There is a lot to think about when it comes to how your restaurant will look. In addition to making choices about what your chairs and tables will look like, you also have to choose bigger items – like flooring. This can be daunting, particularly when whatever floor you chose will cost thousands of dollars and will have to withstand heavy foot traffic.
There are many different choices for restaurant dining room floors, from commercial grade carpet to vinyl to concrete. Each comes with its own distinct advantages and disadvantages that you will have to evaluate to pick a flooring option that works best for your restaurant. Ultimately, you should choose something that fits your budget, that is durable and easy to clean, and that works with your design aesthetic.
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What Flooring Features Are Best for Restaurant Dining Rooms?
When it comes to dining room floors, the best choice for a restaurant is rarely what you would put in your own home. After all, if everything goes to plan, your restaurant floors will see a LOT of traffic. For this reason, it is important to choose a flooring option that meets your design goals and that can withstand lots of wear and tear.
When you are making your choose, consider the following features:
- A Hard Surface Built for High Traffic: while certain flooring options may be beautiful, they may not be able to withstand the day-to-day wear and tear of dozens (or more) people walking across it, dropping things, and pushing chairs in and out repeatedly.
- Slip Resistant: as a restaurant owner, you don’t want anyone – employees or customers – to get hurt by falling on your floors. While any floor can be slippery when wet, avoid high glossy or ultra smooth surfaces that may lead to falls even when perfectly dry.
- Waterproof: no matter how well-trained your staff may be, spills are going to happen in your restaurant – and they may not always be cleaned up immediately. Try to choose a floor that can withstand moisture so that you aren’t replacing your floors within a few years.
- Easy to Clean: your dining room floors will need to be cleaned on a daily or near-daily basis. The easier it is to clean and sanitize, the better!
- Resistant to Wear & Tear: even less expensive flooring options can be quite an investment. You want to make sure that whatever you choose holds up over time, and that it isn’t showing its age within just a few years.
- Dent Resistant: just like spills, people are going to drop things on your dining room floor. Avoid floors that dent easily – which will make your dining room look dingy and dated much more quickly.
- Lots of Color Options: flooring isn’t just about durability – it is also about how it looks. Whatever your design may be, you want a floor that goes with it, so look for brands that offer different choices.
- A Commercial Warranty: the last thing you want is for your floor to fail after a year or two, only to find out that the company doesn’t offer a warranty for commercial use. Be sure to check the warranty before making a purchase.
By taking these items into consideration, you’ll make a decision that doesn’t just look good right now – but for years in the future. Budget will also come into play, but remember that you don’t want to be penny wise and pound foolish. After all, you may save money in the short-term by using an inexpensive option like peel and stick tiles – but is it really saving money if you have to replace the floor within a year or two?
Dining Room Floor Options for Restaurants
Restaurant owners have more choices than ever before when it comes to floors. You are no longer limited to the basics – there are a whole range of options that are designed to last longer, be more attractive, and fit in your budget. Below, we list some of the most popular flooring types for restaurant dining rooms and discuss the pros and cons of each.
Photo via Pixabay
Hardwood floors are a classic option for a reason: they are beautiful and warm. Some restaurants – particularly those operating in older buildings – have the advantage of having existing hardwood floors. But if you’re installing a floor in your dining room, should you choose hardwood?
There are a lot of advantages to hardwood floors. They are a timeless style that can be adapted to suit different designs by choosing different woods or finishes. They are also relatively easy to clean with daily mopping and sweeping.
While they can be expensive to install, hardwood floors typically don’t need to be replaced. Instead, if your floors are looking worn, you can refinish them for a much lower cost than a full replacement.
However, there are disadvantages to hardwood flooring. The biggest obstacle for many restaurant owners is the cost – it is one of the more expensive flooring options.
Hardwood floors are also prone to dents and scratches, which can make them a poor choice for high traffic areas like restaurant dining rooms. Along the same lines, wood floors aren’t waterproof. In fact, they can be damaged and warped by excess moisture or water left standing on them.
This type of flooring is also higher maintenance than other choices. They will need to be polished fairly regularly, and cleaned using cleaners that are specially designed for hardwood floors. For these reasons, few restaurants choose to install hardwood floors over other types of flooring.
