Hospital flooring options: Creating a care setting on a budget
From cleanliness and accessibility to heavy wear, wayfinding and promoting a healing environment — hospitals face many daily demands. Your flooring is no exception, and it’s a crucial part of creating a quality care setting. In this article, we show you hospital flooring options for various areas of your facility and explore the core requirements your floors must meet.
This blog post will provide a quick rundown of those flooring options, but for a more in-depth look at how we approach hospital flooring projects, check out this case study on engineering value for a $109-million medical center.
Entrances are the first area patients, families and visitors see in your hospital. They help your patrons locate services, and they see the heaviest foot traffic and rolling loads. You’ll want a durable, welcoming floor that promotes your design vision and makes a strong first impression.
We highly recommend terrazzo and luxury vinyl tile (LVT) for entrance areas. Terrazzo is a premium, highly durable option that requires minimal maintenance and lasts for decades. It stands up well to rolling loads, is handicap-friendly and is now available in largely recyclable materials. LVT offers much of the same durability and even more design versatility.
Corridors and clinical areas
Corridors are the main arteries of your hospital and see heavy use 24-7, including foot traffic and heavy rolling loads, such as equipment carts, stretchers, med carts and wheelchairs. To minimize disruptions, flooring in corridors requires rapid installation and must be highly durable to minimize maintenance. Themed and patterned flooring with lively color can help you create clear paths that identify care areas. Corridor flooring can help reduce stress and promote healing by supporting an evidence-based design scheme.
Discover hospital flooring materials for each unique area
Find our recommended flooring materials for your hospital in this guide. Learn about which flooring materials are best suited for the different areas of a hospital and why.
Rubber and LVT are two popular hospital flooring options that meet all of these performance requirements. Both save time during installation, as they can come with pre-applied adhesive on the backings. Free-floating LVT options even cut out adhesives altogether. Both rubber and LVT can come with protective coatings that resist scratches and scuffs, reducing maintenance disruptions, labor, water, and chemicals. Both come in a variety of textures, colors, and patterns. LVT, in particular, emulates soothing natural textures, such as wood, stone and more, but with better durability and a lower price than traditional materials.
Emergency and operating rooms
Emergency and operating rooms must meet the most strict infection control requirements and remain usable 24-7. You’ll want easy-to-clean materials that promote cleanliness. Using smooth or low-texture flooring and proper installation keeps dirt and fluids from slipping beneath the surface of your floor.
LVT, sheet and linoleum are great fits for these environments because they enable the use of heat welding and flash coving during installation, making it possible to create a fully aseptic space. All of these materials can come with coatings that resist chemical staining from medical products and bodily fluids. You’ll get a floor that eliminates polishing, waxing and spray buffing — reducing maintenance disruptions and costs. These materials come in constructions that promote indoor air quality with low emissions of volatile organic compounds (low VOC).
The best cafeteria floors are stain-resistant, easy to clean and slip-retardant. A patterned, textured floor can benefit your cafeteria by both reducing and hiding scuffs and scratches. Evidence-based design dictates hospital cafeterias should be comfortable environments that promote relaxation and reduce stress.
Hospital flooring options that meet all of these requirements include sheet vinyl, LVT and tile. They afford great design versatility with vibrant colors and natural textures while providing lasting durability.
Nurse’s stations and treatment areas
Staff and patients spend most of their time in these environments, and nurse’s stations never shut down. Flooring should promote stress reduction, comfort and 24-7 access with materials that allow rapid installation and minimize maintenance.
To suit these purposes, many hospitals have moved away from traditional linoleum and vinyl composition tile (VCT) for nurse’s stations and functional treatment areas. Instead, hospitals are turning to LVT, bio-based tile (BBT) and sheet tile flooring made from low-VOC materials. We recommend flooring options within these categories that have protective coatings, as they’ll resist scratches and minimize the need for waxing, buffing and chemical cleaning. Free-floating LVT and materials with adhesive backings will reduce installation times and disruption to these critical care areas.
In many hospitals, patient rooms are designed to emulate home-like environments. As these rooms do not require aseptic flooring, you have more options for materials, adhesives and installation methods. You have the flexibility to specify warm, inviting flooring with natural textures.
LVT, linoleum and sheet tile are great options that provide stone, wood, tweed and other natural looks with more durability at a lower cost than natural materials. They can all work with rapid installation systems. One new option to consider is textile flooring, a material that provides the feel of carpet with the durability and performance of tile.
Resources for selecting hospital flooring options
In recent years, a variety of evaluation and rating systems have emerged to aid in the selection of materials that meet hospitals’ rigorous demands. Some of the biggest include:
- LEED for Healthcare — A flooring rating system developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) that takes evidence-based design and indoor air quality into account
- Green Guide for Healthcare (GGHC) — a best-practices guide for healthy and sustainable design, construction and operations for healthcare facilities
- FloorScore — a rating system developed by the Resilient Floor Covering Institute (RFCI) in conjunction with Scientific Certification Systems (SCS) that evaluates flooring for VOC emission levels and compliance with other rating systems
- ecoScorecard — a composite tool showing flooring products that comply with the most popular rating systems
Learn the latest trends in commercial flooring
At Spectra Contract Flooring, we’re dedicated to helping you achieve the greatest value for your flooring investment. For more information, and to help you feel more confident in your healthcare design vision, or hospital design, check out our pages: healthy healthcare flooring and hospital floor plan: traits, insights, and tips.
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