Selecting the Right Hospital Flooring
From cleanliness and accessibility to heavy wear, wayfinding and promoting a healing environment, hospitals face many daily demands. The flooring chosen is no exception; it’s a crucial part of creating a quality care setting. Here are some of the most popular hospital flooring options for various areas of a healthcare facility and the core requirements these floors must meet.
Entrances are the first area patients, families and visitors see in a hospital. They help patrons locate services, and they see the heaviest foot traffic and rolling loads. You’ll want a durable, welcoming floor that makes a strong first impression.
We highly recommend terrazzo and luxury vinyl tile (LVT) for entrance areas. Terrazzo is a premium, highly durable option that requires minimal maintenance and lasts for decades. It stands up well to rolling loads, is handicap-friendly and is now available in largely recyclable materials. LVT also offers durability and design versatility.
Corridors and clinical areas
Corridors are the main arteries of the hospital and see heavy use from foot traffic and heavy rolling loads such as equipment carts, stretchers, med carts and wheelchairs. To minimize disruptions, flooring in corridors requires rapid installation and must be highly durable to minimize maintenance. Themed and patterned flooring with lively colors can help create clear paths that identify care areas. Corridor flooring can also help reduce stress and promote healing by supporting an evidence-based design scheme.
Rubber and LVT are two popular hospital flooring options that meet all of these performance requirements. Both save time during installation, as they are available with pre-applied adhesive on the backings. Free-floating LVT options cut out adhesives altogether. Both rubber and LVT can also come with protective coatings that resist scratches and scuffs, reducing maintenance disruptions. Both are offered in a variety of textures, colors, and patterns.
Emergency and operating rooms
Emergency and operating rooms must meet the most strict infection control requirements and remain usable at all times. You’ll want easy-to-clean materials that promote cleanliness. Using smooth or low-texture flooring keeps dirt and fluids from slipping beneath the surface of the floor.
Resin flooring is a perfect solution for these areas. When it comes to benefits, a properly installed resin floor can provide a facility with a durable, safe, and flexible walking surface. Not to mention, resin floors are one of the most hygienic and chemical-resistant flooring solutions on the market. Much like cleaning a kitchen countertop, spills can be easily dealt with by simply wiping them away as they will never settle or sink below the surface. Resin flooring is also one of the most popular flooring options in regards to aesthetics. With a wide range of design options and customizations, industrial resin floors are capable of meeting virtually any design vision.
The best cafeteria floors are stain-resistant, easy to clean and slip-retardant. A patterned, textured floor can benefit a cafeteria space by both reducing and hiding scuffs and scratches. Evidence-based design dictates hospital cafeterias should be comfortable environments that promote relaxation and reduce stress. Hospital flooring options that meet all of these requirements include sheet vinyl and LVT. They afford great design versatility with vibrant colors and natural textures while providing lasting durability.
Nurse’s stations and treatment areas
Staff and patients spend most of their time in these environments, and nurse’s stations never shut down. Flooring should promote stress reduction, comfort and 24-7 access with materials that allow rapid installation and minimize maintenance.
To suit these purposes, many hospitals have moved away from traditional vinyl composition tile (VCT) and are turning to LVT, bio-based tile (BBT) and sheet flooring made from low-VOC materials. We recommend flooring options within these categories that have protective coatings, as they’ll resist scratches and minimize the need for waxing, buffing and chemical cleaning. Free-floating LVT and materials with adhesive backings will reduce installation times and disruption to these critical care areas.
In many hospitals, patient rooms are designed to emulate home-like environments. As these rooms do not require aseptic flooring, you have more options for materials, adhesives and installation methods.
LVT and sheet vinyl are great options that provide stone, wood, tweed and other natural looks with more durability at a lower cost than natural materials. They can all work with rapid installation systems. One new option to consider is textile flooring, a material that provides the feel of carpet with the durability and performance of tile.
Resources for selecting hospital flooring
In recent years, a variety of evaluation and rating systems have emerged to aid in the selection of materials that meet hospitals’ rigorous demands. Some of the biggest include:
- LEED for Healthcare—A flooring rating system developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) that takes evidence-based design and indoor air quality into account. Find out more at usgbc.org/resources/leed-2009-health-care-current-version
- Green Guide for Healthcare (GGHC)—A best-practices guide for healthy and sustainable design, construction and operations for healthcare facilities. Find out more at gghc.org
- FloorScore—A rating system developed by the Resilient Floor Covering Institute (RFCI) in conjunction with Scientific Certification Systems (SCS) that evaluates flooring for VOC emission levels and compliance with other rating systems. Find out more at rfci.com/floorscore
- ecoScorecard—A composite tool showing flooring products that comply with the most popular rating systems. Find out more at ecoscorecard.com.