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How to Choose the Right Flooring for Your Primary School

November 1, 2018, 2:07 GMT+1
Read in 4 minutes
  • Carpets in primary schools are designed to be hard-wearing, but they’re not indestructible – here’s how to choose the right one for you...
How to Choose the Right Flooring for Your Primary School

It’s a given that carpets in primary schools put up with a fair amount of daily punishment and that carpet care can be relatively expensive. If you’re looking for a carpet solution for your school, ESPO’s Flooring Framework (16) can provide you with a simple UK/EU compliant route to procure flooring, saving you valuable time and money.

With some supplier expertise, we’ve provided here some insight into the top three most frequently used carpet types and the best ways to tackle common forms of damage.

Fibre-bonded carpets

These are the most commonly used carpets in schools, consisting of synthetic fibres that are needled together to produce a robust and ribbed, felt or tiled product. It’s ideal for busy schools due to its durability, and although it can have a rough texture, is widely used and typically priced at around £24/m² supplied and installed. However, as the carpet is permanently bonded to the sub-floor, certain types of damage will require a call-out for repairs. Our ESPO Flooring framework provides access to highly experienced suppliers who can offer a full range of quality services that are ideal for school environments.

Vinyl flooring

The second most frequently used carpet type in schools is favoured due to its durable wear layer, easy cleanability and water resistance. It has similar properties to fibre bonded carpets, in that it’s hard-wearing and permanently bonded to the sub-floor. While it costs slightly more in capital outlay (£30/m² on average) its lifecycle compares very favourably. This type of flooring is generally deemed more comfortable and smooth in classroom areas, reduces noise and is easier to look after – all important factors for a busy school.

Carpet tiles

These squares of carpeting are available in a multitude of designs and price points, incorporating fibre bonded, loop or cut pile. Tiles are becoming increasingly popular, though as yet not everyone is aware of how their ease of preparation, installation and maintenance makes them a good flooring solution for schools. The overall cost can be greater depending on the tiles used, but they’re typically quick to install, heavy-duty and built to last. Another major benefit is that they’re easy to maintain – if any damage occurs, individual tiles can be removed or replaced in-house, with no need for supplier call-outs.


To prevent and minimise carpet damage, regular cleaning in line with the manufacturer’s instructions is vital. With vinyl flooring, spillages can be easily wiped away, but note any damage to welds or physical breaks. Liquids that manage to penetrate the vinyl can sometimes react with the adhesives underneath and cause the vinyl to de-bond, which is why it’s important to always get any vinyl welds or breaks repaired.

Vinyl can also be at risk from point loading, which occurs when the rubber feet on chairs become detached, leaving exposed tube edges. When those chairs are leant back on, the tube edges dig into the vinyl, causing dents – so make sure your chairs are protected with rubber feet.

Further information on flooring with regards to supply, fit or refurbishment can be found by viewing ESPO’s framework at

Thanks to John from Contraflor for providing his expertise.

Guy Swanson is procurement officer at the professional buying organisation ESPO.

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