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Healthcare flooring specification – getting it right!

by Ofentse Sefolo
Healthcare flooring specification – getting it right!

Flooring in healthcare presents various challenges. It is important that architects, specifiers and designers understand that considering performance requirements such as durability, acoustics and the installation times of floor coverings will ensure that products are fit for purpose, while minimising disruption.

Flooring for healthcare environments needs to be durable, simple to clean and easy to install. They are also increasingly being used to make environments feel less clinical. Hospital and healthcare facilities face many daily demands as these public buildings are in use around the clock.

In addition, 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.

Acoustics
Supporting the health and well-being of patients should be the main priority in healthcare settings and reducing noise pollution through the flooring can significantly contribute to this.

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

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

Durability
Because of 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.

Products should deliver excellent dimensional stability and be capable of withstanding all types of traffic and the 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.

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

These systems don’t have to be glued down. They are designed to be laid straight onto the subfloor or in some cases, even over existing flooring, resulting in less dust, noise and odours into the environment.

From cleanliness and accessibility to heavy wear, wayfinding and promoting a healing environment, hospital floors face many daily demands. In this feature, we look at the latest developments in healthcare construction, flooring options, inspirational new projects and some local developments.

Thanks and acknowledgement are given to All Things Flooring for some of the information contained in the article.

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