Flooring contributes to a visitor’s first impression of a healthcare space and shapes their opinions about the organisation’s ability to provide a good level of care. Contributing to structural integrity and a healing aesthetic, the role of flooring should not be underestimated, so careful specification is necessary to ensure that flooring meets the needs of healthcare.
A Question of Goals
An article published in America’s Healthcare Design Magazine, Evidence-Based Flooring Guidance, suggests that there is no hard and fast comparison of flooring types for healthcare solutions. This is also the case in the UK, but though there is a lack of defined metrics by which to specify flooring, there are certain goals that the flooring will need to achieve in order to be suitable for use as flooring in healthcare.
However, the article suggests that often, ‘a performance characteristic suggested for a specific evidence-based goal resulted in a trade-off with a different goal’. Meaning that one characteristic can compromise another, but with vinyl flooring options available from Itec Contract Floors this trade-off can be minimised. Designers and specifiers operating in healthcare can prioritise goals that are most important to the particular needs of the location and specify flooring accordingly, using the generic attributes of compact-backed sheet vinyl to their advantage.
The Department of Health’s Health Building Note 00-10 Part A: Flooring, is a good place to start in identifying the chief needs of flooring in healthcare. Among other performance requirements, it states that ‘floor finishes should provide a flat surface without pronounced texturing’ and that the following needs should be assessed before specification: environment, contamination, appearance, acoustics, use, footwear, and slip and trip potential under different conditions. Assessment of a location’s needs on each of these factors will help to determine which flooring is most suitable, while meeting the requirements of the Care Quality Commission for quality and fitness-for-purpose of the estate.
Regardless of the individual requirements of locations within a healthcare building, perhaps the single most-important need of healthcare flooring is the ability to be cleaned to a high standard, with the Department of Health’s note requiring that ‘all finishes should be chosen with cleaning in mind, especially where contamination is a possibility’. To meet this requirement, all compact-backed sheet decorative vinyl flooring from Itec Contract Floors is equipped with Hyperguard+ PUR, a specially developed polyurethane treatment that makes the cleaning of all floors easier.
Applied to safety, acoustic and decorative vinyl flooring suitable for use in healthcare from Itec Contract Floors, Hyperguard+ PUR makes it simpler for maintenance regimes to uphold standards, through making marks and stains easier to remove. With no periodic ‘topping up’ required, Hyperguard+ PUR lasts for the lifetime of the floor, so further helping with lifecycle costs.
In decorative vinyl flooring for healthcare with Concept Woods and Concept Décor, Hyperguard+ is combined with a new T-emboss structure, a subtle mechanical emboss of the floor surface. In combination, these features provide improved stain-resistance, easier maintenance, improved slip and abrasion resistance, as well as a matt surface for less reflectivity and clarity of design. Across all Concept Woods and Concept Décor designs, the T-emboss and Hyperguard+ make these collections even more suitable as vinyl floors for healthcare use.
While not providing a specific set of metrics for each area within healthcare, the Department of Health does make recommendations for the type of flooring to be used in particular areas.
In its note, the Department of Health also advises that ‘falling in hospitals remains a significant problem. Older people are most at risk of falling, and this patient group is growing.’ In hospital streets and entrances, defined as heavy traffic by the Department of Health, the use of isafe safety compact-backed vinyl flooring can help to combat this, meeting the HSE’s TRRL 36+ Low Potential for Slip standard.
Equipped with Hyperguard+, isafe safety flooring can also do so while still ‘capable of being cleaned to agreed hygiene standards’ (Health Building Note 00-10 Part A: Flooring, 2.9). In a range of highly decorative looks, including wood effects, isafe vinyl flooring for healthcare can have a positive impact on the perception of a space and the ability of the organisation to provide high-quality care.
With the Department of Health recommended sheet systems for Clinical Dry areas such as single and multi-bed rooms, consulting rooms and clean utility; designers can turn to compact-backed decorative sheet vinyl flooring for healthcare by Itec Contract Floors.
The Concept Woods and Concept Décor collections provide a floor that is both durable, meeting EN 685 Class 34 Very Heavy Commercial, while also proving attractive and easy to maintain thanks to Hyperguard+. In a range of wood and decorative effects, thanks to a compact-backed heterogeneous construction, both Concept Woods and Concept Décor can also provide heightened comfort for both patients and healthcare staff.
In offices and stores, again Concept Woods and Concept Décor should be used, with the durability and ease of maintenance of compact-backed vinyl flooring proving ideal for these areas. With popular wood-effects including classic oak and grey-washed looks, Concept Woods can provide a particularly attractive floor for offices, providing a highly durable finish that also facilitates easy passage of wheeled traffic and ease of maintenance. Equipped with a compact foam backing, Concept Woods also provides a degree of impact absorption, helping to improve comfort for healthcare staff. The floor is also available in a four-metre width and fully-compatible with the Invisiweld installation method.
All vinyl floors for healthcare available from Itec Contract Floors can be specified in an unconventional but extremely practical four-metre width, which allows healthcare environments to reduce the number of seams across the floor, a distinct advantage when it comes to providing a long-term solution to continuous impermeable floor finishes, as preferred by the Department of Health.
Combined with Invisiweld, a chemical weld that ensures a tighter, more secure and a much less noticeable join at the seams, the result is that vinyl flooring from Itec Contract Floors can provide less areas for dirt to harbour – compared to conventional hot-welded seams – and fewer, stronger seams; reducing potential failure hotspots.
With a need to minimise unnecessary changes in flooring surfaces, as well as to provide low maintenance, minimise slips, provide easy mobility and to contribute to the organisation’s ability to provide a good quality of care, vinyl flooring for healthcare from Itec Contract Floors makes a serious argument for specification.
On Hand to Guide You to a Perfect Specification
Any of our Itec Contract Floors sales representatives will be happy to help build a perfect healthcare flooring specification for your education project, or why not begin by ordering samples of our isafe and Concept Woods and Concept Décor collections.
 Heavy traffic, as set out in; 4 Types of finish by room space, Health Building Note 00-10 Part A: Flooring, Department of Health.