When you begin the onerous task of researching a flooring project, it is easy to see the initial costs in front of you and walk away. However, in these situations it usually pays off to look a little deeper. When it comes to choosing what type of flooring you want to install, price is going to be a major factor in the decision process. This is where being shortsighted can come back to bite you. Some questions that should come to mind are the scope of the project, your short terms and long term budget and how long the flooring needs to last.
If these questions resonate with you in any way, you might want to consider engineering your project for a life cycle value. By value-engineering your project you can perform a Life Cycle Cost Analysis, also known as a Cradle-to-Grave Analysis, to realize your full investment in terms of how your decision can affect your budget over the life of the floor. To perform a Life Cycle Cost Analysis, you need to take into consideration all the costs for owning, operating, maintaining, and disposing of the product.
Many factors affect the total cost of ownership in addition to the cost of the flooring material. Other factors you should consider are installation materials, labor, contractor overhead and profit, maintenance and removal and disposal costs.
The Tile Council of North America, Inc. recently performed a Life Cycle Cost Analysis on 12 of the most popular flooring options, including everything from carpet to porcelain ceramics. The results are listed in the table below and also shown visually in the chart below.
As you can see from the results of the test, ceramic and porcelain tiles have the longest expected lifespan with 50 years, driving the cost for its overall life cycle ($0.33 – $0.39) significantly lower than carpet ($1.26) and vinyl ($1.41 – $1.85) products, which need to be replaced periodically.
Because properly installed tile can last a lifetime, it is no wonder it is one of the greenest, most sustainable ways to build. By contributing to various credits, ceramic and porcelain tiles can help you attain LEED Certification for your project, while at the same time lowering the overall expenses over the lifetime of the project.
According to these results you can see how important it is to plan your project based off its complete life cycle value, rather than the initial cost. Just because something might cost more upfront doesn’t mean it will be less expensive over the lifetime of the floor.