The best hospital flooring doesn’t only present a surface for hospital staff, patients, families, and visitors to walk on. It does a lot more!
This article will show you the desirable features of hospital floorings as well as the best hospital flooring materials.
Healthcare Flooring Requirements
In selecting the best healthcare flooring, you should consider the following hospital flooring features.
1. Slip resistance
When choosing flooring solutions for your healthcare facilities, you’ve got to choose textured materials that will be stable for people to walk on: the ones that’ll prevent people from slipping or falling.
The hospital floors should also be smooth and without edges and or height differences. This is so that when patients navigate various areas, they will not experience any marked changes that will cause them to trip over.
2. Give/Soft flooring
Slip-resistant floors are good enough to prevent people from tumbling over: however, extra precautions should be taken to ensure the safety of patients in the hospital.
When picking hospital flooring design options, you should allow for a certain level of softness or flexibility to guard against falling. This can be achieved with the material of choice or the underlay.
This way, when people fall to the ground, the impact won’t be too much. So instead of breaking their bones or sustaining serious injuries, they may have little bruises.
And two clinical flooring materials that fit this criterion are rubber and vinyl flooring. These materials don’t only heighten employee and patient satisfaction, they can also prevent the damage of some equipment that will fall on them.
You should select healthcare floorings that will make it very easy for people to walk around especially since the clinical staff is always on their feet all day.
A cushioned floor will also aid the easy movement of patients that have trouble walking and reduce repetitive stress injuries to staff’s ankles, feet, and knees.
Hospital floorings are bound by strict standards to avoid bacteria, moisture, allergens, and moisture from contaminating the environment.
They should also be sanitary enough to resist urine, acids, blood, and disinfectants.
So the best hospital flooring options for your healthcare facility are the ones that will be easy to clean and maintain. The seams must be sealed, and the hospital need flooring with a thick coating that’s scratch-resistant.
Plus you need to eliminate every wall-floor gap by flashing the floor up the walls.
The hospital floor should also be sealed and spill-resistant to avoid germs and microbes from breeding and spreading.
And finally, they should give off little to no Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) to maintain better indoor air quality.
5. Noise absorption
In hospitals, a certain level of quiet and calm is needed as many sleeping patients and doctors are trying to concentrate.
So your floor should be able to absorb noise and not distract patients and employees by echoing every footfall sound.
Welcoming and clean healthcare facilities can help calm and reassure patients and visitors. Plus they can make the healthcare providers feel comfortable and enjoy doing their jobs.
The floors also have their ways of communicating professionalism.
So when selecting your hospital flooring material, you should put color, texture, and other flooring designs into consideration. And you also need floors that can reflect and amplify lighting.
7. ROI and life cycle cost
For your hospital floorings, you don’t need to break the bank.
A good choice will fall within your installation budget, is easy to maintain, and fits the medical load requirements.
So despite the heavy foot traffic, cart traffic, and patient transport in hospitals, the floor should be built to last long.
And it should also be low maintenance and able to resist stains, wear, and other chemicals for a long time. This is so it wouldn’t spend too much always repairing or changing the floor.
What Is The Best Hospital Flooring?
Now we know the criteria to consider when selecting the best healthcare flooring, we’re going to answer the question: What floor is best for health, and why hospitals use it.
It’s important to note that clinical flooring specifications are very strict.
This is because you’re not only providing people with surfaces to walk on and for your medical equipment to be mounted on, you’re trying to create a relaxing and healing environment for patients.
Looking for the best flooring in the healthcare industry? The best hospital flooring material you can get is vinyl, also called Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC).
The simple reasons are vinyl is very hygienic, resilient, and it easily meets the requirements expected of modern clinical surfaces and interiors.
Here are the best types of vinyl flooring that are suitable for your hospital floors.
1. Luxury vinyl tile (LVT)
Luxury vinyl tile is a wonderful flooring invention that’s built to last and offers a short installation time.
It is made with a synthetic material that is formed from mixing polyvinyl chloride (PVC) resin, calcium carbonate, and stabilizers.
These chemicals make LVT fantastically durable, water-proof, and easy to maintain. And its ability to withstand heavy human traffic has made it become one of the most popular flooring materials in the healthcare industry.
And one of the main reasons LVT was developed was to create a home-like appearance in hospitals. And such floors have been shown under the evidence-based design to help patients in their healing process.
They’re also wear and stain-resistant, so they can’t be affected by fluid and bloodstains. Furthermore, they’re easy to clean and you wouldn’t need to buy expensive cleaning products to maintain the flooring material. Neither will you need to wax or excessively polish the surface.
LVT also offers almost limitless design options and is easy to install. And the photographic print process it has on tile means it can be made to look like stone and wood and any other material of your choice.
2. Sheet vinyl
Sheet vinyl flooring is another popular hospital flooring surface that’s very hygienic.
Its non-porous nature makes it not support the breeding of germs and dirt. And it has little seams because it comes in 4, 5, or 6-foot wide rolls; actually, it has no seams and cracks when they’re fitted correctly.
It’s a wise clinical flooring option for repelling bacteria and other microbes because of the coved skirting that makes its edges to be fitted along the corners of hospital walls.
