Functional flooring for hospitals

Exploring Various Flooring Options for Hospitals and Healthcare Facilities

Flooring Options for Hospitals and Healthcare Facilities

While choosing finishes for any project, there are a few requirements that the product must satisfy based on the typology of the building. Cleanliness and infection control are essential needs for healthcare facilities. Hospital floors are also expected to support significant foot traffic, dead loads, and the movement of beds and equipment. The flooring must also be low maintenance. While focusing on the obvious requirements, equal importance should be given to the aesthetics of the material, as color and design can contribute to the healing process. According to research, patients prefer a “cozier” appearance and feel when they are at the hospital throughout their stay. Patients’ room flooring is increasingly becoming more home-like and less institutional in nature, which is said to aid in the healing process and lower stress levels while in hospital. Because patient rooms do not have to meet the same standards as other hospital facilities, you will have more alternatives for creating an aesthetically pleasing environment.

The following are the various types of flooring that are used in hospitals:​

Tile is the most common flooring type. Tiles are easy to install, low maintenance, fire-resistant, and cost-effective. Tiles are also durable. But they are hard to walk on for lengthy periods, and this flaw affects hospital staff the most. Tiles are also very slippery when wet, which might result in undesired injuries. If the equipment is not fitted correctly, tile may break under the heavy load of devices like MRIs, CT scans, etc.

​Marble is another popular choice for entrances, waiting rooms, and other less vital spaces. It’s durable and easy to maintain. It is also more comfortable than tiles. This material’s visual appeal makes it a favorite. However, marble is pricey and is cold underfoot in the winter. This is popular in warmer climates as opposed to northern India’s cold winters.

Luxury Vinyl Tile:
This durable product requires little care and is meant to endure for a long time. LVT is one of the most widely used flooring materials on the market today. Because of its ease of installation and incredible durability (it is almost waterproof), it is ideal for high-traffic locations. Furthermore, commercial LVT utilizes a photographic print method on the tile, which allows for virtually limitless design options on the tile.

Sheet Vinyl:
​This product is often available in rolls that are 4, 5, and 6-foot wide and 2-4 millimeters in thickness. This enables the use of a minimum number of seams, which may be an essential consideration when it comes to aesthetics. For decades, sheet vinyl flooring has been a stalwart in the world of hospital flooring. Sheet vinyl may be flash-coved, resulting in a monolithic, continuous floor that is simple to clean and keep in good condition. This surface is also highly effective in repelling germs that have attached themselves to it, making it a popular choice of flooring for emergency departments, ICUs, surgical suites, isolation rooms, wards, and so on.

VCT (Vinyl Composition Tiles):
​VCT is always the most cost-effective solution. They are made of a blend of natural limestone, fillers, color pigments, and a thermoplastic binder to form the tiles. Even though it is exceptionally durable, VCT requires more care (stripping, waxing, and polishing) than conventional vinyl floors. The life cycle expense of VCT flooring should also be considered during selection.​

​Premium rubber flooring has become more prevalent in healthcare facilities. Through frictionless installation, unrivaled durability, and a variety of design choices, rubber brings interiors to a higher level of sophistication. Rubber’s rich surface structure has been shown to provide proven strength under pressure, allowing it to withstand even the most demanding clinical environments without compromising style. Rubber flooring is designed to endure the movement of heavy hospital beds, x-ray machines, gurneys, and other pieces of equipment in healthcare facilities​

​Even though it is less common now, linoleum flooring is still used in hospitals. Linoleum, like rubber, is made from natural resources including linseed oil, cork dust, and jute fiber. Environmentally conscious buyers often identify this product with rubber. Linoleum has antibacterial properties that defend against germs. For underfoot comfort, rubber or linoleum are usually the primary options. They are softer and more cushioned than other flooring options, making them ideal for physicians and nurses who are on their feet all day.

​All the above flooring styles are commonly utilized in healthcare. Budget, material availability, lead time, and aesthetics all play a factor in choosing a floor finish. Choosing the perfect flooring for a hospital is never an easy task. Hence, it is very important to decide early in the design process so factors related to time can be ruled out

​Gargi Shahane, Architectural Designer II, DPS Group Global
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