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Flooring Life Cycle Costs: The Answers may Surprise You

Flooring Life Cycle Costs: The Answers may Surprise You

Recent studies indicate that cost of carpet ownership may be less than previously considered.

The true cost of ownership or “life cycle cost” of a product typically refers to how much the item costs to select and once purchased, to service and maintain.

For church facility managers and executive pastors who carefully steward resources, cost of ownership issues are always paramount. 

While something may cost more initially, or even last longer, it may not be the most cost effective selection over the long-term.

Recently a major facility management publication reported that the cost of ownership of carpet was less than hard surface floors. Could this be true?

“At first glance, it would appear that hard surface flooring, such as VCT (vinyl composition tile), would be less expensive,” says Bob Abrams, product manager for U.S. Products jansan division, a leading manufacturer of hot-water carpet extractors for cleaning professionals. “However, studies going back more than a dozen years have found just the opposite to be true.”

Abrams is referring to a study published by Jeff Bishop and the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification (IICRC) , entitled “A Life-Cycle Cost Analysis for Floor Coverings in School Facilities.”

Comparing the two types of floors, the study reported:   

  • A properly selected, installed, and maintained carpet should last up to 10 years
  • A properly selected, installed, and maintained hard surface floor should last about 22 years
  • The hard surface flooring (in this study) was less expensive to purchase than the carpeting
  • Hard surface floors require on average 2.5 times more cleaning and maintenance than carpet
  • Hard surface cleaning supplies are, on average, several times more expensive than supplies for carpet

However, even after considering the cost of replacing the carpet after 11 years, the cost of ownership of the carpet could still be 65 percent less than the hard surface floor.

“The maintenance requirements can make the difference,” explains Abrams. “While this certainly may not be true in all cases and with all floor types, this is a study that building owners should [consider] when selecting new floor coverings.”

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