Types of hospital flooring and applications

Exploring Healthcare Flooring Options: A Guide to Hospital Flooring Solutions

types of hospital flooring

Hospitals comprise of numerous areas and Functions to accommodate with specific functional requirements and finishes for each space, and flooring forms an integral element amongst other finishes. It is important to know all you can about hospital flooring options. You will need to consider several factors when choosing healthcare flooring: what areas in the hospital need flooring, what type of flooring is best suited for that area, longevity of a product, durability, and underfoot comfort, aesthetics, point load, and rolling load requirements, cleanability and cost are also critical components in the hospital flooring choice.
Fortunately, designers are now considering spaces that are more soothing and home like to promote a healing effect through design and thus influencing a positive patient experience.

Flooring Options for Health Facilities:

Sheet Vinyl:
​Vinyl is a fantastic hospital flooring material choice as it is spill-resistant, durable, and easy to maintain. Sheet vinyl flooring is a better option compared to tiles, as sheet vinyl allows for antimicrobial barriers to be created through heat welding and flash coving and it can replicate many natural finishes such as wood and stone which are reassuring and calming.
Vinyl flooring allows for minimal number of seams and this can be a key factor where aesthetics is a concerned. Sheet vinyl can be flash coved, which will create a seamless floor that is easy to clean and maintain. This surface is also excellent for repelling microorganisms on their surfaces. Improved durability can endure high-impact and consistent usage without damage. Heat-welded seams prevent water ingress and bacteria accumulation compared to porous grout and carpet fibres.

Rubber is another excellent material. Again, the same rule of thumb applies to rubber as it does to vinyl in a hospital setting. sheet rubber flooring is resilient, durable, sanitary, easy to seal, impact resistant and absorbs noise, and is available in a wide array of styles.
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. 

Picture Credit: Nora Rubber Flooring

Vinyl Composition Tile (VCT):
​VCT is always an economical option. These tiles are a mixture of natural limestone, fillers, colour pigments and a thermoplastic binder. Though the tile is extremely durable, VCT needs stripping, waxing, polishing and is higher maintenance than other vinyl floors and the life cycle costs should also be calculated and considered.

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 fibre. This product often stands with rubber to those buyers with environmental sensibilities. Linoleum also has reputable antimicrobial properties to protect against germs.

Safety Flooring at Operating Theatres: 
In areas with a high risk of hospital-acquired infections, such as operating theatres, medical laboratories, and cleanrooms, floors must meet the highest hygiene standards to ensure infection control and air cleanliness. To maintain a clean appearance, these floors provide sealed surfaces and fewer joints, and are resistant to stains and chemicals. They also prevent electrostatic discharges, so that the risk of equipment malfunction or discomfort during surgeries is drastically reduced.  

When selecting a floor for cleanrooms & operating theatres ensure the flooring meets the requirements of Infection control and hygiene, Resistant to stains, chemicals and disinfectant, Low airborne particulate contamination, Electrostatic control and Resistant to heavy loads.

To reduce staining in the ORs, select interior finishes that incorporate enhanced stain defence technology. Design operating room for easy repair; a central design element like a circle around an operating table can help make repair much easier. In this design, the only portion of the floor that would likely need replacement is the centre circle, which happens to be where the majority of OR stains occur. This design pattern can also apply to other rooms such as ICUs, Patient rooms, Trauma rooms etc.

Terrazzo & Epoxy Flooring:  
Terrazzo is still a desired flooring in many Hospitals due to its aesthetics, seamlessness, impact resistance, slip resistance hygiene and cleanability. Though installation and getting the desired quality is comparatively challenging, this flooring doesn’t need much maintenance and can give Return on Investment.
Seamless and puncture-resistant terrazzo and epoxy flooring eliminate bumps, fissures, seams, and crevices that can harbor dangerous bacteria, which are so notorious for their role in healthcare-associated infections.

Picture Credit: Terrazzo & Marble Company (Terrazzo Flooring)

​​Sealed epoxy flooring is also stain-resistant and easy to maintain, making it an effective solution for busy healthcare facilities. This flooring doesn’t need stripping or waxing, it is durable and resistant to stains, capable of supporting even the most stringent hygiene requirements, and puncture is resistant.
Seamless terrazzo and epoxy for hospital floors can be installed in patient areas, hospital hallways, lobbies, dialysis areas, operating rooms, mechanical rooms, break areas, cafeterias, back-area kitchens and at any other location that needs a clean and durable sanitary flooring solution.

Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT): 
This resilient product is low maintenance and is built to last. LVT is one of the most popular products in flooring today, mainly for the reception and waiting areas. It is easy to install, 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. Luxury vinyl tile is being used more commonly in healthcare because of its homelike design capabilities.
For flooring that is easy to clean as well as easy on the eyes LVT is the answer. Design capabilities with LVT are endless, allowing for calming residential feels to fun and eye-popping patterns.

Noor Shaikh, Project Manager, Johnstaff, Australia​
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