Your Guide to Commercial Flooring Installation: Costs and Process

wood shop flooring

Keeping up with the maintenance on your commercial property is not only a way to protect your investment, it also makes smart business sense. If you have customers coming into your store, then you want to make a good first impression. 

A big part of this is having the right commercial flooring. Matching your flooring to the type of commercial property you have, as well as to your specific needs, is critical. But when it comes to commercial flooring installation, most people don’t know where to start. 

To make things easier for you, and to ensure your commercial flooring installation goes according to plan, here’s a complete guide that covers costs and the process. 

Commercial Flooring Installation 101: How Big is Your Space?

One of the first things people want to know when it comes to commercial flooring installation is how much it’s going to cost. 

However, answering this question is not always so easy. How much you spend on your commercial flooring installation will depend on the nature of your space, as well as the materials you plan to use. 

To help you estimate how much you’re going to spend, do the following: 

Make a Floor Map and Calculate

Calculating how much flooring you have to order is a bit more complicated than just running a tape measure along the wall, assuming your space is not a perfect rectangle. 

In these cases, the best thing you can do is make a little drawing of your floorspace, perhaps modelled off the original floor plan if you have access to it. 

Then, using a tape measure, go through and measure the different areas. Remember, to calculate the area you multiply the length by the width. 

After you’ve measured your entire floorspace, add up all the different areas, and this will tell you how many square feet you need to cover, an important metric in figuring out the cost. 

Understand How Flooring is Purchased

Once you’ve got the square footage for your space, you can start to shop around for materials to more accurately budget for your project. 

But one thing to keep in mind is that you may wind up having to get more material than you need. This is because of how these materials are usually sold. 

Typically, you will buy them in either rolls or packages, which includes a certain amount of area. So, let’s say you need 500 square feet total, and each roll is 200 square feet. You will need to buy three to make sure you have enough to cover your entire floor. 

Many places quote their commercial flooring materials at prices per square foot, which is helpful. But it can also lead you to think you’ll be paying less than you actually have to once it’s time to place the order.

Choose a Material

Once you’ve calculated the area you want to cover, the next step in the commercial flooring installation process is to pick the material you’re going to use for your floor. 

Overall, you have a lot of choices. But, depending on the nature of your commercial space, you may have fewer options than you think. Here are some of the most common and practical materials used in commercial commercial installation:  

Carpet

The classic carpet is a common choice for lots of commercial uses, such as an office space or a retail store. However, when buying carpet, you will want to keep a few things in mind: 

  • Make sure to buy a high-traffic grade carpet — Fibers erode over time, and if you don’t buy the right material, you will have to replace your carpet a lot sooner than you want. 
  • Account for subflooring costs —  Carpet usually goes on over a carpet pad, and depending on the state of your subflooring, you may need to have some work done. These aspects of the project need to be included in your estimate. 
  • You may need to close —  Due to the nature of commercial flooring installation, you will likely have to shut down so that the installers can remove all furniture and properly lay you new carpet. You can have carpet tiles installed, which will allow the project to be done in pieces. But these are considerably more expensive.

Typically, carpet will cost you anywhere between $2-$5 per square foot, depending on the specific material.

Tile

Tile provides a sleek and waterproof flooring solution that will certainly help make your commercial space stand out. Typically, tiles are made out of porcelain, which are strong and able to stand up to the immense pressure commercial flooring must endure. 

However, installation is quite a bit more involved, and porcelain is a more expensive material, putting costs at $10 per square foot and above. Therefore, this is only really recommended for smaller commercial spaces. 

Hardwood Floor

Another great option for those with smaller spaces is a genuine hardwood floor. Nothing beats the feel of wood, and it provides great sound insulation and padding for the knees, much more so than tile. 

But like tile, material and installation costs are higher for hardwood floors. Expect to pay anywhere from $10-$25 per square foot. 

Vinyl Planking (LVT)

One material that has become increasingly popular over the years, especially in commercial properties, is vinyl planking. Made from a waterproof vinyl, and designed to look like any floor, from tile to hardwood, these panels are extremely versatile and durable. 

You can install a commercial floor that, at first glance, looks like fancy wood but that actually costs much less and will hold up much better to the abuse. 

Plus, since this type of flooring is installed with planks, you can do it piecemeal and replace a little bit of your floor at a time, preventing costly closures. 

And at $4-$8 per square foot, it’s a much more cost effective material for commercial spaces than some of the other options available to you. 

Rubber Flooring

If you’re looking for something practical and less expensive, for commercial properties that don’t need to worry as much about curb appeal, classic rubber flooring can do the trick. This is what you find in a lot of fitness centers and some industrial spaces. 

Fully waterproof, rubber flooring is also completely slip resistant, which makes it super helpful in a number of different spaces. 

It is a bit more expensive than other materials, around $10 per square foot, but if you have a property where safety is a concern, it might be worth the little extra expense. 

Vinyl Composition Tile (VCT)

Another good option if you need something durable and easy to clean is VCT flooring. This is the material that is most often found in schools and hospitals. It’s economical, extremely tough, and easy to install, a great option for many different commercial spaces. 

Expect to pay around $3-$5 per square foot of VCT flooring.

Epoxy

One additional option for commercial spaces is to simply coat your floor with a protective epoxy. This is especially relevant for those who deal with special chemicals or solvents. 

When you go this route, the other advantage is that you don’t have to worry about the flooring underneath. The epoxy will coat right over the top and provide the same protection. 

Prices vary depending on the type of epoxy used, as well as the material it’s being applied to. 

Tips for a Successful Commercial Flooring Installation 

In the end, which material you use will depend on the specific nature of your business as well as your personal budget. But once you measure your space and choose a material, it’s time to move onto the commercial flooring installation process. 

You’re going to want to hire some professionals to come in and do this, but when you do, keep the following in mind: 

Choose the Right Time

Commercial flooring installation is a fairly involved project. It requires you to clear your space so that the old floor can be removed and the new one can be installed. 

Therefore, give careful consideration to when you do this project. Perhaps try to time it with a slow season, or an inventory turnover, so that you can minimize the burden of the project. 

It’s also important to do this because you want to prevent having to do it. If you leave your commercial flooring for too long, it can degrade and expose your property to damage or become dangerous. 

Prevent this from happening by keeping up with the maintenance and being in control over when you have to replace your flooring. 

Consider Doing Other Projects at the Same Time

Because it’s such an involved project, it might be worth your time to do multiple things at once. Since you’re already redoing the flooring and moving everything around, why not also paint or replace some of the windows. 

Yes, this will drive up the costs in the short-term, but fewer closures is always best, and you may be able to negotiate a better rate with your contractor if you’re giving them more work at once. 

Only Trust Professional Contractors

Speaking of contractors, when it comes time to do some commercial flooring installation, trust only the best. Make sure to check references, look at past work, and use recommendations from friends where you can.