Healthcare flooring specification - getting it right

Durability, acoustics, ease of cleaning, and quick fitting are all key design drivers for modern healthcare flooring ranges

Flooring for healthcare environments needs to be durable, simple to clean, easy to install, and is increasingly being used to make environments feel less clinical

Hospital and healthcare facilities face many daily demands, as these public buildings are in constant use around the clock.

And, when it comes to refurbishing a healthcare environment, flooring plays a fundamental role in the design as the correct specification of products will enhance daily operations while contributing to staff comfort and the overall patient experience.

“Supporting the health and wellbeing of patients should be the main priority in healthcare settings and reducing noise pollution through the flooring can significantly contribute to this,” explains Janet Lowe, head of marketing at Forbo Flooring Systems.

Noise within healthcare environments can be caused by a variety of factors such as alarms, machinery, rolling beds or even HVAC systems – all of which can provoke annoyance responses, reduce staff performance, and at times even be harmful to patients.

With the help of acoustic floor coverings, noise levels can be kept at bay, as specialist products that have the ability to mitigate sound transmission from room to room can help to create a comfortable and peaceful environment to aid the healing process.

Forbo Modul'up is an adhesive-free sheet vinyl flooring that has been found to reduce downtime by up to 60% and installation costs by 40%

“Due to the busy and practical nature of a healthcare setting, it is essential that the floor coverings selected are suitable for high-traffic application areas and offer enhanced durability,” said Lowe.

“Products should deliver excellent dimensional stability and be capable of withstanding all types of traffic and demands that hospital floors are typically subject to, including heavy equipment, trollies, patient mobility aids and constant footfall.

“Some floor coverings may also possess high indentation resistance, which is beneficial for areas using rolling loads. In addition, specialist surface treatments can ensure ease of maintenance throughout a product’s service life, which is particularly important for the cleaning and maintenance regime in the healthcare sector.”

As prolonged downtime is not an option, it is equally important when specifying surface materials to consider the installation time of floor coverings, as it should cause as little disruption as possible to the daily running of healthcare operations.

Janet Lowe

Therefore, floor coverings that can be walked on and used immediately after installation are essential.

“There are vinyl loose-lay options available on the market, for example, which require no adhesive, tackifier, or double-sided tape, and can be fitted while the premises are still in use,” said Lowe.

“As these systems don’t have to be glued down, they have been designed to be laid straight down onto the subfloor, or in some cases even over existing flooring, resulting in the production of less dust, noise and odours into the environment.”

Forbo’s adhesive-free sheet vinyl collection, Modul’up, has been designed to meet all these specification drivers and is supplied in a choice of 20 colours and designs, another increasingly-important decision-making factor as hospitals strive to make environments look less clinical.

“Modul’up is an attractive proposition for healthcare applications where a quick turnaround is required,” said Lowe.

“Indeed, recent calculations have shown that when installing Modul’up over suitable existing floor coverings, downtime can be reduced by up to 60% and installation costs by over 40%.”

She added: “Flooring in healthcare presents various challenges and it is important that architects, specifiers and designers understand that by taking into account performance requirements, such as durability, acoustics and the installation times of floor coverings, they can ensure that products are fit for purpose, while being able to minimise disruption.”

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