Photo via Digital Buggu
Luxury Vinyl Tile or Plank
In recent years, luxury vinyl tile or plank – designed to look like wood or other natural materials – have become incredibly popular. They tend to be less expensive than many other flooring options, and are both durable and waterproof.
There are good reasons to install luxury vinyl products in your restaurant dining room. First and foremost, it is one of the least expensive options available. It typically costs $2 to $7 per square foot to install, which means that you can cover a large surface area for a relatively low price.
Luxury vinyl tile or plank is fully water resistant, so you don’t have to worry about moisture damaging the floors. Commercial grade vinyl is very durable, and able to withstand heavy foot traffic. It is also easy to clean and maintain, with just sweeping and/or mopping required.
Newer technology, such as rigid core construction, makes vinyl planks and tiles sturdier and more dent resistant. It is also easy to install, which means that it may be possible to install it yourself over an existing floor in your restaurant dining room. With many colors and textures available, it is also possible to select a vinyl product that meets your design goals.
While luxury vinyl floors are durable, they are softer and weaker compared to other flooring options like concrete, hardwood, tile, and laminates. As a result, it may be punctured by sharp objects – like dropped knives – or dented with heavy furniture.
Vinyl tile and plank may also fade when exposed to UV light, which means that it may not be a great choice if you have a sunny dining room. They can also be difficult to remove if you use the glue-down installation method, which makes them difficult to replace. Overall, while there are some drawbacks to luxury vinyl floors, they are often a good stylish, cost-effective, low maintenance option for many restaurants.
Photo via Dmitry Zvolskiy
Polished concrete floors have become more popular in recent years, and for good reason. In addition to being incredibly durable, it is often a far more cost-effective option than other types of floors. This is particularly true if you have a lot of square footage to cover, as prices range from as little as $2 per square foot to $30 per square foot.
There are many benefits to concrete floors for high traffic areas like restaurant dining rooms. Because it is so strong and resilient, polished concrete can withstand the pressure of high foot traffic. It is difficult to damage and nearly impossible to chip or scratch.
A properly installed, sealed and maintained concrete floor will last for decades even in harsh conditions. This can save you even more money over time, as you won’t need to replace worn or damaged flooring. It is also easy to maintain, requiring a daily mop or sweep and a weekly damp mop to remove scuffs and water marks and to restore gloss.
Polished concrete is also resistant to waterproof – or even waterproof, depending on the coating. Because the floor doesn’t have cracks or crevices, it is also more sanitary than floors that can trap food and dirt.
Finally, there are endless design options for polished concrete floors. You can simulate the look of pricier materials with different color and texture options. You can also add decorative touches, such as engraved graphics, onto the surface.
There are some drawbacks to polished concrete floors. They can be slippery, particularly when wet. A non-slip epoxy coating can add texture and reduce the likelihood of falls and injuries.
Polished concrete is a hard, cold surface. This means that it can be uncomfortable to stand on for long periods of time – something that your staff certainly won’t appreciate. It will also feel cold in the winter, which can be overcome with radiant heating installed during installation.
These types of floors can also be very loud, like ceramic tile or natural stone. As a result, diners may complain about not being able to hear their companions as they eat. You can add acoustic elements, like area rugs, drapes, or acoustic wall panels to absorb some of the sound.
The last drawback of polished concrete as a flooring surface is that a lot of its benefits depend on proper installation and maintenance. For example, if the floor isn’t properly finished and sealed, it is susceptible to moisture. This can lead to the growth of mold or mildew, which will impact both the look and the durability of the surface.
Cork flooring has been around for years, yet has recently come into vogue because it is a “green” choice – made from a renewable resource. It comes from the bark of the cork oak tree, harvested from living trees. To create the flooring, the cork is ground up, compressed, and then formed into sheets that are bonded with resin.
There are some big advantages to choosing cork for your floors. It is a relatively inexpensive choice, coming in a $2 to $12 per square foot plus installation. It is easy to install and maintain, requiring regular sweeping, vacuuming and damp mopping.
Cork floors have a soft, cushioned surface that can dampen noise and serve as a good insulator. They are also comfortable to walk or stand on, which your staff will surely appreciate. Like hardwood floors, they can be refinished rather than replaced, which helps to keep costs down.
