Flooring Specification Key Considerations
It is recommended that stair nosings (or stair edgings) should be fitted to all steps on stairs in public, commercial and non-domestic buildings with shared use in order to:
- help make the stairs safer
- reduce the risk of accidents on stairs by providing a visual contrast and a slip resistant tread surface on the nose of steps
- meet the guidance in Approved Documents K and M of the Building Regulations (2013), BS8300:2009+A1:2010, BS9266:2013, BS5395-1:2010 and BR IP15/03. All of which give guidelines which help to make a stair safer in line with the Equality Act 2010
- protect the step nose and surrounding floorcoverings which reduces wear and tear
- reduce maintenance costs
- improve the aesthetics of a building
Stair nosings are produced in a variety of profiles to suit the shape of a step’s nose, and in a choice of gauges to suit the thickness of the floorcoverings used. Ramp backed profiles are also available for use where there is no floor covering (ramp profiles can also be used with resilient floorcoverings). Selected profiles can also be fabricated for curved steps.Contained within the above list of regulatory documents is the recommendation that stair nosings should provide a visual contrast (colour and luminance) to the surrounding tread/riser flooring material. This contrast to be established by using the difference in Light Reflectance Values (LRVs) of the respective stair nosing and floor covering. LRVs should be measured in accordance with BS8493:2008 and, to provide sufficient contrast, there should be at least a 30-point difference on the LRV scale between the surfaces Stair nosing treads and channels are available in a wide range of colours to enable a visual contrast to be achieved. LRV values for stair nosing channel and tread colours are available from individual manufacturers. Stair nosings are available in a choice of materials:
- Metals – aluminium (mill finished, polished or anodised), brass, bronze, cast iron and stainless steel
- Non-metals – PVC-u, pvc, rubber, timber, ceramic and moulded stair tread units
Most stair nosings incorporate a slip resistant tread material. It is important to select the correct tread material for the application, (e.g. internal or external, dry or wet conditions) in order to minimise the risk of a slip or accident. Stair nosing profiles are available with single, double or multiple treads and in materials such as pvc, rubber composite, carborundum and silicon mixes. Stair nosings with photoluminescent treads are also an option. These provide a step definition in darkened environments where light sources are removed through power failure or fire.
In most cases stair nosings should be installed using a recommended adhesive and screws, all in accordance with the recommendations of the stair nosing manufacturer.
Most UK manufacturers of stair nosings produce comprehensive details on the profiles available and give guidance on the correct stair nosing specification for a given installation, all of which can be obtained free of charge by visiting their websites or contacting them directly.
(Extruded pvc, rubber or pre-formed linoleum)
Sit on – a profile with a small radius toe design that conceals the join between the floorcovering and the wall. Typically used with resilient floorcoverings where an impervious seal is not required.
Set in – a profile typically used with resilient floorcoverings, the extended foot is welded to the floorcovering to create an impervious seal. Ideal for areas subject to wet cleaning or where cleanliness is critical, i.e. treatment rooms or pharmaceutical production.
Flat – typically used with textile floorcoverings to form a neat, low-maintenance alternative to timber skirting.
Cove Formers and Capping Strips – used when a floorcovering is continued up the wall to form a skirting. The cove former ensures a consistent cove is achieved and provides supports behind the floorcovering at the floor/wall junction. A capping strip provides a neat finish along the wall where the floorcovering stops.
Equality Act (2010) guidelines may, in certain circumstances, recommend a different colour material for the floor and skirting detail to assist the visually impaired. UK manufacturers can provide assistance on this, and any other specification or installation requirement, on request.
Where textile or resilient floorcoverings are specified, timber skirtings are usually installed as part of the carpentry and joinery package. Where timber flooring is installed, however, the timber skirtings may be fitted as part of the floorcovering package.
Whenever possible the timber skirtings should be installed after the timber flooring has been completed as the skirting can be use to conceal the expansion gap at the floor perimeter. Timber skirtings should only be fixed to the wall and must not restrict the movement of the flooring when expansion occurs.
Timber skirtings are available in a variety of profiles and different timbers for painting or clear finish.
Other materials used for skirtings, such as stainless steel and anodised aluminium, are available from manufacturers.
Available in a variety of profiles and materials, perimeter trims are installed to conceal an expansion gap where skirtings have been installed prior to the flooring.
As with skirtings, they must not restrict the movement of the flooring where expansion occurs.
Edgings, transition profiles and thresholds
Safety profiles designed to protect floorcovering seams or edges from wear and tear and in the case of textiles to secure the material and maintain the tension (where stretch fitted) at doorways.
Transition profiles are available in a wide range of materials including aluminium, brass, bronze, stainless steel, nickel, PVC-u, pvc and timber that can be used to join different types of floorcoverings. A comprehensive collection of profile designs is available to join floorcoverings of the same, similar or different heights.
Resilient, textile and timber floorcoverings can be line marked to indicate pedestrian traffic lanes/restrictions, etc. and for marking games courts in sports areas.
The lines can be delineated by ‘letting in’ the floorcovering material in alternative colours, painting or plastic tapes.
In order to ensure that the method of marking is appropriate for the material used, the floorcovering manufacturer should be consulted.
Expansion/ Movement joints
Expansion or movement joints in floor slabs or screeds should not be bridged by any resilient, textile or other adhered floor finish. Movement joint covers may be flush, surface mounted or bedded in mortar and metal, metal with a rubber insert or pvc. Note: pvc expansion joint covers are not suitable for structural movement joints or joints wider than 10mm.
Surface mounted movement joint profiles must be selected to suit the final floor covering. Mortar bedded movement joints should be set in at the correct level for the floor finish.
Other flooring accessories are available such as:
Slip-resistant strips (for use on ramps, etc.)
Cork infill (for use where expansion gaps cannot be concealed)
Radiator pipe ferrules
Protection mats for use under castor chairs
Tactile warning surfaces
Flooring manufacturers and contractors are able to provide information where necessary.
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