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Seeing the Future: Designing for Long-Term Value vs. Price
When you’re giving a presentation on design options, your clients probably don’t expect you to talk about cleaning products. But when you consider the total cost of a major design purchase over its lifetime, maintenance costs are usually the biggest part of the equation. These costs, which include cleaning equipment, labor and chemicals, can vary significantly, depending not only on the type of finish, but on its use, traffic levels and desired appearance.
As you know, perception is important. According to a Morpace Omnibus poll, appearance heavily influences whether or not a customer will patronize a store, and a Harris poll reveals that 86% of U.S. adults have negative impressions when floors are dirty. Helping your clients connect the dots between design decisions, perceived cleanliness and maintenance costs can go a long way to promote choices with long-term value.
Adding it Up
Maintenance costs are especially relevant to flooring, the one surface with which customers almost always have contact. According to calculations made by our flooring maintenance experts, a 10,000-square foot high-maintenance floor will cost over $36,000 each year to maintain—nearly three times more than a low-maintenance floor. Over ten years, this same low-maintenance floor will save nearly $140,000 compared to a high-maintenance option.
These are compelling differences. Calculating lifetime maintenance costs provides you with tangible data which you can use to convince your clients of the long-term value of one choice over another. You can also use the subject of maintenance to open a larger discussion of Life Cycle Cost Analysis, or LCCA, with your clients. This holistic approach considers all the costs associated with a purchase, including initial cost, replacement cost, maintenance and disposal. Armstrong Flooring offers a helpful Life Cycle Cost Analysis whitepaper that can help you estimate these costs for your project.
Low Maintenance, High Quality
Advances in flooring technology have led to low-maintenance products that may have a higher initial cost per square foot but which save significantly over the life of the space. Some flooring products can be maintained with a simple program of sweeping, mopping, and periodic spray or dry buffing. Polishing is optional for these products, and they may not require stripping and recoating, either. This translates into less labor, fewer chemicals, lower environmental impacts and significantly lower maintenance costs. To that end, Armstrong Flooring developed a special stain-, scratch-, and scuff-resistant coating called Diamond10 Technology, which is used in several low-maintenance product lines.
Design and Perception
After talking in general terms about how various products differ in terms of maintenance, you can hone in on how specific design decisions can impact maintenance costs. Designers have several tools at their disposal to help create the right aesthetic for the specific retail or office environment, but which can also positively influence the perceived cleanliness and newness. For example, color, pattern, texture and gloss all have an effect on how scratches, scuffs and stains are perceived. Active patterns have more hiding power than quiet ones. Lighter colors disguise dust and scratches well, while darker tones are better at hidings scuffs. More textured surfaces scatter light more than a smooth, glossy floor, drawing the eye away from stains and spots.
This helpful infographic illustrates the many enduring benefits that can be gained by making design decisions with long-term value in mind.