With a combination of performance attributes that is hard to beat, flocked floor coverings have seen a huge rise in popularity in recent years, thanks to advances in technology that are challenging conventional carpets. As part of our "Floored It" blog series, Garry Bateman, Head of Technical Sales at Forbo Flooring Systems, discusses the versatile floor covering and demonstrates how it offers an unrivalled cleanability compared to other constructions of flooring.
Electrostatically flocked floor coverings combine the properties found in both resilient and textile floor coverings to provide a unique flooring solution. Like resilient floor coverings, they are safe, durable and washable, while offering the warmth and comfort of a textile flooring.
Flocked floor coverings offer high quality performance in use. The dense surface pile makes them extremely durable, while the upright Nylon fibres and impermeable PVC backing means products can be cleaned right down to the base. The Nylon fibres capture allergens and fine dust from the air, which are easily released with regular use of a standard upright vacuum, contributing to better indoor air quality. Indeed Forbo's Flotex has been awarded the prestigious Allergy UK Seal of Approval™ thanks to the fact it does not harbour allergens.
A recent study performed by Cleaning Research International compared the cleanability of a flocked pile floor covering against a loop pile and cut pile carpet sample.
Each of the floor coverings were cut to the same size and after being conditioned in the standard atmosphere for testing textiles, the samples were weighed. Each sample was then soiled in accordance with BS EN 1269:1997 following Method B, using 10g of standard soil as specified in the standard. After soiling, the samples were reconditioned and reweighed. The samples were then cleaned by vacuuming with an upright vacuum cleaner fitted with a brush, a spray extraction, and a contra-rotating brush cleaner. At each stage, when dry, the samples were reconditioned and weighed to determine how much soil had been removed.
The results above clearly demonstrate the cleanability of the flocked floor covering which had the least amount of soil remaining after each cycle, with a 77.7% mean of soil removed after the use of a contra-rotating brush cleaner.
Furthermore, the drying characteristics of flocked floor coverings were tested alongside six different constructions of carpet. Each of the floor coverings endured was subjected to two passes using an industrial spray extraction machine and the moisture content that remained was measured after various periods of time, to establish how long they took to dry.
The results show that after just two hours, the flocked pile was substantially drier compared to the other constructions of carpet, with only 0.57% moisture remaining, and after five hours, the pile was already nearly completely dry.
With all of the above in mind, it is easy to see that flocked floor coverings are truly different to any other type of flooring available on the market in terms of cleanability. It is thanks to its precision-driven and unique manufacturing process that it is possible to produce such a hard-wearing surface, with a pile density of over 70 million fibres per sqm on an impermeable PVC backing.
The cleanability and durability of flocked floor coverings are unsurpassed amongst textile floor coverings which, along with the allergy benefits makes them particularly suited to high-traffic spaces.