We believe that learning environments are some of the most important places there are and the way they function is just as important as the way they look. Schools, colleges and universities need inspiring, durable, attractive and hygienic wall cladding and flooring products that can cope with the demands of growing up; cater for the creativity of the classroom and withstand the attention of everyone who uses the space, year after year.

We understand just how important the right environments are for successful learning, which is why our products are designed to deliver safety and stimulation in equal measure.

Altro is a perfect fit for these areas because our products offer:

• Long-term durability
• Reduced maintenance
• Impressive value
• Safety and hygiene
• On-trend color palettes

Learn about our 1 hour CEU course: Designing for Education

Color and design

Ask a teacher what influences learning and you’ll hear teaching methods, how students learn differently, outside influences and the school’s curriculum. Chances are they won’t mention classroom finishes, such as the color of the flooring.

Inherent in everything we do and see, color influences every day life through our productivity, communication and emotion.

Emotions brought about by color can influence a student’s work or study habits. Studies show a direct link between color and feelings, certain colors promoting positive and others negative. The right color helps denote a room’s purpose - relaxation, studying, collaboration, test-taking and more.

When it comes to flooring color selection, there is no silver bullet. Looking at the effects of color and translating that into the learning space’s purpose can serve as a guide on what colors fit where.

STEM’s influence on classroom design

The best architects and designers of K-12 science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) spaces today, understand what real-life STEM programs entail. STEM classrooms must be adaptable, flexible, mobile and ergonomic. The same room can be a teaching lab, a team based learning classroom, a computer lab, a lecture classroom and/or a student project workroom.

STEM classrooms are used for a changing learning curriculum, the spaces have to be adaptable, durable, easy to maintain and support many activities.

STEM's impact on school flooring and wall cladding

• Durability to withstand moving furniture/caster wheels
• Resistance to chemicals and staining
• Low maintenance, easy to maintain products
• Impact resistant walls

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The importance of good indoor air quality cannot be stressed enough. We spend as much as 85-90% of our days indoors, where the concentration of VOCs and other pollutants is 10 -100 times worse than outdoors.

This is more important for children have higher metabolisms than adults and are more susceptible to the effects of indoor pollutants. These also can interfere with learning and have a greater, long lasting effect on kids.

This is why it is important that only low VOC emitting flooring, wall cladding, and adhesives be used. Products that comply with FloorScore or the CA 01350 standard for low VOC emitting materials are recommended.

Maintenance should be considered as well, products that require routine toxic sealers and polishes will off-gas after each time they are maintained.

Important considerations

  • Use only low VOC flooring and wall cladding
  • Look for FloorScore or CA 01350 certification
  • Avoid products that require heavy polish and wax
  • Use solvent-free, water-based, low VOC adhesives
  • Clean and maintain flooring with low VOC cleaners

Read our whitepaper on The VOC epidemic in schools


When designing the perfect space in K-12, you must create an environment that will inspire students to learn and keep them safe and comfortable, all within shrinking budget demands. It’s a challenging job.

Physical environments have a strong influence on learning and behavior, and flooring makes an indispensable contribution to the quality of any space.

Few buildings get such tough treatment as those used in public education. Flooring must be attractive as well as practical, hardwearing and cost-effective.

Altro floor coverings meet all these criteria – and several more. From preschool to high school, our solutions help to create better learning and working environments. They’re attractive, safe and environmentally compatible, and they last for generations.

Colleges & Universities

The world of higher education is changing. Undergraduate enrollment is continuing to grow and tuitions are increasing. Higher education has become a business and students are its customers.

With intense competition for the best students and professors, colleges and universities have found that facility design can be a major factor in recruiting the best and brightest minds. This has caused a shift away from traditional materials and design to a more modern, sophisticated look.

With a multitude of different area types, colleges and universities require a variety of flooring products to suit the diverse needs of their facility. They require attractive, durable, low maintenance flooring solutions for common areas, classrooms and student housing yet need robust slip resistance in wet environments, kitchens and heavy industrial areas. This is where Altro can deliver more than the competition. Our large portfolio of flooring products covers all of these areas and more.


