Healthcare Flooring in a Post-Pandemic World
As we begin to transition out of the pandemic, the healthcare flooring focus remains on infection control and clean, safe environments. Stopping infection and controlling Hospital Acquired Infections (HAIs) can start on the floor. Hospital staff is hyper aware of everything around them, and under foot. Hospital buyers know patients are anxious and in addition to choosing the right floor for cleanability and hygiene, it’s important to create a tranquil, quiet environment to improve the patient experience.
With numerous areas to accommodate within each facility, it’s important to be educated about your hospital flooring options. You will need to consider several critical components when choosing healthcare flooring:
- The type of flooring that is best suited for different areas of the hospital
- Longevity and durability of a product
- Underfoot comfort requirements
- Color and aesthetics
- Traffic, point load and rolling load requirements
- Maintenance and cleanability
- Cost and budget
Types of Flooring for Hospital Entrance Areas:
The first place patients and their families will experience is the entrance to your hospital, so you will want to accommodate not only high foot traffic issues but rolling load traffic considerations as well. Entrance area corridors and public spaces will have the most traffic. These areas will need a high level of cleanability as well as durability. The hospital entrance flooring products should be non-slip to avoid any injuries to patients or staff and should be water and stain resistant and offer a high level of durability. A good choice is luxury vinyl tile (LVT), vinyl composition tile (VCT), sheet vinyl, rubber, or linoleum.
Luxury Vinyl Tile: This resilient product is low maintenance and is built to last. LVT is one of the most popular products in flooring today. It’s easy to install, incredibly durable, essentially waterproof, and excellent in high traffic areas. In addition, commercial LVT uses a photographic print process on the tile which allows for almost endless design possibilities.
Sheet Vinyl: This product generally comes in 4-, 5-, and 6-foot-wide rolls and 2-3 millimeter in thickness. This allows for a minimal number of seams, which can be a key factor where aesthetics is a concern. Sheet vinyl flooring has been a mainstay in hospital flooring for decades. Sheet vinyl can be flash coved, which will create a monolithic, seamless floor that is easy to clean and maintain. This surface is also excellent for repelling microorganisms on their surfaces.
Vinyl Composition Tile (VCT): VCT is always an economical option. These tiles are a mixture of natural limestone, fillers, color pigments and a thermoplastic binder. Though the tile is extremely durable, VCT is higher maintenance (stripping, waxing, polishing) than other vinyl floors and the life cycle costs should also be calculated and considered.
Rubber: Premium rubber flooring has become very popular in hospital settings. Rubber elevates interiors with seamless installation, unparalleled durability and versatile design possibilities. The dense surface structure of rubber delivers proven strength under pressure, standing up to even the toughest hospital conditions without sacrificing style.
Linoleum: Though not as prominent as it was in the past, linoleum is still high on the list for hospital choices. Like rubber, linoleum is a green product made with natural material including linseed oil, cork dust and jute fiber. This product often stands with rubber to those buyers with environmental sensibilities. Linoleum also has reputable antimicrobial properties to protect against germs.
Types of Flooring for Hospital Procedure Rooms
The trend for hospital procedure room flooring is toward welded sheet rubber with “Dri Fit” tape or two-part urethane epoxy. (Dri Fit is a double-sided adhesive tape used for its strength and durability.) It’s also worth mentioning, the advent of new acrylic spray adhesive that manufactures are touting for under patient beds and operating rooms. Both options allow for quick turnaround times with installation which is a plus for any hospital. Rubber flooring withstands the movement of heavy hospital beds, x-ray machines, gurneys, and other equipment.
For comfort underfoot, rubber or linoleum are usually the front runners. They are softer and more cushioned than sheet vinyl or VCT and may be effective for helping doctors and nurses who are on their feet all day.
Types of Flooring for Hospital Patient Rooms
Research has suggested that patients like a “warmer” look and feel while staying in the hospital. The trend in hospital patient room flooring is to make the accommodations more home-like and less institutional which is said to help speed the healing process and reduces a patient’s stress during their stay. Since patient rooms don’t have the same requirements as other hospital areas, you will have additional options for a more aesthetically pleasing look. LVT, sheet vinyl or linoleum are the best options here as they allow for extended design opportunities, easy maintenance, as well as quick turn-around times on installation.
Continental Flooring can offer just the materials for your hospital flooring project, or complete installation services. Be sure you explore all your options. Ask your Continental Flooring representative about available hospital flooring products. GSA Buyers may wish to register online to view GSA pricing. This feature allows buyers quick, up-to-date access to 17 different GSA contracted manufacturers.
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