In addition, the flooring can create a monolithic seamless surface that can be easily cleaned and maintained. Sheet vinyl floors are easy to install, reduce noise and vibration levels, chemical resistant, and also offer aesthetic designs.
3. Vinyl Composition Tile (VCT)
If you’re looking for economical hospital flooring, Vinyl Composition Tile (VCT) is one of the most economical you can find.
This extremely durable healthcare flooring tile is made from limestone, color pigments, a thermostatic binder, and fillers.
However, these flooring products require a higher level of maintenance than the other vinyl floors on this list: as you’ll need to wax, strip, and polish them.
So if you’re opting for this medical flooring for your healthcare establishment, you’ll need to factor these into your budget.
Other Cool Flooring Options
1. Rubber Flooring
Sheet rubber flooring is another fantastic hygienic hospital flooring material.
It’s resilient like vinyl, has noise cancellation properties, and sanitary. It’s also easy to seal and maintain, durable, and a smart choice when considering impact effects.
Rubber floors come in a wide variety of styles and designs; thereby elevating hospital interior décor with its seamless installation.
Its durability ensures it can withstand heavy foot traffic and very tough hospital conditions for a long time. And the closed surface of a rubber floor makes it wear-resistant and easy to clean.
Another interesting feature of sheet rubber floorings that makes them the right flooring for hospitals is that they’re resistant to disinfectants and non-sensitive to stains and other chemicals.
And when you consider indoor air quality, their low VOC emission helps ensure the hospital is a healthy environment for both patients, patient’s families, and clinic staff.
Although linoleum flooring popularity has waned, it remains a top choice for hospital floors.
This material is particularly favored by buyers that hold environmental impact in high regard. It is made from natural materials such as cork dust, linseed oil, and jute fiber.
Linoleum is also widely used because of its sanitary and antimicrobial properties in withstanding bacteria and germs.
3. Terrazzo flooring
Terrazzo floors are premium and highly durable hospital flooring options.
They’re low maintenance and can last for a long time–say decades. Their strength makes them capable of withstanding heavy foot and rolling equipment carts.
The flooring surface is also handicap-friendly and can be gotten in recyclable materials.
Best Hospital Flooring Options Based on Area of Installation
For a healing environment as large as a hospital, one flooring type can’t be relied upon to do the job.
Secondly, different hospital areas require different flooring needs to carry out their caring duties. Some areas carry more pressure and human traffic than others. And some others are more exposed to chemicals, fluids, and stains.
All these have to be put into consideration when picking the right flooring for various hospital areas and conditions.
So here are the various areas and the floorings most appropriate for them.
The first place patients, families, and visitors set foot on in the hospital is the entrance.
That means you’ll want a floor that’s welcoming and creates a positive, professional, and relaxing first impression. The flooring also has to be durable as entrance areas get the most foot traffic and rolling loads.
Considering these factors, terrazzo and LVT will be the most appropriate materials to install here.
They’re both very durable and withstand high amounts of human traffic. Plus LVT offers a wide variety of design opportunities.
Corridors and clinical areas
The hallways of corridors experience high human traffic and the rolling of loads like equipment carts, wheelchairs, stretchers, and med carts. This indicates that the flooring should be durable and resilient.
And because of its position and function, it needs to be quickly installed not to disrupt clinical activities. While clinical areas need flooring that will support evidence-based design and aid patients’ healing and stress reduction.
So for these areas, rubber sheets and LVT present the best options.
Both come in textures, colors, and designs that are home-like. They’re durable and save time on installation as they can come with protective coatings and pre-applied adhesives.
Emergency and operating rooms
For these rooms, you’ll need to think about infection control. That means materials that are easy to clean and resilient, and can repel germs are what you need.
So the best hospital flooring options for operating rooms are LVT, linoleum, sheet vinyl, and sheet rubber with dri fit tape (a double-sided adhesive) because of their flash coving.
Another floor type that does the job is resin flooring.
Creating a care setting and an ambiance that makes patients feel at home can facilitate their healing.
So linoleum, LVT, and sheet tile that have natural looks are the best options for patient rooms. They’re durable and can be installed rapidly. And they’re cheaper than natural materials.
Nurse’s stations and treatment areas
These areas are used 24/7, so they need to be resilient and promote stress reduction.
So the best flooring for nurse’s stations and treatment areas will be luxury vinyl tile, bio-based tile (BBT), and sheet tile that are made from low-VOC materials.
Cafeteria flooring should be relaxing, slip-resistant, and able to hide scuffs and scratches.
So the best types of flooring for cafeterias are the ones with natural looks. They include LVT, sheet vinyl, and tile.
Tools for Selecting Healthcare Flooring Material
- LEED for healthcare: this flooring rating system takes indoor air quality and evidence-based design into account. It was developed by the U.S Green Building Council (USGBC).
- Green Guide for Healthcare (GGHC): this is a best-practices guide for the construction and operation of healthcare facilities. And it also dictates how healthy and sustainable designs should be made.
- ecoScorecard: a tool to show floorings that comply with the most popular rating systems.
- Floorscore: a rating system to evaluate floors for VOC emissions. This was developed by the Resilient Floor Covering Institute (RFCI) and Scientific Certification Systems (SCS).