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Floor and wall solutions for education

The opportunity to redesign or construct new school buildings is often a once-in-a-lifetime experience for teachers, school boards, and the local community. Because education is constantly changing, school buildings should be designed to allow for flexibility to accommodate for future learning styles and technology. Buildings should allow for simple, low-cost expansion.

Altro floors installed in university

Every school plan should incorporate the Department of Education’s Space Allocation Guidelines. It is the responsibility of the design team to fit to these guidelines and include the school districts educational specifications and preferred teaching methods.

Designing for education

Schools have many different areas, all with diverse needs. From classrooms and corridors to faculty lounges and science labs, each area demands its own unique requirements but the need for lasting value is always there.

Altro is a perfect fit for these areas because our products offer:

  • Long-term durability
  • Reduced maintenance
  • Impressive value
  • Safety and hygiene
  • On-trend color palettes

Designing for those with disabilities

Altro floors installed in K12 facilitly

Designing for disability in classrooms is one of the most impactful ways architects can help education. Students with disabilities have just as much right to a quality educational experience as other students. When all students have an accessible and supportive space to learn in, they go on to live happier, healthier lives outside of school.

Architects and designers have to follow a number of strict regulations when they design new school buildings. For example, the ADA requires architects to design schools that provide equal opportunities for able and non-able persons, to ensure the building provides equal access to everyone and allows everyone to experience similar experiences.

By taking a universal design approach we may account for those with disabilities. Universal design allows both able and non-able persons to have similar experiences within a building. This means that students with disabilities aren’t excluded, separated or required to use their own entrances. Instead, designers make every area of the school more accessible.

Mental health spaces in schools

Equally important in modern design is accounting for mental health in schools. Creating environments that promote positive mental health is an important design trend that continues to grow in education design. Designers are charged to make spaces that promote mental health well being and that are:

  • Inspiring
  • Energizing
  • Motivating

When creating these environments in education, incorporating three key fundamentals can help facilitate the rehabilitation process for everyone involved – promoting healing, preventing harm and fostering safety and security.

See our Designing for Behavioral and Mental Health brochure for more information.

Color and design

Ask a teacher what influences learning and you’ll hear teaching methods, how students learn differently, outside influences and the school’s curriculum. Chances are they won’t mention classroom finishes, such as the color of the flooring

Inherent in everything we do and see, color influences everyday life through our productivity, communication and emotion.

Altro floors and walls in a bright classroom

Emotions brought about by color can influence a student’s work or study habits. Studies show a direct link between color and feelings, certain colors promoting positive and others negative. The right color helps denote a room’s purpose - relaxation, studying, collaboration, test-taking and more.

When it comes to flooring color selection, there is no silver bullet. Looking at the effects of color and translating that into the learning space’s purpose can serve as a guide on what colors fit where.

  • Promote learning, while not overpowering students with neutrals, by using greens and blues as the base of classrooms and libraries.
  • Add splashes of bright color to areas that demand attention (chalkboard, smart board) or should stand out (doorways, restrooms, stairwells).
  • Incorporate bold colors within a neutral interior design by using it as accents and way-finding.
  • Common areas should be more vibrant than classrooms and libraries. Additional color welcomes conversation and excitement.
  • Welcome visitors by showing school spirit - incorporate school colors and/or logos in front entry.
  • Young children thrive in environments designed with bright colors, so keep students’ ages in mind. More color can be used with this demographic than older students - without worry of over-stimulation.

STEM’s influence on classroom design

Students in a science lab

The best architects and designers of K-12 STEM spaces today understand what real-life STEM programs entail. STEM classrooms must be adaptable, flexible, mobile and ergonomic. The same room can be a teaching lab, a team based learning classroom, a computer lab, a lecture classroom and/or a student project workroom.

STEM classrooms are used for a changing learning curriculum, the spaces have to be adaptable, durable, easy to maintain and support many activities.

