If you’ve ever eaten at a buffet, you’ve probably been as overwhelmed as church leaders can be when they face the many options available for church design these days. There are so many possibilities that it sometimes seems impossible to know how to make the right choice. This is part of the reason we started our free i3 webinar series: by giving you information about the many options available, we can help you make the right decisions for your church.
A big part of making the right decision starts by taking a good look at your church’s vision. The goal for your church design should be to convey your ministries to guests and members alike. The idea is well put in Psalm 127:1 “Unless the Lord builds the house, the builder labors in vain.” By focusing on your church’s vision, the correct design choices will become clear.
Church Design Is Built from the Floor Up
It’s important to keep in mind that the flooring you chose will dictate and influence the rest of the design choices you’ll have to make, because it’s not as easy to change as wall color, lighting and furnishings. Our most recent post was entirely devoted to carpet options—and that’s just one type of flooring available for your new or renovated church design.
In this post, we’ll go over a handful of other possibilities, but let’s start by narrowing the field. Many of the flooring options you see at home improvement stores are not suitable for churches. Why? Well, think about the average number of people who walk through your house on any given week—probably no more than a dozen, unless you’re hosting a large dinner party that week. A church, on the other hand, has hundreds (sometimes thousands) of pairs of feet walking through it every single week. As a responsible church leader, you must choose commercial-grade flooring types that have been created to sustain a high volume of foot traffic. In addition to durability, you will find that warranties will also require you to install commercial flooring in your church building. It may be required by fire code as well.
Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT)
Fortunately, this restriction isn’t going to mean that your church floors will look like grandma’s did, with ugly, cracking vinyl tiles in colors left over from the sixties. Today’s vinyl tiles are modern and fresh, as you can see in this image from Crossview Church in Grabill, IN. The café looks like it’s surrounded by wood, but that’s actually luxury vinyl tile (LVT). The tiles are shaped in long, narrow planks to look like wood. But unlike real wood, they are low maintenance and easy to clean. LVT is also available in a stone look.
Another high quality flooring choice is porcelain tile, as you can see here at Bethany Wesleyan Church in Cherryville, PA. It’s harder and more durable than LVT, which makes a powerful vision statement about the enduring nature of your church and its ministries. But porcelain can be noisier to walk upon, so if your church tends toward the formality of hard-soled shoes and high heels, you might prefer a quieter option. Porcelain tiles also involve grout, which has to be sealed and cleaned regularly.
A final flooring possibility we’ll discuss in this post is stained concrete, as you see here at the Gateway Church of the Nazarene in Oskaloosa, IA. This can be an excellent choice for more “hip” areas of your church design, because the stain color and design options are only limited by your imagination. If involving youth is key to your church vision, they’re likely to feel at home with a stained concrete floor. The downside of concrete is that it can crack, and the cracks can’t be covered up once they appear.
As we’ve said before, you only get one chance to make a great first impression. By thinking carefully about how to incorporate your church vision into your church design, especially with lobbies and cafés, you can attract guests who will feel they fit into your church and its ministries. With our next post, we’ll move to a discussion of wall finishes.