There are so many different types of medical facilities — hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, dentist and doctor’s offices, or clinics — and although they all serve different purposes, they all require quality healthcare flooring. Patients deserve healthcare flooring that gives them comfort as their home would, yet is hygienic and minimizes risk of falling or slipping. Healthcare facilities deserve flooring that is durable enough to withstand constant foot traffic and is easy to maintain on a daily basis. There isn’t one solution when it comes to healthcare flooring. What works in the operating room of a hospital, won’t necessarily work in a dentist office or in the bathroom of a clinic. That’s why understanding the functions a space is going to serve is so important.
One of the most versatile healthcare flooring solutions available today is vinyl — whether it is luxury vinyl tile, plank or resilient sheet vinyl.
Hospitals are unique because there are essentially two types of environments within a hospital; there are the clean, non-sterile environments that experience heavy foot traffic and then there are the sterile areas where, though the foot traffic may be similar to non-sterile environments, the potential for contamination on the flooring is more likely.
Sterile environments include highly critical areas like operating rooms, intensive care or emergency room spaces. These types of environments require flooring with fewer seams, not only so medical equipment can be easily wheeled around, but also for hygienic reasons. These environments are ideal for resilient sheet vinyl products. Sheet vinyl, when installed properly, has fewer seams — which in a sterile environment with a high probability of spills is incredibly important. There are two install options that will help with the seams: heat welded and chemically bonded. Heat welded is the best option for keeping contamination out of seams because it melts a rubber strip between the sheets to form a bond. Chemical bonding uses a liquid adhesive which can lead to a slightly weaker seam.
Due to the flexibility of sheet vinyl, it can also extend up a wall to form a baseboard, making it even more ideal for a sterile environment.
Medical Offices and Facilities
Although medical offices, like dentist and physician’s offices, aren’t open 24 hours a day nor do they experience as much foot traffic as a hospital does, they still need a durable floor that is hygienic and easy to maintain. Because medical offices are part of a non-sterile environment, sheet vinyl is not the only flooring option. The easy maintenance and design options of luxury vinyl tile and plank are ideal for medical offices.
Recommended Flooring for Health Care Facilities
Patients often experience some level of anxiety while at the doctor or dentist, but sometimes a welcoming patient or waiting room can help alleviate that feeling. Luxury vinyl plank options offer a look that is more reminiscent of home rather than healthcare, which can help patients feel more at ease. LVP is fairly sound absorbent so there is less disruption that patients will experience while recovering or receiving treatment.
The versatility and easy installation features also make LVP a popular choice because it can limit the time of disruption to a facility and its staff and patients.
Although care centers are in a period of high growth and rapid change in the form of shifting care processes and protocols, one thing that is constant is the need for durable flooring with hygienic finishes that protect against infection control and scuffs & scratches from heavy loads and foot traffic.