Linoleum: Traditional linoleum is durable and is made entirely of natu-
Carpet: Most appropriate in quiet areas and crawling spaces. Carpets
ral, mostly rapidly renewable materials. Linoleum does not have the
can retain dust and other allergens to which many children are particu-
plasticizer off-gassing problems associated with vinyl, although the ini-
larly susceptible. If carpets are installed, cleaning equipment must be
tial odor caused by the oxidation of its linseed oil component (a trans-
certified by the Carpet and Rug Institute (C.R.I.). The selection criteria
fatty acid) may cause irritation problems for the most chemically sensi-
for carpet should include a high-quality yarn system with inherent stain
tive persons. It is available in tile or sheet form. Sheet material can be
resistance, a minimum face yarn density of 5000, low-level loop or cut
heat-welded at the seams and covered at the edges, similarly to vinyl
pile construction (maximum pile height, 6 mm), a minimum of 10 stitches
sheet material. It is preferred to vinyl products and should be used
per 25 mm, anti-microbial feature, and 1800 mm minimum wide goods
instead of vinyl (unless there is an over riding reason for not selecting
with non-PVC backing system. The recommended backing system
linoleum or other appropriate natural, more easily maintained material).
should be permanently bonded, with a permanent moisture barrier, in-
Rubber: Rubber is natural material, very durable and is a second pref-
stalled with factory pre-applied adhesive, and seams sealed on-site.
erence after linoleum.
The designer also should consider using a carpet pattern which does
Sealed concrete: Economical and appropriate for hard surface areas.
not accentuate wear. Carpets, including area carpets or rugs, carpet
With an appropriate admixture, stain and finish, it can overcome the
cushions, and adhesives must all bear a Green Label from the Carpet
connotation of "unfriendly" or "industrial," which is often associated with
and Rug Institute indicating that VOC emissions are within the accept-
raw concrete. It should be used in conjunction with carpet.
able range. Mats that do not fall into the above categories should be
Rugs: Rugs provide comfort and are economical. Tripping/slipping
made from natural, rapidly renewable, plant materials such as coir or
hazardscreated by rugs must be addressed through use of proper
underlayment pads designed for rugs or by the use of effective edge
jute. Adhesives are to be the least toxic, effective products.
binding and transitions. Non-slip surfacing on the reverse side of "throw"
The carpet must be recyclable to reduce contribution to the nation's
rugs is essential.
waste stream, as per Executive Order.
Ceramic tile: Ceramic tile provides a durable, hard surface flooring and
Flooring for wet areas, general: Provide slip resistant materials in wet
is traditionally used in restrooms. Larger-sized tiles minimize grout joints,
areas, children's toilets, and kitchens. Evaluate materials based upon
which must be sealed upon initial installation in order to maintain a hy-
their life-cycle cost, including durability, ease of cleaning, health and
gienic surface. Ceramic tile may include some amount of pre- and/or
environmental impacts as primary considerations.
post-consumer recycled content, depending on the product. Tile used
Sheet vinyl: Sheet vinyl is not a recommended finish, as it contains chlo-
must be slip resistant.
rine. Though it is currently installed in many centers it should not be
used in new or renovation projects. Where there is no alternative, for
patching exsisting work, plastic flooring which does not contain chlorine
may be used. See Section 9.1 for environmental concerns about vinyl,
as well as a note above on "sheet vinyl."
Because it is economical, the majority of children's areas will have acoustical
Resilient vinyl tile: While this material is economical as a first cost, it
ceiling tile, 20 mm to 25 mm thick, with effective acoustical ceiling treatment.
requires higher maintenance than sheet vinyl and linoleum. Both are
Where fluorescent fixtures which are integral with the ceiling must be used
highly maintenance intense. It cannot form a moisture barrier because
because the ceiling is too low for suspended fixtures, 600 mm x 600 mm
it has many joints. See Section 9.1 for environmental concerns about
baffled fixtures will render a less institutional appearance and offer greater
vinyl as well as a note above on "sheet vinyl."
flexibility. Where feasible, baffled fixtures should be used. However, the
designer should consider the benefits of incorporating other materials which
will render a more home-like environment, such as wall board bulkheads
and soffits where practical, as well as a variety of lighting type.
PBS-140 - July 2003