In New York City, people spend a lot of time looking around. Tourists gaze at the skyscrapers, fashionistas window-shop and traders peruse the markets. But not much thought is probably given to our homes and the floors beneath our feet.
To find out about the latest trends and technical developments in flooring, we spoke to some experts and took a good long look at the options available for the floors in your building common areas.
Who's the Floor For?
When considering replacement and installation of new flooring in common areas, the condo or co-op board should start with questions. How much traffic does the area get, and what kind of foot traffic? Are these floors mostly walked upon by residents, maintenance staff, or both? Do any safety or special precautions need to be made (consider elderly residents, children/strollers, animals)? How much can you spend now, and how much can you afford on any necessary upkeep or cleaning? Does it need to help absorb sound in high traffic areas?
There are many people who need to be involved in the process of answering these questions, and for good reason. Not only is the flooring in common areas there for the treading pleasure of a building’s residents, it is also a reflection of the building to visitors and potential buyers. A prospective owner looking at numerous real estate candidates might have their final decision come down to how much they hate the battered linoleum in the hallways of a property or how much they love the bold, graphic carpet in the lobby. “I think overall, hallway and lobby renovations have a direct impact on the value of the apartment, the time it takes to sell an apartment and the overall curb appeal of the building,” says Jeanette Hubley, principal designer of Manhattan-based Hubley Design Interiors, LLC.
The voices that should be involved in the flooring replacement conversation should include the budget and finance committee of a building’s board, who can decide how much a building can afford to spend and how they will spend it. Additionally, members of the board should work together to select the design and renovation company best suited for the job. Depending on the size of your building, you might even consider “auditioning” different swatches or tile samples in an inconspicuous spot in your lobby to gauge public opinion. Though, make sure residents know that ultimately, the board will make the decision or you could find yourself if a month-long battle of porcelain versus granite.