The flooring dance

The flooring dance

Make the right moves and you'll waltz your way into a beautiful relationship with floors that are a treat for your functionality and budget.
Jun 01, 2008

First impressions: Porcelain tile welcomes visitors with a touch of class at Animal Medical & Surgical Center in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Marry the right flooring to the right part of your veterinary hospital and your entire practice will be perfectly in step. Install the wrong materials underfoot and the whole place will feel out of rhythm. If you make a flooring mistake, you can absolutely correct your error—but not until you've endured upheaval and grumbling staff members and clients, not to mention plenty of wasted money. So it's in your best interest to get your flooring right the first time. Think of the chart on the following pages as the dating stage: Take it slow, pinpoint your likes and dislikes, and don't make any proposals until you're absolutely sure.

Illustration by Gail Armstrong.


Cost: Least expensive

Durability: Long-lasting, but somewhat prone to chipping and cracking.

Maintenance: Regular resealing, especially in kennel areas to prevent urine absorption.

Your options: Various types of sealants and treatments, including alkali-and fade-resistant pigments and stain. Beware that the colors and patterns achieved with pigment dying and staining are uneven and unpredictable, so be sure you like the look.

Where to install it: Utilitarian areas, especially the kennel. Reserve stained concrete for public and reception areas; the stain doesn't stand up to the abuse it would receive in the kennel.

Tip: If you're longing for porcelain tile but your budget won't allow it, consider installing colored or stained concrete. It's less expensive and you can easily lay tile over it later when your budget allows.