Ask the Expert (Calculating Costs)

What costs should be considered for flooring?

A floor covering, especially for today’s active learning environments, must be durable, maintain its appearance and support the desired instructional-intended design of that space. When considering these factors — and knowing a flooring surface is typically the largest of any surface in a space — specifying the right flooring product is important to get the most for long-term use.

When budgets are tight, it can be tempting to select low-cost or inexpensive flooring. This approach might save money upfront for material and installation cost, but it can have consequences on the back end. Lower-cost flooring may require more maintenance over time, or it might need replacing sooner than expected, costing more money in the long run.

When selecting flooring for an educational environment, facility experts should consider not only the upfront costs, but also the expected total “lifecycle cost of ownership” for that product.

Calculating this cost does not need to be time-consuming. Some industry associations and manufacturers offer tools to help facility executives with this important task, including online calculators that enable users to compare lifecycle costs across various flooring types, including hard surfaces, soft surfaces and textile composite floorings. This allows facility professionals to make informed decisions about product choices and associated costs. Going through the process can ensure that facility professionals maximize the dollars spent on their purchase.

When it comes to flooring, it’s important to know the costs beyond the initial material and installation — including maintenance time, tools and replacement considerations.

This article originally appeared in the December 2016 issue of College Planning & Management.

About the Author

Bob Bethel is the director of Business Development, Education, for J+J Flooring Group. J+J offers an online calculator, Bob can be reached at or 800/241-4586.

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