Flooring plays a big role in a restaurant setting. As one interior element that touches every single customer and every staff member, and one that has major implications for aesthetics, acoustics and safety, the selected material must perform well on many levels and do so in high-traffic settings with minimal maintenance.
Whether specifying for a fast-casual or white-tablecloth restaurant, today’s flooring materials offer a wide range of products and price points. And meeting some of the toughest challenges in the category — especially with regard to balancing aesthetics, maintenance and durability — is now easier than ever. That’s thanks in part to classic standbys but also to newer products in the category, such as porcelain tile and LVT (luxury vinyl tile) products that mimic wood, marble and concrete. Both in quality and affordability, many designers and operators alike say such products are game changers.
“Some of the faux finishes, like porcelain tile that looks like wood, are now so realistic. They’re less expensive, super-durable and never need refinishing. It’s hard to say no to that stuff,” notes Cass Calder Smith, founding principal at CCS Architecture, with offices in San Francisco and New York. He made her comments earlier this year as part of rd+d’s annual Designers Dish! Story.
Beyond offering more resilient, durable, realistic-looking alternatives, designers can customize these products, which translates to tremendous design versatility. The upshot: Restaurants can install high quality, durable and attractive flooring that is also uniquely in keeping with a particular theme or design aesthetic.
Regardless of materials selected, three key flooring selection tips to keep in mind include:
- Performance, slip resistance, and ease of cleaning and maintenance remain paramount in restaurant settings. Beauty without functionality is a recipe for failure and accidents.
- Consider the staff. Concrete or other hard flooring materials might look great for your concept and to seated guests but are tough on employees, who can log miles in an average shift.
- Proper installation is critical so be proactive. Provide your contractor/subcontractor with all necessary information from the flooring manufacturer on exactly what installation products and techniques they need to use. Follow up to make sure the contractor adheres to those guidelines. Guesswork on the part of subs can lead to major mishaps and costly do-overs.
Tough, Oil-Finished Hardwood
The Pristine Collection from Nydree elevates the nature’s design through a natural oil finish. The matte finish brings out the variations in each plank to enhance the natural appearance of the wood, while the manufacturer’s acrylic-infusion helps make the flooring scratch resistant. Available in Walnut, Plainsawn White Oak, and Rift & Quartered White Oak, standard in 22/3-, 4- and 5¼-inch widths.
LVT Overprint Options
The Aspecta One Ornamental LVT flooring collection’s overprint designs — Damask, Malta and Masquerade — can be layered randomly on select Aspecta One planks and tiles to create custom looks. The Arabesque Malta motif shown here, dramatically overprinted on 4-foot Shipwright planks, evokes a Moorish influence suitable for use with vintage, mid-century and contemporary interiors.
Unpolished, Fabric-Finish Texture
The Bohemia porcelain tile collection includes fabric-finish texture, earthy colors and large-format and mosaic sizes and trims. Field tiles come in 12-by-24-inch and 24-by-24-inch sizes. Options include bullnose and cove base trims as well as 3-by-3-inch and basket-weave mosaics. The eight colors come in a burlap-like, unpolished finish that’s durable and easy to maintain.
Metal-Look Porcelain Tile
Flowtech porcelain tiles define the style of a public and private environment through an industrial appearance. The weather resistant tile comes in three color variants — burnished, russet and aged bronze — and in a variety of sizes, from large panels (up to 63 by 126 inches) to a number of smaller formats.
Parquet Cement Tiles
This line of Parquet cement tiles creates a herringbone-inspired pattern. Each tile is hand-pressed. The 8-inch-square tiles come in two color schemes: Birch, with shades of grey and white, and Solera, featuring a combination of bright yellow, grey and white. Each box contains 12 tiles and covers 5.2 square feet. Designers can customize this pattern using any color combination from the manufacturers’ palette.
Reclaimed Wood-Look Tile
Offering all the warmth of rustic wooden surfaces, the REDEEM tile collection from Atlas Concorde USA evokes the essence of reclaimed barn wood in a contemporary material. This colored-body porcelain stoneware features a worn aesthetic and comes in planks and mosaics with coordinating trim. Four color choices include: wax, gold, bourbon and ash.
Atlas Concorde USA
Part of Mohawk Group’s Definity hospitality carpet collection, named after Hindi for “echo”, Goonj draws inspiration from floral elements from the William Morris era. The product features a multi-layered texture.
New Slip-Resistant Flooring Colors
Slip-resistant Altro Stronghold 30 features five new colors suitable for a variety of kitchen applications. The line’s 3mm thickness aids with noise reduction and comfort underfoot.
Decorative Sheet Vinyl
DecorArt Rejuvenations flooring, a vinyl sheet collection from Armstrong, now includes a range of updated designs that deliver enhanced realistic visual impact and long-lasting performance. The line also features Armstrong Flooring’s scratch- and stain-resistant coating. Available in three collections — TimberLine, StoneRun and textile-inspired Ambigu (pictured) — the line merges commercial and residential aesthetics, cross pollinating colors and textures for a variety of choices.
Marble-Look Porcelain Tile
Iris Ceramica introduces Marmi 3.0, a marble-look porcelain. With light-filled spaces as the canvas, the veins and visual intrigue of marble combine with glossy tiles in modern hues for a new material perspective. Available in two finishes — natural (honed) or glossy (polished) — with a 9mm thickness in eight marble-like shades. Tile dimensions include 24 by 24, 23 by 12 and 24 by 48 inches.