In addition, cork floors are hypoallergenic, anti-microbial, and ecologically friendly. They also lend a more natural look to your restaurant.
However, there are drawbacks to cork floors. For restaurants, the biggest disadvantage is that they are incredibly susceptible to damage from furniture, sharp objects, and foot traffic. They can also fade in sunlight.
Cork floors are also susceptible to water damage. They must be sealed to protect against water stains and damage, and re-sealed periodically. However, water damage can cause cork floors to warp and discolor. High humidity can cause the cork to curl or plump. This may mean that your cork floors will have to be replaced or refinished more frequently than other types of floors.
Photo by Aleksandra Platonova
Epoxy flooring is a synthetic resin that is laid on top of subfloors. While many floor surfaces can have an epoxy coating, an epoxy floor involves multiple layers of epoxy that is at least 2 millimeters thick. Epoxy floors are widely used in commercial and industrial spaces.
There are a number of benefits to an epoxy floor. As an initial matter, epoxy floors are very cost-effective and can be installed over an existing surface without the need to install a separate floor system. When it eventually wears out and needs to be replaced, the cost is also lower because the subfloor does not need to be prepared. Epoxy floors can also be self-leveling, which means that they can be applied over an uneven surface to result in a smooth, even floor.
Epoxy floors have a long lifespan, even with heavy traffic, spills, and dropped items. A professional commercial epoxy floor can last anywhere 20+ years. They are water resistant and easy to both clean and maintain. You can also customize an epoxy floor with colors, designs, patterns, and even metallic elements.
On the other hand, epoxy floors aren’t right for every surface. They may not adhere properly in a moist environment, so if your restaurant has water issues, it may not be the best choice. If there are chronic moisture issues, the epoxy may lift off the floor entirely.
Epoxy floors can also be slippery, particularly when wet. This can be countered by adding a skid-resistant additive to the top coat. Because they are a hard surface, they can also be loud – and cold! In this way, they are similar to polished concrete floors.
Photo via Pixabay
Tile is a common choice in many homes, particularly in areas that may get wet – like kitchens and bathrooms. Because tile tends to be durable and can be quite beautiful, it is popular for both homeowners and business owners.
There are some major advantages to tile. When installed properly, many types of tile will last for decades. High quality tile is difficult to damage, and holds up well over time. If a tile is cracked – which usually only happens due to a heavy impact – it can be replaced relatively easily without putting in a whole new floor.
Tile floors that are well sealed and grouted are resistant to moisture, so it will resist both stains and water. They are also easy to maintain. Any stains or dirt can usually be easily removed by sweeping or mopping.
Finally, tile is often an economical option, with prices often ranging from $5 to $10 per square foot. There are lots of different design options for tile, from beautiful patterns and textures to a range of colors.
There are some disadvantages to using tile. It can be slippery and hard. This means that the chances of someone falling are higher on tile – especially when wet. It also usually isn’t comfortable to stand on for longer periods of time.
Tile is also loud, which can be a drawback for dining room ambiance. Like concrete and epoxy, it may also be cold as it does not absorb and hold onto heat well. These factors should be considered before choosing tile for your restaurant dining room.
Photo via Naim Benjelloun
Laminate floors are a hybrid type of floor that are made of a particle board base that is topped by an image layer and then a transparent protective layer. They are used a bit in both homes and businesses, as they offer some of the best features of wood at a much lower price point. Laminate is different from vinyl floors in that it contains the particle board layer, instead of only vinyl.
Laminate floors have a few big benefits. First, they’re relatively inexpensive, particularly when compared to options like hardwood floors. They also come in a range of colors and mimic the look of real wood.
Because laminate floors have a smooth surface, they are easy to clean. You just need to dry mop or sweep the floors regularly, and then use a hard surface cleaner for deep cleaning. The top layer of laminate floors is fairly touch, which makes them scratch resistant.
While these floors resist scratches, the top layer can chip – particularly when installed in high traffic areas. They are also sensitive to moisture, as the particle board will swell if subjected to water. If the flooring is installed perfectly, with no seams between the planks and waterproof baseboards, it is less likely to swell.
Laminate flooring cannot be refinished, so if it gets damaged, you may have to replace the entire floor. Although it can be durable, over time, it may show dents, chips, and other signs of wear.
