the space increases. 

Quarry tiles

Fabricated from hard-fired clay, quarry tiles are extremely popular in commercial kitchens. 

Installed correctly, these tiles have a long lifespan. They are also quite affordable. 

However, these tiles pose a few drawbacks. For starters, they require epoxy grout and thin-set adhesives for their installation. Furthermore, these tiles need regular cleaning and maintenance. And finally, in terms of available design options, your options are limited. 

Luxury vinyl tiles

Although luxury vinyl tiles or LVT aren't recommended for commercial kitchens or industrial applications, this type of flooring material has ample durability for other projects like hospitals, restaurants, and schools. These tiles can handle a myriad of challenges, including foot traffic, spills, and scratches. 

And along with that durability comes flexibility. LVT is available in a variety of designs and sizes, with some models that mimic other flooring materials. 


Although hardwood floorings have a tendency to get dented and scratched, these are more than capable of handling a fair amount of foot traffic. With the inherent beauty of the material, coupled with outstanding durability, hardwood flooring is ideal for restaurants, hospitals, museums, restaurants, and similar settings.

With proper treatment and thorough preparation, the natural properties of the material can be bolstered. 

It should be noted that hardwood tends to expand and contract. Furthermore, hardwood flooring materials vary in their properties, with some variants being more durable compared to others. 

Polished concrete

Concrete is typically used in both commercial and industrial applications. And rightly so, considering the amount of traffic in these settings — from foot to heavy equipment traffic. 

Apart from that, concrete floors are relatively easy to maintain. 

But if you wish to attain the best of both worlds, style, and function, consider using polished concrete. Polished concrete flooring requires minimal cleaning and maintenance. Regular sweeping and mopping, are more than enough to keep polished concrete floors in optimal condition. 

Epoxy coating

This concrete floor coating provides floors with a smooth finish while boosting their durability. Epoxy coating is ideal for settings with high foot and vehicular traffic. 

Although epoxy makes a surface smooth, it doesn't make it slippery. Furthermore, this coating makes floors non-porous. This means that dirt, debris, and molds won't penetrate concrete floors. 

When working on projects with high foot and vehicular traffic, consider any of these options. 

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