Healthcare Flooring Trends: Emerging Products and the Patient Experience

Healthcare flooring trends, from dental offices to hospitals,  are shifting to newer technology due to advancements in materials, manufacturing, application and maintenance.

Low maintenance sheet and tile products are becoming popular choices in this sector —including rubber, linoleum, sheet vinyl, and vinyl (including luxury vinyl tile – LVT), as this vertical requires a multitude of elements, including sanitization for pathogen control and containment.

Healthcare and flooring

Flooring decisions in healthcare depend on how it will affect patients, safety, indoor air quality and infection control.

This is especially important in operating rooms, as well as pre-op exams and post-op recovery spaces where ease of cleaning, sterilization and maintenance are required. Floor surfaces also need to be slip resistant and offer smooth transitions from one area to another for both hospital staff/patients and related equipment.

Healthcare Flooring Trends: Design Moving To A More Residential Feel

In the dental care field, there have been many changes as compared to 20 years ago. In a previous blog post we looked this sector in detail. Dentist offices are no longer cold and clinical. “Dentists are now doing everything they can to make the waiting area as comfortable as possible with a more residential feel,” said Dan Burns, President of Canadian Dental Construction, who has 30 years of experience in dental office builds and renovations. “One of the first concepts to consider before all else is the flooring. It will dictate the tone for the rest of the office as it will set the style and comfort a dentist wants for its patients.”

“From a flooring contractor’s perspective, the biggest change to date that we’ve seen is the dental office flooring moving away from linoleum or ceramic tile to LVT”, says Elizabeth Zhou, project co-ordinator at Darwin Fisher. “This includes the sterilization and lab areas that have typically been ceramic tile in the past. LVT is a better solution acoustically over tile. Plus, it’s easy to maintain and repair.”

Dental office flooring

Dental office design moves from clinical to a more residential feel.

LVT is being installed as it offers a variety of finishes while providing protection from water damage. These materials also offer more padding for longer wear, are damage resistant, easier to clean and require very little maintenance.

“I do think there has been a move toward LVT especially as the product further develops its qualities into becoming more sound absorbent, chemical resistant and water resistant,” Rita Valente of Toronto-based Rita Valente Designs.” LVT gives you options for look along with its own benefits and characteristics. Tile of course does remain popular as well, but it is a much harder surface to work on all day.”

Healthcare Flooring Trends and Flooring Research

Grand View Research, Inc., reports the global commercial flooring market size for was valued at USD 27.06 billion in 2016.  The research house maintains that healthcare is projected to foresee volume growth at a CAGR of 6.4% from 2017 to 2025. Flooring materials are required in various floor spaces in the healthcare industry that includes corridors, medical hallways, operation theaters, clinics, and diagnostic centers. Resilient and seamless floorings are usually required in this industry to bear heavy foot traffic and rolling loads.

Healthcare commercial flooring market

Grand View Research, Inc.

The same types of trends seen in dental offices have also been emerging in the hospital environments. Here we see much more residential feel to help with patient comfort and healing, while flooring options contribute to overall design.

According to Floor Trends Magazine, “with flooring being an integrated part of a healing environment, manufacturers are developing systems of innovative solutions that can be used to encourage optimum health and wellness. And in a market that demands proven, documented performance, healthcare flooring manufacturers are learning the importance of defining their products in terms of human-centered properties and the ability to relate them to outcomes.”

The article goes on to say that Smart flooring choices not only have the potential to maximize efficiencies through faster installation and ease of maintenance, they also can improve patient satisfaction through noise reduction, cleanliness and colors and patterns that support a healing environment.

Dental Flooring Toronto

Healthcare flooring technology is changing in terms of technology, application and the patient experience.

Healthcare Flooring Trends Driven By Patient Experience

From homogeneous sheet in the operating rooms, outpatient surgery centers and ER’s to LVT, laminate or real wood in the gift shop, c-suite offices and chapels; LVT in the corridors, waiting rooms, lobby, and sometimes in the patient rooms and nurses stations, and linoleum, heterogeneous sheet and VCT still present as well, designers today are specifying non-institutional products that resemble the home experience during functional renovations and new builds, according to Floor Trends. Safety prevention of slips and falls is also important in terms of protecting patients and workers. See our previous article on the cost of trips and falls.

Healthcare Facilities Today states that while there is a general trend in commercial building toward sustainability and green options, the decision to choose one product over another generally still comes down to cost, durability and aesthetics. In a healthcare setting, that decision is then compounded by additional concerns, such as how it affects patient care, safety, indoor air quality and infection control.

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