Studies have shown that the design of a classroom can impact a child’s academic progress by as much as 25% during a school year as well as boost morale, enhance safety and foster student collaboration.

With so much at stake, it’s important that the right products and colors are used in these spaces. Use products that foster learning while offering the durability required to withstand the frequent reconfiguration that occurs in today’s flexible STEM learning classrooms.

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The constant presence of food and beverages, as well as moving tables, chairs and plenty of foot traffic requires a unique combination of products to meet the demanding needs of busy cafeterias.

Altro Quartz Tile is a great smooth option while slip resistant sheet vinyl can offer enhanced safety and durability around lunch lines and areas of likely spillage. Altro Lavencia LVT may also be used to evoke a high end look, especially important for college and university cafeterias.

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Hallways and corridors

Rigorous foot traffic stampedes through hallways and corridors daily, so flooring must stand up to everyday demands and be easy to clean.

Choosing the right flooring in these high-traffic areas is critical for visual impact, way-finding, as well as controlling long-term maintenance costs.

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Bathrooms can be a dangerous area in the school, water on the floor being hazardous. Students and faculty need to be protected from slipping. Altro safety flooring is the ideal solution, providing peace of mind while requiring little maintenance.

Combined with Altro Whiterock wall cladding, the two products form a fully sealed, watertight system with no grouted joints to clean.

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School kitchen

Commercial kitchens are some of the toughest environments for floors. Constantly exposed to grease, liquids and food, the floors in a busy kitchen can be a safety hazard. Thankfully our Altro Stronghold 30 flooring product offers superior slip resistance even in greasy or wet conditions.

With over 50 years of experience in commercial kitchens, Altro has products, accessories and knowledge that are uniquely tailored to create a total kitchen solution.

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Whether it is a full-scale university medical research lab or an introduction to chemistry class, school laboratories can be a harsh environment for floors and walls.

With resistance to a multitude of chemicals and substances Altro’s high performance flooring and wall cladding products are designed to meet the demanding needs of school labs.

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Showers and pool facilities

When water is around the potential for slips and falls can rise exponentially. Altro Aquarius is the perfect solution for these areas as it provides a slip resistant surface to both shoe and barefoot traffic.

Combine this with Altro Whiterock wall cladding to create a complete solution for wet environments. Together these products form a water-tight, hygienic envelope that has become the industry standard for wet environments.

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Administration and offices

These busy areas must look their best for students, faculty, staff and visitors. Altro has a number of decorative products that will work with any design scheme and last through years of rolling chairs, moving desks, heavy office furniture and plenty of foot traffic.

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Residence halls

It’s no wonder that student residence halls are the fastest growing area in colleges and universities. Studies have shown that student housing is proven to be a major role in student admission decisions. This requires flooring that not only looks beautiful but will last without costly or even routine maintenance.

Altro Lavencia luxury vinyl tiles and planks are perfect flooring solution for dorms. Altro Lavencia offers amazingly realistic visuals in an array of sizes and finishes. Great looks aside, Altro Lavencia’s outstanding performance is just what you expect from Altro. High quality luxury vinyl planks and tiles specifically constructed to handle the tolls of student residence halls.

Moisture, asbestos, and other challenges

Altro also offers Altro XpressLay, the world’s first adhesive-free sheet vinyl flooring. The Altro XpressLay product uses tape instead of adhesive so it’s a great problem solver for many challenging areas of schools.

Altro XpressLay is perfect for:

• Areas with moisture issues, high internal relative humidity (IRH)
• Areas with epoxy paint, go over it instead of shot blasting
• Go over existing tiles, VCT or vinyl asbestos tile

Altro XpressLay can go over existing tiles and epoxy paint thereby avoiding costly removal and reducing installation time. It can even go over vinyl asbestos tile, allowing you to avoid costly asbestos abatement.