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Healthcare design: Walls

Healthcare design

Healthcare facilities face some harsh treatment. Walls need to withstand intensive cleaning regimes, bumps and scrapes from wheeled beds and trolleys, be chemical-resistant, offer an impervious antibacterial surface and still look attractive. Facilities managers want low-maintenance solutions, building owners want to improve accessibility and usability, while patients need a safe, attractive environment. 

Walls & Roofs investigates what options are available when specifying wall protection for healthcare facilities and what the benefits are. 

Wall coatings 

Hygienic wall coatings are designed to resist regular scrubbing and a variety of cleaning detergents. These products deliver a smooth, non-porous and seamless finish that is easy to clean. 

According to EN 13300, the standard for water-borne coating materials and coating systems for interior walls and ceilings, can be defined in five classes of wet scrub resistance. Class 3 is applicable for a washable wall paint, versus specialist coatings that offer a more robust wet scrub resistance of Class 1. 

Wall coatings are well suited for use in emergency rooms, operating theatres, medical laboratories et al., as well as for food and beverage production facilities. 

Wall cladding 

Solid PVC wall panels and vinyl wall sheeting offer a full-wall cladding solution that is easy to clean and maintain. These products are hygienic and resistant to chemicals, impact, moisture, and stains. The benefit of cladding versus tiled walls is that there is no grout, which if not an epoxy or modified product, can harbour bacteria. 

Easy installation, a wide variety of colours, finishes and matching profiles deliver wall protection with aesthetic appeal. Bespoke printed finishes allow for design freedom. 

Wall cladding is well suited to areas with high levels of pedestrian traffic such as passages and waiting areas. 

Wall protectors 

Areas subject to heavy wear and tear from wheeled beds, food trolleys and other wheeled equipment require an impact-resistant solution that deflects and absorbs impact, protecting walls and doors from damage. Chips and cracks in the wall create niches for microbial growth and the potential for infection. 

The use of wall protection products reduces the need for repairs, lowering maintenance and lifecycle costs for the facility. 

Protection solutions include: 

Wall protection depends on the unique requirements for a specific project, and it may require a combination of solutions to deliver on the needs of all stakeholders. 

In the end, it is worth remembering that a healthcare facility is more than a place where people receive treatment. It should also reduce the risk of infection and be inviting for everyone who uses, works, and visits there.  

Issue: Why wall protection for healthcare facilities? 

Solution: Save on maintenance costs, improve usability and property values, and create a patient-friendly space. 


Acknowledgement and thanks go to:

Palram, Polyflor and Sika for the information in this article.

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