Definition of floor: floor is defined as the lower level of a room on which one may walk.
Definition of finish: according to the concise oxford English dictionary, finish is to complete the manufacture or decoration of something by giving it an attractive surface appearance. It can also be defined as an end or final stage. Also defined as the manner at which a manufactured article is finished.
Definition of floor finishes: from the above, we can simply denote that floor finishes are those materials that are used to give our floor surfaces its final, attractive, functional and durable last touch.
Considerations for disables and encumbrances include
Flatness: especially for wheelchair users, floor finishes must be assuredly flat and smooth to enable free slide and movement of the chair tires on the floor while in contact. Floor finishes that are not flat and smooth cause some kind of turbulent movement while wheelchairs and any other carriers for disables are moving or sliding on them. Whether in wheeled equipment or not people who can’t walk or barely managing to walk should not be exposed to places with differences in levels. The ground here should be relatively flat and same with the type of finishes chosen in such places.
Slip resistance: floor finishes must have good foothold and wheel grip especially when wet. Some areas that might mostly be exposed to wetness should be covered with materials that have high slip resistance. The finish materials must be ensured to
Have surface roughness which will help keep foot on a good grip.
To avoid use of waxes, polishes and other finishes as these would simply make the floor more slippery unless otherwise (specially) designed.
Use profiled tiles especially in areas like shower rooms.
Also to note, sports areas like gymnasia, baseball halls, basketball halls, swimming pool halls, etc are to be covered with slip resistance finishes.
How to measure slip resistance.
Slip resistance is measured using the transport research laboratory (TRL) pendulum test. (This is the test preferred by Health and Safety Executive (HSE) as against other forms of measurements which might include Health and Safety Laboratory (HSL) ramp test, surface roughness measurement, tortus test etc; of which tortus is not very recommended as its results especially under wet conditions are not highly reliable). This measurement under TRL test is supposed to detect the Slip Resistance Value expressed as SRV which enables us know the amount of friction each floor finishing would provide. An SRV of 36-74 is considered satisfactory while above 75 is simply excellent. However the recommended minimum SRV is 40. Check out the table below for better guidance.
Pendulum results (four-S rubber)Potential for slip0-24High25-35Moderate36-64LowPendulum result in relation to slip potential (from the assessment of pedestrian slip risk HSE 2004)
Roughness: here vinyl floors come to mind. They generally have a good foot hold and wheel chair grip. No matter what circumstances these floors might be subjected; like wetness; they still maintain good walk-ability
Color: the color of any floor is just very important. Aside setting the mood for every space it is used in; it can also help people with sight/vision defects see properly in an environment. Some people with certain defects do not detect some colors very well. It helps them in definition of spaces and visual contrast. In homes for people with these defects, the color of the material to be used to finish the floor should be taken into serious consideration.
Glare and reflection avoidance: for people with eye defects, the floor materials shouldn’t reflect light and glare as these could be harmful to their eyes.
Characteristics of Floor Finishes
Functional: they should be able to serve its purpose. For whatever reason those finishes were chosen; it should be able to fulfill them.
Durable: they should not only serve well but also serve for a very long time. That means for every floor finish chosen; they should be of great economic value.
Safety: these materials should be absolutely of no harm. Not with intention to harm by producers, some materials do emit some harmful and toxic substances into the air which can be very harmful to humans when inhaled.
Aesthetic: floor finishes must look appealing to the eyes. The aesthetical value of a floor finish is one of the things that make or mar an interior or exterior decoration. The finish chosen must rhyme with other factors within the space example paint, light, furniture etc in order to create a balance and boost the effort of the decorator.
Cost effective: it’s not necessary that one has to spend a lot of money just to finish one’s floor. Some floor finishes are still of great value and yet very affordable.
Environmental issues: The choice of the environment should be considered. Some materials do not thrive very well in some weathers. Some wear and tear out. Others become unnecessarily hot or just very cold.
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