Non-Resilient Flooring vs Resilient Flooring for Commercial Spaces

When it comes to setting up a commercial space, the details matter. One of the most critical yet often overlooked details is the flooring choice. This decision can profoundly impact the area’s look, feel, and functionality. This blog will explore two categories of flooring options available for commercial environments: non-resilient and resilient. By understanding the characteristics, advantages, and applications, you can make an informed decision that suits your space’s specific needs.

Flooring in commercial spaces serves more than just a functional purpose; it’s a vital element of the space’s overall aesthetic and can significantly influence the first impression. The right flooring must withstand heavy foot traffic, be easy to maintain, and align with the interior design. It should also be cost-effective, both in terms of initial installation and long-term maintenance. Safety is another crucial factor, as the flooring material can affect slip resistance and the likelihood of accidents. To learn more about the updated test method of measuring dynamic coefficient of friction (DCOF) of hard surface flooring materials, check out our technical bulletin. Considering these factors is essential in choosing a flooring type that looks appealing and meets the practical demands of a commercial environment.

Non-Resilient Flooring

What Is Non-Resilient Flooring?

Non-resilient flooring, also known as hard surface flooring, is comprised of inflexible, organic materials. It’s a popular choice in commercial spaces due to its durability, characteristics, and high-end appearance. Let’s explore some common types:

  • Porcelain and Ceramic Tile: Porcelain and ceramic tiles are known for their versatility and durability. They come in various designs, colors, and textures, making them suitable for multiple settings, from sleek corporate offices to vibrant retail spaces. These low-maintenance tiles require simple cleaning methods and are known for their longevity, which can be cost-effective in the long run.
  • Natural Stone: This includes materials like marble, granite, and limestone, each with unique patterns and textures. Natural stone adds an element of luxury and sophistication to any space. However, it’s worth noting that these materials can be porous, requiring specific maintenance to prevent moisture absorption and staining. Read more on the Natural Stone Institute website.
  • Concrete: Concrete flooring, either textured or smooth, offers a modern, industrial look. It’s exceptionally durable and ideal for spaces where heavy machinery is used or high-traffic areas like warehouses. Textured concrete provides added traction, reducing slip hazards.  Learn more from the ACI – American Concrete Institute.
  • Hardwood: Offering a timeless appeal, hardwood flooring ranges from elegant softwoods to durable hardwoods. While it provides a warm, inviting look, hardwood can be susceptible to damage from moisture and requires careful maintenance to preserve its natural beauty.

Origin of Non-Resilient Flooring

  • Porcelain and Ceramic Tile:  Porcelain and ceramic have been utilized since ancient times, with some of the earliest examples discovered in Egypt and the Middle East. Fired clay tiles became popular throughout Europe, with the introduction of porcelain from China providing a more elegant and long-lasting alternative.
  • Natural Stone: For centuries, natural stone has been used as a flooring material, with ancient civilizations such as the Greeks, Egyptians, and Romans using it in their architecture. The choice of marble, granite, and other stones was based on their durability and aesthetic appeal. These materials were often used in important constructions, such as temples and palaces, indicating status and prosperity.
  • Concrete: Concrete has been employed as a building material for centuries, but its use as a flooring material became more popular with the introduction of Portland cement in the 1800s. The Industrial Revolution and the growth of urban centers led to increased use of concrete for various construction purposes, including flooring.
  • Hardwood: Wood has been a flooring material for thousands of years. Early examples include the rustic, hand-scraped planks found in medieval European homes. With the advent of sawmills in the 19th century, wood flooring became more accessible and popular in residential and commercial buildings. Hardwood floors were often seen as a sign of elegance and were used in more affluent homes.

Resilient Flooring

What Is Resilient Flooring?

Resilient flooring is typically an artificial option known for its elasticity, providing a more comfortable underfoot experience. This category includes synthetic materials like vinyl and rubber and natural options like linoleum.

  • Luxury vinyl tile (LVT):  LVT is a robust flooring option ideal for high-traffic areas. It’s available in various designs, mimicking the look of natural materials like wood and stone, but at a more affordable price point. LVT is also known for its ease of maintenance and long-lasting durability.
    • At Creative Materials, we are highly intentional about the materials and manufacturers we work with. A significant portion of our resilient products are manufactured in the United States and come with notable environmental accreditations. These include certifications from the Environmental Product Declaration (EPD), Health Product Declaration® (HPD), and Mindful Materials, ensuring they meet high environmental and health safety standards.
  • Linoleum: As one of the original resilient flooring options, linoleum is made from natural materials, making it eco-friendly. It requires skilled installation due to large sheets or tiles that require gluing and regular maintenance but offers a unique aesthetic that can be particularly appealing in specific design schemes.
  • Rubber: Rubber flooring is often used in gyms and hospitals; rubber flooring provides excellent cushioning and reduces fatigue. It may have limited design options, but it is highly durable and offers good slip resistance.
  • Vinyl composition tile (VCT): VCT is a cost-effective solution for areas where budget constraints are a priority. However, it’s important to note that while the upfront cost is low, VCT can require more intensive maintenance over its lifespan.

