How to Choose the Right Healthcare Flooring

Duraamen concrete floor coatings for hospitals How to Choose the Right Healthcare Flooring | Duraamen Engineered Products Inc

Places like hospitals, clinics, and pharmaceutical labs have some of the strictest and most unique architectural requirements of any non-residential building. 

As well as demanding rigorous cleaning and sterilization, healthcare facilities have all sorts of unusual requirements: beds may need to be wheeled quickly from room to room, large pieces of electrical equipment may need to be installed and maintained, and temperature must be precisely regulated to keep patients comfortable. 

When it comes to meeting those design needs, durability and cleanability are of the utmost importance. Here we look at the key requirements for healthcare flooring and the various options available to contractors.   

Healthcare Flooring Needs 

When selecting and installing healthcare flooring, contractors must take several factors into consideration. 

 For medical facilities, cleanliness is a top priority. Failing to maintain clean floors can contribute to the spread of disease, putting patients’ lives at risk. Every room of a hospital or clinic needs to maintain a high level of sanitation, so any flooring material should be easy to clean with cleaning equipment and/or chemicals. Flooring should also prioritize function over aesthetics: identifying a non-slip, non-trip solution is more important than finding the right color or design. 

However, healthcare facilities have multiple rooms with different needs. A waiting room, an operating room, and a cafeteria all have different requirements, which means a contractor working on a healthcare facility might need to use several different flooring products and installation techniques. 

Contractors should prioritize the following characteristics when choosing healthcare flooring: 

  • Easy to clean with vacuum, mop, and/or heavy-duty cleaning products 
  • Non-slip and non-trip to prevent accidents 
  • Durable enough to withstand foot traffic and placement of heavy equipment 
  • Smooth to allow safe movement of wheeled beds, trolleys, and gurneys 
  • Thermally insulating to maintain a comfortable temperature 
  • Sound dampening to minimize noise in busy areas 
  • Electrostatic discharge (ESD) resistant to prevent damage to equipment 

Common Healthcare Flooring Types 

A wide variety of flooring types can be found in healthcare settings like hospitals and clinics. Here we look at six of the most popular healthcare flooring choices. 

Resinous Flooring  

Resinous flooring is durable, easy to clean, and highly slip-resistant, making it a suitable choice for healthcare facilities. Common subcategories in resinous flooring include  

  • epoxy resin  
  • polyurethane resin  
  • polyaspartic resin topcoats 

Moisture resistance, bacteria resistance, and durability all make it an excellent choice in healthcare buildings. Though less durable than concrete, resin is resistant to  heavy impacts, scratches, and strong chemicals like bleach or other cleaning products.  

Another advantage of resin-based solutions is that certain epoxy coatings can also be applied to walls, making them suitable for hospital cleanrooms. 

Polished Concrete 

Available in many styles and colors, polished concrete also has pleasing aesthetic qualities, making it suitable for reception areas in independent clinics. Polished concrete is also the most durable option for healthcare flooring, though resinous flooring has the edge for safety-critical areas due to its ease of sterilization. 

One of the most durable and versatile types of hospital flooring is polished concrete. Long-lasting, seamless, and easy to clean, polished concrete is suitable for areas with heavy foot and wheel traffic like corridors, waiting rooms, and cafeterias. 

Urethane Concrete  

Urethane concrete combines the advantages of polyurethane resin and concrete to produce durable flooring with the ability to be washed at very high temperatures. 

Due to its hardiness, antimicrobial properties, and slip resistance, urethane concrete is a viable flooring solution in areas like corridors, labs, and pharmaceutical production facilities. Its thermal shock resistance means it can be cleaned at high temperatures for effective sterilization. 

Linoleum 

One of the most widespread types of healthcare flooring — partly due to its low cost and versatility — is linoleum. Linoleum flooring can be found in waiting rooms, corridors, wards, and even operating rooms. Available in tile or sheet, linoleum can be cut to size and offers a few desirable attributes for healthcare applications, including anti-static properties and softness underfoot.  

However, there are several limitations to this material: it stains easily, is far less durable, and is more prone to scuffs than hard flooring materials. It can also require a high level of maintenance. 

Luxury Vinyl Tile 

Low-cost vinyl composite tile (VCT) is generally not durable enough for healthcare use, but high-quality luxury vinyl tile (LVT) may be suitable for a few applications such as meeting rooms. 

LVT is generally favored for cosmetic reasons, though this flooring type also has good acoustic properties for minimizing noise. However, in addition to LVT’s poor durability, bacteria can gather in the seams between tiles, making the flooring unsuitable for safety-critical areas like wards and operating rooms. 

Commercial Carpet 

Commercial carpet is often used in common areas of hospitals, like waiting rooms.  

The principal benefits of commercial carpets are their thermally insulating and acoustic dampening properties. However, bacteria can thrive in its fibers, and cleaning carpet with chemicals is a more labor-intensive process than cleaning hard floors. Because of this, commercial carpet is unsuitable for most areas of a healthcare facility. 

Addressing Your Flooring Needs 

Resinous and concrete flooring are the strongest options for healthcare facilities due to their superior durability and lifespan, in addition to their strong hygienic performance. 

Duraamen provides several flooring solutions for contractors working on healthcare projects, including the following top-selling products. 

Perdure SLE 

The VOC-free Perdure SLE resinous flooring system provides excellent wear, impact, and abrasion resistance, and is available with a non-slip coating. The system consists of a primer, epoxy bodycoat, and a urethane, polyaspartic, or novolac epoxy topcoat. 

Perdure SLE is suitable for most healthcare settings, including operating rooms and labs. It can even be applied seamlessly to walls, making it suitable for cleanrooms. 

Param Polished Concrete 

The Param 6000 polishable concrete topping system, which can be installed over various substrates including concrete, wood, and ceramic tile, provides an exceptionally flat and durable surface that can withstand heavy foot and wheel traffic. 

With high compressive strength and moisture resistance, Param 6000 is suitable for busy healthcare environments like hospital corridors, waiting rooms, and cafeterias. 

Kraftig SL 

A seamless self-leveling urethane modified concrete (UMC) topping, Kraftig SL provides excellent impact and chemical resistance. However, its biggest advantage in healthcare applications is its thermal shock resistance, allowing it to be cleaned at very high temperatures. 

Moisture resistant and slip resistant, Kraftig SL is suitable for healthcare environments that require sterilization such as medical labs and pharmaceutical plants. 

Conclusion

Resin, polished concrete, and urethane concrete are all viable alternatives to linoleum in healthcare environments, with each system offering its own unique advantages. Contact Duraamen to discover more about our healthcare flooring products.


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