Strides made in healthcare flooring materials offer greater design options

While durability and infection control are still vital considerations, aesthetics has become more important as healthcare facilities seek warmer, more inviting looks for floors.

By Healthcare Facilities Today
June 28, 2013

Visitors’ expectations that a hospital shouldn’t look like a hospital are more often influencing flooring choices. 

The May-June issue of Healthcare Design reports that healthcare facilities are seeking warmer, more inviting looks for floors, something that might call to mind a hotel or home. While durability and infection control are still vital, aesthetics has become an equal consideration. 

According to the article, Terrazzo is a popular choice for public spaces because it’s easily maintained and has plenty of options for color and incorporating other decorations or designs. Carpet, of course, will instantly warm up any public area, but is not recommended in treatment areas because of problems with staining and cleaning. Rubber is popular with staff because of its softness underfoot, and it lends itself well to infection control. 

However, “there’s still a lot of perception that shiny equals clean,” says Jennifer Mango, an interior designer in Massachusetts, according to the article. Floors that require waxing are losing popularity, due to concerns about indoor air quality, but plenty of other options are available. Even some rubber surfaces can now be buffed to remove their traditional dull look, and manufacturers have developed higher-gloss options for linoleum and terrazzo, the article says. 

Designers have also realized that flooring has a role to play in wayfinding. If a receptionist can simply say, “Follow the yellow pattern on the floor,” that creates an easier solution for everyone than myriad signs.

To control costs, designers suggest using a less expensive material of similar appearance in staff-only areas, and being aware of a product’s total lifecycle cost when care and maintenance are taken into account, according to the article. 

Read the full article. 


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