Flooring

In the Discovery Centre at RSPB Minsmere, Suffolk, flooring communicates useful facts as well as being hard- wearing and waterproof RSPB/ISG Jackson
In the Discovery Centre at RSPB Minsmere, Suffolk, flooring communicates useful facts as well as being hard-wearing and waterproof RSPB/ISG Jackson

Flexible learning spaces need durable, slip-resistant, easily cleaned flooring. Carpet is never suitable for creative wet activities.

It is important that floor coverings are able to cope with heavy use and a range of activities, especially wet work. Mistakes are often made with the colour of the flooring, with venues choosing pale or light colours; these are impractical in terms of cleaning, and readily show stains.

The type of flooring used will affect noise levels. Stone, tiles and concrete are cold and noisy, and dropped items are more likely to shatter. A wood floor is warm and handsome but is still noisy and will need higher maintenance in an art-making space, with stripping and resurfacing every two years with a matt varnish – if the maintenance budget allows. Lino is quiet; it is a good-value, easily available, solution that comes in a variety of types and at variable cost; but bear in mind that it is unsuitable for underfloor heating.