We have been providing services for schools and educational establishments for over 20 years.

Voke Interiors and Flooring initially offered installation of carpet and vinyl flooring to schools. Now working with academies and education trusts as well as independent schools, we have established ourselves as a trustworthy, high quality yet good value ‘one stop shop’ for flooring, decoration, lighting, windows, doors and alterations. A high level of personal service and effective project management ensures the ongoing customer loyalty we treasure.

Latest news: Asbestos in School Flooring

Latest news: Our recent projects

The dining hall

When the headmaster wished to refurbish the 70-year-old dining room and remove the lino-topped folding tables with benches, he approached Voke Flooring & Interiors Ltd to help him resolve the issues of lack of natural daylight and the noise of 300 students eating and talking. As a winner of Independent School of the Year 2015, St Joseph’s College had high standards to maintain.

Initially we removed the high level windows and installed 3 sets of patio doors, which opened onto a terrace area overlooking lawns and grounds of the college. The dated décor was replaced with a contemporary orange colour scheme, modern lighting and, most importantly, fabric panels suspended from the ceiling to absorb the noise. The refurbishment was finished with the installation of new tables and chairs, with the job coming in under budget and on time.

The children's WC’s

The children’s toilets in this 1970s built primary school were difficult to clean and impractical. We removed the old brick dividing walls and urinals, replacing them with 5 bright new cubicles with close coupled units, timber style flooring and contemporary lighting. The toilets are now used more respectfully, are easier to clean and provide a bright, safe environment for the children’s use.

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The nursery classroom

Voke Interiors had already refurbished the Head Teacher’s office, staff room and reception area so we were asked to complete the refurbishment of the classroom in Cookham Nursery too.

Having removed dated floor units and cumbersome partitions, we opened up a large bright space. A white ceiling and pale grey walls were complemented with a darker grey Heckmondwike patterned carpet floor tile and vinyl to the wet play areas. New low level units were fitted in the kitchen area for children’s play and lunchtime resulting in a bright and colourful environment.

The sixth form common room

Creating a light and bright space for sixth formers to relax was the key for this refurbishment. The headmaster of St Joseph’s College wanted a sociable space that attracted the students to spend time there, reflect the school colour scheme and also reflect its location in the heart of Reading. The room was naturally split into different pods, allowing the application of different colours in each area, allowing each space to deliver a unique feel. Working with a local photographer and graphic designer, we created a striking collage for the main wall of the common room, working hand in hand with the colours adopted elsewhere in the room.

Asbestos in School Flooring

There has been much interest in the press recently about the use of asbestos in school buildings. It’s fairly likely an asbestos audit on an older building would uncover the use of vinyl tiles containing asbestos, which may trigger the process of removal and replacement. Undoubtedly there’s a concern for the health and safety of teachers, pupils and other people working onsite.

What is asbestos?

Asbestos is a general term which covers six fibrous silicates, which have historically been used in various types of building materials.

However, in this case, we are specifically concerned with the silicate ‘chrysotile’ which was incorporated for its thermal and acoustic properties - for example, into vinyl floor tiles commonly known as thermo-plastic tiles.

The asbestos content in vinyl tiles varies from 12-50%, the exact value being dependent on where and when they were produced. The manufacture of vinyl tiles containing chrysotile, also known as ‘white asbestos’, ceased in 1979.

All vinyl tiles containing asbestos were manufactured 22.9cm (9 inches) square. The asbestos fibres were incorporated within the matrix of the product. Years of polishing and cleaning will have sealed these fibres into the tiles, while the bitumen adhesive used to lay them will also have been absorbed into the back of the tiles. 

Removal of tiles containing asbestos

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) confirms licensing and notification requirements will not apply;

·         where the exposure of employees to asbestos is sporadic and of low intensity

·         if it is clear from the risk assessment that the exposure of any employee to asbestos will not exceed the control limit.

Therefore it is not necessary to use a fully licensed contractor or advise the HSE when removing materials in which the asbestos fibres are firmly linked in a matrix.

Removal method

In accordance with HSE requirements;

·         tiles must be carefully uplifted using a scraper or shovel

·         tiles must be twice bagged

·         tiles must be passed to a licensed waste disposer for clearance.

Voke Flooring and Interiors have many years’ experience of asbestos floor removal, advising and implementing removal methods, replacements and wider projects. If you need any help or advice on this, please contact us on 0118 957 6337.