5 Factors

Architects Should Consider

When Selecting Building & Flooring Materials


Obviously, the building materials must be functional for the intended purpose of the building. Will the material be strong enough to support people and machinery needs?  Will it be flexible enough to withstand wind and weather?  Will flooring materials be too heavy for the support structure or too porous and subject to absorbing and spreading harmful contaminants?

User experience is the perfect avenue to convey your unique vision for the building while also meeting functional requirements. Material selection tools and data sheets often provide valuable information on the technical properties of materials. However, current design tools do not often describe the “intangible” properties.   Your clients will depend on you to paint the vision of the finished product.

Cost is always a factor in any project. Materials can be perfect for the application and aesthetically pleasing, but if the client can’t afford it, the client will not use it. Likewise, even if the material is affordable, the expertise needed to install it may be in short supply, causing timelines to expand or budgets to increase. Refrain from choosing materials that may bottleneck development unnecessarily, or any least communicate upfront that delays could be probable. .

Context typically encompasses three areas of consideration: physical, cultural, and intended use. Firstly, you should consider the physical location of the project when choosing materials, because the location itself could limit your choices. You should also be aware that society has built-in expectations for the types of building you design. You’ll find it easier to work within these normal parameters and not shoot “entirely” off the baseline. Your materials will generate a higher level of satisfaction if they fit the culture of the building’s intended use and location. Furthermore, the materials should assist those who work there to perform their jobs efficiently..

Will your materials stand the test of time? Will they be durable enough to withstand the necessary traffic? Rare or hard-to-manufacture materials may look stunning when incorporated into your designs but could lead to glaring issues if damaged and in need of hard-to-match replacements. Additionally, extensive maintenance may be required to keep your building in prime condition. For example, VCT flooring will require regular maintenance to meet its rated lifespan, and protective coatings are often the best option for long-term performance. Concrete flooring, although durable and resistant, may require extensive caulking to keep damage from spreading.

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