Origin of Resilient Flooring

  • LVT: LVT is a modern innovation in the resilient flooring category. It emerged in the late 20th century as a more sophisticated version of vinyl flooring. LVT offers durability and low maintenance but with more realistic textures and patterns, often mimicking natural materials like wood and stone. The advancement in digital printing and embossing technologies has played a crucial role in the development and popularity of LVT.
  • Linoleum: Linoleum flooring, first created by Frederick Walton in the mid-1800s, was one of the earliest resilient flooring materials. It comprises linseed oil, cork dust, wood flour, and pigments on a burlap or canvas backing. Due to its sturdiness and ease of cleaning, it quickly gained popularity.
  • Rubber: Rubber flooring, derived from natural or synthetic rubber, gained popularity in the early 20th century. It was initially used in industrial settings due to its resilience and shock-absorbent properties but later found applications in commercial and residential spaces.
  • VCT: Vinyl flooring was developed in the 1930s and gained popularity in the following decades, especially after World War II. It was seen as a versatile, affordable, and water-resistant alternative to materials like linoleum and hardwood. Vinyl’s ability to mimic other materials and its low maintenance requirements contributed to its widespread use.

Which Flooring Is Best for Your Commercial Project?

In addition to learning the differences between non-resilient and resilient flooring options, evaluate these key factors to decide which flooring type is best for your commercial project:

  • Flexibility: Due to their elasticity, resilient floors are an excellent choice for reducing noise between floors in multi-story buildings. They also provide a comfortable walking experience, which can be beneficial in settings like hospitals and schools.
  • Durability: Non-resilient flooring tends to be more robust against scratches, dents, and warping than resilient options. This makes them suitable for spaces with heavy furniture or equipment.
  • Appearance: Non-resilient flooring empowers combinations of colors, textures, and aesthetics to create one-of-a-kind designs for commercial spaces.
  • Maintenance: Generally, both floors are low maintenance and proper cleaning will help extend the lifetime of either type. Some resilient options require waxing, and hardwood non-resilient options need regular refreshers.

Now that you know some critical factors to consider when selecting flooring for your commercial project, let’s take a closer look at how both types of flooring can be implemented in commercial design.

Non-Resilient Flooring in Commercial Design

Porcelain Tile

  • Retail and Shopping Malls: Durable and easy to clean, ideal for areas with high foot traffic. Offers a variety of design options to match brand aesthetics.
  • Industrial Kitchens: Water-resistant and hygienic, making them suitable for areas where moisture and spills are common. Read our White Paper 

Natural Stone

  • Boutique Brands: Adds an elegant and sophisticated look. It suits high-end hotels, corporate buildings, and luxury retail stores.
  • Corporate Offices: It can convey sophistication and prestige in boardrooms or executive areas.


  • Industrial: Extremely durable and can withstand heavy machinery and high traffic. It is also used in contemporary office spaces for an industrial look.
  • Galleries: Provides a modern, clean backdrop that does not distract from the artwork or furnishings.


  • Cafés: Provides a cozy and upscale atmosphere.
  • Executive Suites: Conveys a sense of sophistication and traditional elegance.

Resilient Flooring in Commercial Design


  • Education: Durable, easy to clean, and available in various colors and patterns suitable for a vibrant learning environment.
  • Healthcare: Hygienic, easy to clean, and comfortable underfoot for patients and staff.


  • Public Buildings: Versatile for design needs, activities, and consistent foot traffic.
  • Corporate Offices: It can convey sophistication and prestige in boardrooms or executive areas.


  • Fitness: Offers shock absorption, durable against heavy equipment, and provides a safe, non-slip surface.
  • Daycares or Play Areas:  Cushioned surfaces reduce the risk of injuries and are easy to clean and maintain.


Regarding commercial design, choosing between non-resilient and resilient flooring often involves a delicate balance between the space’s functional requirements, the desired aesthetic, and budget constraints. Each flooring type has unique advantages that cater to different environments and use cases. If you’re uncertain which flooring type, remember that Creative Materials takes a consultative approach. We’re always available to help and address any questions or concerns you may have.

At Creative Materials, we’re more than just a tile supplier. We’re your dedicated partner, focused exclusively on commercial projects. Our commitment to your project extends beyond the traditional supplier role, providing design services, product sourcing from over 100 partners, specification consultation, custom product development, and contractor installation guides. Our aim is to ensure that your visions seamlessly become a reality.