Resilient flooring is a steadily growing market, yet care and renovation of these surfaces have seen little innovation and change over the years. According to a study by The Freedonia Group, global demand for resilient flooring will grow to 3.9 billion square feet in 2022. Despite this significant market size, most facilities take an old school approach to maintaining the surface.
Mostly used in large facilities such as retail stores, sport facilities, healthcare facilities, schools or large commercial buildings, resilient flooring is comprised of VCT (vinyl composition tile), sheet vinyl, LVT (luxury vinyl tile), linoleum and rubber floors. Resilient material is highly durable and can withstand a great deal of foot traffic and general use. A hospital operating room floor, for example, must be durable enough to sustain foot traffic, movement of large machinery or gurneys and be slip-resistant when wet or dry. Resilient flooring is an ideal surface to navigate all these challenges. However, it also needs to tolerate sterilizing multiple times a day with intense cleaning chemicals which can tear down the polish and leave a residue on the floor, making it slippery without proper maintenance.
When resilient flooring has become dull, slippery or damaged, most facilities either polish or replace the flooring. Polishing resilient flooring is a simple process. First, a floor stripping agent is applied to remove the top layer of polish along with any ground in dirt. The floor is then cleaned, often with an auto scrubber, and the slurry of old polish and polish stripper is collected. Once the floor is dry, a new layer of polish is applied. The entire process can be labor and time intensive and the area must be closed to foot traffic. Often the surrounding area is also not usable due to the smell and decreased air quality inherent in the stripping and polishing process.
Replacing a resilient floor is both expensive and time consuming, often leaving the facility out-of-use for a week or more depending on the size.
When a floor is damaged or the facility is remodeled, the resilient flooring is typically torn up and removed. While many manufactures have implemented recycling programs of this material, a significant amount of resilient flooring ends up in landfills and is not biodegradable. Replacing a resilient floor is both expensive and time consuming, often leaving the facility out-of-use for a week or more depending on the size. Many facilities, particularly in the education sector, must plan this renovation budget years in advance to get the funding approved.
A third option has recently been innovated that fully renovates and can transform the resilient surface. After the first system application of this new process, the facility is able to forgo future stripping and polishing. For this process, once the initial prep phase of wet abrading the floor is complete, the floor is then stripped to remove the old polish, similar to the standard polish removal process. The floor is then thoroughly cleaned typically using an auto scrubber. Once the floor is clean, a base color is applied with optional color chips followed by a floor finish to ensure durability and protect the base color and color chips. With this system, the floor never again needs to endure the time intensive, and highly toxic, stripping process. While the system requires an initial investment, it is greatly outweighed by the long-term benefit of minimized facility downtime (often cutting downtime by 50%), less labor costs for polish upkeep and extended life of the resilient surface.
As the resilient industry continues to grow and evolve, facilities will need to change with the times. It will be important to find solutions that limit facility closures and, even more critically, support sustainability for the future.
By Heather Lindeman, Sr. Communications Manager, Bona
 Global Flooring. (n.d.). Retrieved October 12, 2019, from https://www.freedoniagroup.com/industry-study/global-flooring-3701.htm.