As the demands placed on healthcare environments have increased, flooring manufacturers have worked to keep up. Many vinyl flooring manufacturers now provide designers with a wide range of texture and color combinations to choose from, while also providing a floor that is environmentally friendly. For example, new bio-based homogenous sheet vinyl flooring on the market can contain more than 75 percent renewable raw materials with a bio-based plasticizer made from organic grain waste residues. Its composition gives way to 40 times lower VOC emissions set by European environmental standards.
In addition, new polymer surface treatments—some applied with laser technologies—promise to provide enhanced protection against micro scratches, stains and commonly used chemicals, such as betadine and iodine. These treatments not only protect the beauty of the floor by further reducing maintenance needs and providing a micro-scratch resistance similar to ceramic, but give way to a clean, sanitary hospital environment.
Another innovation to consider is an LVT vertical
click system, which eliminates the need for adhesives—thereby removing
the VOCs associated with gluing and improving indoor air quality. A vertical click system designed for commercial applications requires minimum floor preparation and tools, and can be installed quickly and easily. This makes for faster turnaround times during renovations, resulting in fewer patient disturbances and happier staff members.
Before EBD, the priorities for healthcare flooring were
durability and maintenance. As research has progressed
and design strategies have evolved, the list of requirements placed on flooring has grown. Because of EBD principles, a large number of facility managers, architects, designers and hospital administrators now conduct a rigorous floor selection process based on both form and function.
It’s no longer acceptable for a product to simply look good—it must perform well, too. Moving forward, architects and designers must continue to be guided by good design, but they must also be able to demonstrate how a product will affect patient recovery and staff performance. Thanks to its inherent qualities and characteristics, vinyl flooring looks to be a good fit for the next generation of healthcare environments.
Catherine del Vecchio is an international marketing
professional and serves as Gerflor North America's marketing director. She works with Gerflor's corporate product management teams at its French headquarters to ensure innovations reflect the U.S. and Canadian markets’ needs, as it relates to style and performance of commercial and sports vinyl flooring.