When you’re thinking about welcoming people into your church, you probably don’t start with the floors. It’s probably a bigger-picture vision of what you want your church building spaces to feel like, and what you want to catch visitors’ attention as they walk into your lobby or worship space. But flooring is—perhaps naturally—the best groundwork for good church interior design. When you have that strong foundation, everything else naturally flows. Therefore, let’s talk more about the importance of floor coverings and some things you need to consider when creating an integrated and welcoming church interior design.
Working From the Outside In
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: You only get one chance to make a good first impression. Therefore your lobby is the most important place to begin discussing your flooring options. Naturally, because it’s the entry space, your lobby floor is subject to the punishing effects of local weather brought inside. It could be snow, rain and salt—or the fading effects of sun and sand if you live in a desert area. We recommend creating a “walk-off” area inside the door, and installing commercial grade walk-off carpet tile in this area. Walk-off carpet eliminates the need for rugs, which can be a tripping hazard. And it performs better than a rug when it comes to cleaning the bottom of everyone’s shoes as they walk through the area. Individual tiles can also be easily replaced if they get too worn or stained.
Adding Pattern and Color to Your Lobby
The depth of this walk-off area will be determined by the amount of wet weather in your area. As you transition in to the lobby, you will want to add additional colors and/or a new pattern to your lobby floor. You can do this by selecting a patterned carpet tile or installing a broadloom carpet with an interesting pattern. In making your decision, you will also want to consider whether you’re going to include a café— in that case you will likely want to consider a hard flooring surface rather than carpet.
Protecting Your Carpeting Investment
This is another reason why we always recommend going with commercial grade flooring for all areas of your church interior design. Residential flooring is not designed to withstand the volume of traffic your church building gets every Sunday, not to mention all your weekday activities and residential materials don’t meet code requirements. We also strongly suggest that, in the name of good stewardship, you consider warranties, which for carpet are often defined as “limited lifetime.” Make sure that the warranty covers edge ravel, de-lamination (the connection between the front and back of your carpet), zippering (when a snagged carpet thread just pulls up, taking the entire weave with it), excessive wear and stain resistance.
Thinking Outside the Carpet Roll for Your Church Interior Design
Of course, carpet isn’t your only option when it comes to flooring. Vinyl flooring has come a long way since your grandmother’s kitchen floor. Rather than sheet vinyl, a newer vinyl product available is referred to as LVT (luxury vinyl tile) and can look like wood or stone, is easily cleaned, and doesn’t need to be stripped and re-waxed. This makes it ideal in cafés, church school classrooms, and other areas that are more likely to encounter spills. Still other options are porcelain tile and stained concrete. Just remember that no flooring is truly maintenance-free. For example, while porcelain tile will wear forever, the grout will stain. This is why it’s important to ask questions about what’s required to maintain each type of flooring, so that you can make choices that fit your church’s maintenance patterns as well as your vision.
To learn more about church interior design, and to see great examples of each type of flooring discussed here, sign up today for our free i3 webinar series.