Just like flooring for nursing homes, flooring in the healthcare industry plays an important role in wellbeing, healing and overall patient experience. While each healthcare facility has its own specific requirements and needs, when it comes to flooring, some criteria must be met across the board.
Compliance with Government or Industry Regulations
The flooring system of a healthcare facility must comply with requirements outlined by responsible organizations such as the NSQHS(Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care). According to their guideline, floor coatings must be thick and durable enough to offer proper slip resistance and prevent microbe contaminations. Falls, trips and slip are dangerous and can result in lawsuits and worker’s compensation issues. And if you have sustainability requirements in our mind as well, such as energy and environmental design or green guide for health care, know that your floor coating can also contribute to meeting these requirements.
You’ll want to make sure your flooring is resistant to the proliferation of mould, mildew or other microbes that can be a health hazard or, if your facility is a lab, contaminate your product. And for an emergency room, nursing facility or hospital floor, this is especially critical for protecting patients whose immune systems are compromised or at risk for infection. That said, look for a hospital floor that has anti-microbial properties and helps to keep your facility clean and sanitary.
Whether it’s a hospital that requires heavy-duty cleaning or a lab that works with chemicals, flooring in these areas need to withstand chemical corrosion. Corrosion can result in serious and hazardous damage to your floors and this can require costly repairs or lead to an unexpected shutdown. So, to keep things up and running, choose a floor with a tough, chemical-resistant coating.
Healthcare flooring experience around-the-clock traffic, ranging from foot traffic to rolling carts, gurneys and heavy equipment. This kind of traffic, over time, can damage an uncoated floor. This makes durability a crucial factor in your flooring choice. A flooring system with epoxy coating and slurries is a great option.
Your flooring choice can also contribute to the overall calming, healing ambience required in healthcare environments such as hospitals and nursing facilities. You may want to explore sound-attenuating flooring systems that lower noise and echo. Also, certain colours and patterns are known to offer psychological benefits. Working with a professional can help you identify the appropriate flooring system to support your facility’s overall environment.
The Best Types of Flooring for Hospitals
A common flooring system found in healthcare facilities is vinyl tile or sheet vinyl. These floorings are considered the best solutions for environments that need a high level of cleanability as well as durability. Other good choices include luxury vinyl tile (LVT), sheet vinyl, vinyl composition tile (VCT), rubber and linoleum. Let’s take a quick look at each of them.
A popular hospital floor option, sheet vinyl flooring generally comes in 1.20, 1.50 and 1,80 m wide rolls and 2-3 millimetre in thickness. This allows for a minimal number of seams, which can be a key factor where aesthetics and cleanness are a concern. Sheet vinyl can be flash coved to create a monolithic, seamless floor that is easy to clean and maintain. This also makes this flooring excellent for repelling microorganisms on their surfaces.
Luxury Vinyl Tile
A resilient product that is built to last and to be low maintenance. Also a popular option in healthcare facilities, LVT is easy to install, essentially waterproof, and excellent in high traffic areas. The photographic print process used on this flooring allows for almost endless design possibilities.
Vinyl Composition Tile (VCT)
A mixture of natural limestone, colour pigments, fillers and a thermoplastic binder, VCT is an economical flooring option that is also extremely durable. However, VCT is higher in maintenance that other vinyl floors. It requires stripping, waxing and polishing, which means the life cycle costs of maintaining this floor should also be calculated and considered.
This is another flooring that has become quite popular in hospital settings. Rubber elevates healthcare facilities with seamless installation, versatile design possibilities and unparalleled durability. The dense surface structure of this flooring delivers proven strength under pressure, standing up to though hospital conditions without compromising style.
Linoleum is a green flooring made with natural materials including cork dust, linseed oils and jute fibre. Like rubber, this flooring is a good option for buyers with environmental sensibilities. Linoleum also has satisfactory antimicrobial properties to protect against germs.
Regardless of which flooring solution you choose for your healthcare facility, make sure to get the best quality you can afford. Instead of looking at what you are spending today, consider what it will cost you over the lifetime of the product in terms of maintenance and repairs. Putting the wrong product in the wrong place could lead you to spend more money!
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