Saturday, July 20, 2013

Choosing Flooring for an Art Studio

Choosing Flooring for an Art Studio

This was one of the biggest decisions I faced when building my new studio. It can be surprisingly complicated. What type of flooring would be best? Hardwood? Wood laminate planks? Ceramic tile? Sheet vinyl? Vinyl tile? Or some sort of composite material?

Whatever I ultimately selected, it had to meet three criteria: the flooring had to be relatively inexpensive, it had to be something my husband and I could install ourselves, and it had to be able to stand up to spills, drips and paint splops.


Wood

I rejected hardwood flooring right off the bat. It's gorgeous and is often seen in galleries but I knew that its beauty alone would inhibit me from flinging paint with wild abandon. It's also rather pricey and requires professional installation. Ka-ching, ka-ching.

Wood laminate plank flooring held more appeal: it's tough and can stand up to abuse, while being very easy to clean. I had wood laminate in my first studio and loved its good looks, but I wasn't sure I wanted it in the new studio. For one thing, it's susceptible to water damage, which concerned me. Water is essential in my studio -- buckets of it. An accidental spill can destroy a laminate floor. So I decided wood laminate was out.

Ceramic tile

Ceramic tile is lovely and easy to clean but standing on it several hours a day is mighty hard on the legs and back. Since I work standing up for hours at a time, ceramic tile wouldn't do at all.

Composite flooring

I did consider a resilient type of flooring that's used in daycare centers and on playgrounds, but soon rejected this option. It costs the earth and was available only in dark colors. Not for me.

Vinyl

Vinyl flooring is what I ultimately chose. I had used loose lay sheet vinyl in my second studio, to protect the hardwood flooring underneath it, and really liked it. Vinyl is offered in a wide range of prices, styles and colors, including both tiles and sheet vinyls. Sheet vinyl is available in the familiar glue-down type, or, for easier installation, a loose lay type that's rolled out and trimmed to fit but requires no adhesive. Sheet vinyl can survive spills: acrylic paint spilled on it cleans up nicely with a damp rag. For me, that feature was a key selling point. I selected a modified loose lay sheet vinyl from Lowes that's heavier and thicker than most. It's a nice light color (a stone-look in a medley of creams and tans) that reflects rather than absorbs light. Not only is it going to be easy on my feet and back, it was equally easy on the budget, at only around $1.25 per square foot. I think it will prove to be a good choice.









3 comments:

  1. I'm thinking of removing carpet from a building that I want to use as my oil painting studio as well as a place to offer art lessons. Like you, Vinyl is at the top of my list, but I am also considering using sealed, finished OSB (Oriented Strand Board). Still in the research stage. How has your Vinyl floor held up for you?

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  2. Thank you for your inquiry, Mary! I'm still extremely happy that I chose vinyl flooring for my studio. It has held up great, despite the fact that it has been subjected to lots of abuse.
    As a working artist, I normally spend 40-50 hours per week in my studio. So my floor is splattered with acrylic paint and mediums, along with spray varnish residue. Once or twice a year I clean up the mess using rags and rubbing alcohol. In between, a damp mopping once in a while is all it gets. It's very easy to clean.
    I've found there are a couple of other benefits to the vinyl as well. Because I chose a thicker than usual resilient vinyl, it's so much easier on my feet, knees and back. I tend to work mostly standing, and find this vinyl to be much more comfortable than the hardwood flooring I used to have in a former studio space.
    Finally, there's the added advantage of portability. The vinyl I chose is a loose lay product, which means it's not glued down -- it "floats." If I ever decide to move to another location, I can just roll up the flooring and take it with me.
    I hope this information helps you. Best of luck with your new studio, and thanks so much for stopping by my blog!

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