STEM’s impact on flooring + wall cladding

  • Durability to withstand wheeled furniture
  • Resistance to chemicals and staining
  • Low maintenance, easy to maintain products
  • Impact-resistant walls

Indoor air quality

The importance of good indoor air quality cannot be stressed enough. We spend as much as 85-90% of our days indoors, where the concentration of VOCs and other pollutants is many times worse than outdoors.

This is more important for children because they have higher metabolisms than adults and are more susceptible to the effects of indoor pollutants. These can also interfere with learning and have a greater, long lasting effect on kids. Not to mention teachers and staff who spend countless additional hours in the building being affected by this as well.

Students playing on classroom floor

This is why it is important that only low VOC emitting flooring, wall cladding, and adhesives be used. Products that comply with FloorScore or the CA 01350 standard for low VOC emitting materials are recommended.

Maintenance should be considered as well. Products that require routine toxic sealers and polishes will off-gas after each time they are maintained.

Important considerations

  • Use only flooring with FloorScore or CA 01350 certification
  • Avoid products that require heavy polish and wax
  • Use solvent-free, low VOC adhesives or adhesive-free flooring
  • Clean and maintain flooring with low VOC cleaners

Flooring for education

Altro flooring in a school

School classrooms go from calm to chaos and back again throughout the day. The floor you choose contends with constant use from trampling feet, activity debris and chairscraping.

In a time where school budgets are stretched, districts look to create versatile spaces that provide maximum value to the teachers and students. This flexibility is appealing, but is only as good as the floor it’s designed with.

Flooring that is durable, while also reducing maintenance costs, always gets high marks for creating superior learning environments that meet tight school budgets.

Altro offers a variety of top-notch flooring products designed for schools and colleges. From durable tiles to hygienic sheet goods, we have solutions for every area of the facility.

Benefits of Altro flooring:

  • Extensive color + pattern palette
  • Expansive options, tile, plank, sheet
  • rior durability, up to 3,000 psi
  • free flooring options
  • Occupancy-ready flooring options
  • Class 1 Fire and Smoke Ratings
  • Low VOCs, lead-free and phthalate-free

Altro Quartz Tile (AQT): A better alternative

Vinyl Composition Tile (VCT) attempts to lure you in with low installation cost, but don’t take the bait. Constant maintenance over VCT’s useful life can cause your total costs in under five years to be more than an Altro product’s in 10.

When choosing flooring, cost to buy and initial installation are important. However, if you don’t add maintenance costs over time to the equation, you’ll end up spending much more throughout the product’s life.

That is why VCT is cheap to buy, yet expensive to own.

Altro Quartz Tile in a classroom

Benefits of Altro Quartz Tile

  • 7 times more durable than VCT
  • maintenance
  • No finish required
  • Occupancy ready
  • Faster installation than VCT
  • 15 year warranty
  • Higher vinyl content

Wall cladding for education

Altro floors and walls installed in a class

In education, hygiene and safety are of paramount importance to protect children and teachers alike. It’s important that students are able to learn, have fun and enjoy their education without having to worrying about health and safety of the built environment.

The Altro walls system was introduced over 40 years ago and has been a market leader ever since. Providing creative freedom to designers, specifiers and end users, our effective, impervious walls systems deliver a safe, hygienic, decorative and firecompliant walls solution.

With a range of digitally printed and custom etched options available, you’re able to personalize our products and make them stand out from the wall. Whether that’s using graphic designs, matching a school color, or using a logo, we’ve got you covered.

Benefits of Altro walls:

  • Extensive color + pattern palette
  • Non-porous, hydrophobic
  • Extremely durable and chemical resistant
  • Resists bacterial growth
  • Class A fire rated + CAN/ULC tested
  • Low VOCs, lead-free and phthalate-free
  • Custom printed options with quick turn around
  • Etched grout lines that maintain hygiene
  • Extremely low maintenance