Photo via Wewe Yang
Natural stone flooring is an investment – but one that could last forever. Unlike many other flooring options, it can be installed both indoors and outside. If your restaurant has indoor and outdoor seating, this may make it a great choice if you want your flooring to flow from one space to the next.
Stone floors are incredibly durable, and will generally not need to be refinished or replaced. This is a huge advantage, especially in high traffic areas like restaurant dining rooms. Your stone floor will look almost the same in 20 years as it does the day that you install it.
That being said, stone floors are expensive. You can cut down the cost by choosing a natural stone that is quarried locally – but it will still cost a lot more than other options like hardwood. It is also heavy, which means that you will need to make sure that you have a substrate that can handle the additional weight.
Natural stone is both hard and cold, which can increase the likelihood of serious injuries or broken dishes if someone falls or drops something. This also makes natural stone flooring loud, which can be a problem in dining rooms.
Finally, stone floors can be slippery when wet. This can present a fall risk, although it can be mitigated with anti-slip coatings. Water can also damage stone, so you will have to be careful to mop up any spills immediately.
Rubber flooring is exactly what it sounds like: sheets or tiles of rubber laid onto a floor. It can be made from either natural or synthetic rubber, and may even be made from recycled vehicle tires. It is considered a resilient floor, and is often used in high traffic areas.
There are some key benefits to rubber flooring, particularly for commercial applications. First and foremost, it is incredibly durable. If you invest in a rubber floor, it will typically hold up well over time – even with heavy foot traffic, dropped dishes, and chairs and tables being moved.
Rubber floors are comfortable because they are softer than many floor surfaces. It is also naturally slip-resistant, and holds up well to water. It is easy to clean and maintain, in part because rubber has built-in waxes that migrate to the surface over time. This reduces or eliminates the need to wax your floors. These waxes also help push dirt and grime to the surface.
Because rubber is a softer surface, it helps to absorb sound. This can reduce noise, particularly in large areas. It is also a sustainable choice. There are a number of different color and texture options for rubber floors to suit your design needs.
The biggest disadvantage of rubber floors is the cost. It will typically cost more up front to install rubber floors. Over time, however, rubber floors cost less because they will last and come with little in the way of maintenance expenses.
Rubber floors are also more difficult to install than other options, like luxury vinyl plank. The sheets or tiles must be dry fitted before installation because it is a natural product with some variation. It also requires a skilled installer who understands the requirements for the subfloor and adhesive.
Photo via Igor Starkov
When you think of restaurant flooring, carpet may not come to mind immediately. While carpet is a great choice for homes, it may not always work for high traffic areas like restaurant dining rooms. However, there are great options for restaurant carpeting that are cost-effective and durable.
A commercial grade carpet can be a good choice for restaurants. Because of its softer texture, it offers more traction than a hard surface like tile or wood. It also absorbs noise and is soft to walk on, which staff will appreciate.
Many types of carpet are easy to clean and stain-resistant – or can be treated to resist stains. It is also unlikely to show scratches, dents, and other signs of wear. Carpeting often lasts longer than other types of floors.
There are some disadvantages to installing carpet in your restaurant dining room. In particular, carpet has a tendency to trap odor. No matter how often you clean it, it may have a funky smell – which can be off-putting to guests. Some of the potential for odor can be mitigated by sticking to a regular cleaning schedule.
Carpet also has the drawback of looking dated. Most modern restaurants don’t have carpet for a good reason. It also can stain easily, and grow mildew or mold if they get wet. Many customers may be suspicious of carpet, believing that it is dirty or that it cannot be cleaned as well as hard surface floors.
How Budget Branders Can Help
Starting your own restaurant can bring a lot of challenges – like picking out a flooring option that meets your needs. Budget Branders works to ensure that other aspects of running a restaurant are easy – like getting custom-printed disposable products that take your marketing efforts to the next level.
As entrepreneurs ourselves, we know how hard it can be to make so many decisions day-in, day-out. When you choose our company, you will have peace of mind in knowing that you are getting the highest quality products at great prices. All of our products are offered in quantities that work for independently-owned businesses.
Want to learn more? Press the live chat button or fill out our online contact form to request a quote for custom branded disposable products. You can also hit the chat button to speak to someone about a quote for your business.