With a diverse range of subjects taught in secondary schools, Dave Ford, Specification Manager at Altro, considers the key criteria when specifying flooring for specialist teaching spaces.

Standard secondary school classroom floors have to deal with a lot of feet and furniture. Around 30 pairs of feet regularly come, go, or rest on the floor; add to that 30 bags, 30 chairs and many table legs and it’s clear that the floor needs to be tough. But in any secondary school there are many other specialist spaces with additional criteria to consider when looking at specifying floors or walls.

Art/CDT rooms

No surprises here. Art room floors contend with a lot of contaminants, such as chalk dust and muddy water from clay work. Flooring needs to be easy to sweep up and clean up, without pupils slipping up. A CDT room floor presents different slip hazards, such as sawdust and on top of this, it needs to house heavy equipment and will see regular wheeled traffic.

Look to specialist safety floors here, such as Altro Classic 25, with a high level of slip resistance to reduce the slip risk to one in a million, even with that muddy water and Altro Easyclean Technology, making it easier to clean up. At 2.5mm it’s tough enough to cope with art props or heavy equipment being dragged around the room, with the added benefit of comfort underfoot.

CDT room walls will regularly be knocked, scuffed and bumped. It’s a working space and should look like one but regular painted walls will end up with chunks missing, paint flaking off, scratches, scuffs and more. A freshly painted wall will soon look as though it was decorated years ago. This is an area perfect for wall protection such as Altro Fortis Titantium, which is dense impervious and resistant to bumps.

Computer labs/server rooms

These rooms have a simple function: protect the equipment that’s kept there, particularly if it’s static-sensitive. It’s also not somewhere you want to decorate regularly, so it needs to have a floor that goes the distance and is easy to maintain. Look to specialist options such as Altro Walkway 20 SD, a static-dissipative floor, reducing static build-up that has the potential to damage valuable equipment – both in terms of cost and how vital it is in the day to day running of the school. There’s also the added reassurance of its fire standards’ compliance in an area that has a higher fire risk than other spaces. Its 10-year guarantee ensures no disruption to the computer systems caused by repairs to, or replacement of, the floor before this time.

Libraries/study rooms

For individual learning, small group discussions or browsing the shelves, libraries and study rooms need impact sound reduction from feet within the room. No longer dusty, off-putting spaces, these rooms should feel warm, welcoming and comfortable. With foot traffic mainly in front of the shelves and around chairs and desks, the floor needs to be able to withstand busy use.

Look for flooring such as Altro Orchestra which offers comfort underfoot and 15dB sound reduction, as well as resistance to residual indentation ensures the floor’s thickness is only a benefit, with the weight of heavy shelves and other furniture needed in these rooms causing no problem.

Science labs

Science labs experience dropped experiments, amongst other mishaps, with the floor taking the brunt. Add to these trollies of scientific equipment coming in and out of the lab, plus students rocking back and forth on stools, and you’ve got the need for a tough safety floor. Look to heavy duty options such as Altro Reliance, which offers the ideal combination of good chemical resistance, cleanability, stain resistance and durability that a lab needs to look good for the long haul. And that stool rocking? Even if the rubber feet are rocked loose, 2.5mm thick Altro Reliance can withstand the pressure from the metal studs underneath that could pierce a thinner floor. With a high level of slip resistance, staff and students are also safe from slips caused by water accidental spills.

Music rooms

The sound you want to hear inside a music room is the music being played. The sound you don’t want to hear outside the music room, is the music being played. It’s a balancing act. An acoustic floor will reduce impact sound – footsteps within and below the rooms, chairs and other furniture being pulled across the floor. A good option here is Altro Serenade, an acoustic floor, reducing impact sound by 19dB. At 3.9mm thick it also provides welcome comfort underfoot to music teachers, who stand for much of the teaching day.

And for music rooms – and all creative spaces – consider Altro Whiterock Digiclad, which allows you to choose from patterns or photographic images, either from our pre-designed collection, or your own design, using a straight-forward ordering process. Durable and with scratch-resistant properties, the chosen design will retain its looks.

Adhesive-free options

Adhesive-free floors have been a breakthrough product in the last decade, and when Altro adhesive-free floors can save you up to 50% on time, up to 50% CO2 and up to 35% in cost, you can see why their popularity has grown. With 14dB impact sound reduction, they can help with acoustics in noisy classrooms and during the lunchtime rush. No odours from adhesive and quick overlay of existing tiles, even with asbestos, means less disruption and less downtime when you need it most. In the last year alone, Altro has added two new adhesive-free ranges, including Altro Stronghold adhesive-free for commercials kitchens and the highest slip-risk areas plus Altro Illustra, a class-leading safety floor with stunning natural aesthetic designs.

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