Covid-19 Flooring Disinfection and How It Impacts Your Installation Choices

As Covid-19 continues into 2021, many flooring manufacturers are introducing new solutions, materials and finishes to increase social distancing. However, selecting the right application for your installation goes well beyond the product chosen. Covid-19 flooring disinfection will impact your flooring considerations to include long-term functionality, daily employee traffic flow and maintenance.

As there is now more demand for cleaning and sterilization, understanding how this impacts flooring in terms of life expectancy, appearance retention and ongoing maintenance also needs to be considered as installing the wrong product could lead to future issues.

Covid-19 Flooring Disinfection and Impact

‘As we continue to live with COVID-19, there’s an increased emphasis on maintaining flooring, with services on offer that are designed to keep floors clean—and virus-free. From protocols, to equipment and disinfectants, there’s plenty to consider when deciding on the proper cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting of commercial flooring,” states Floor Trends Magazine in a recent article.

The article goes onto say that more data about how chemicals will affect interior finishes is required as there aren’t enough long-term studies regarding how these disinfectants will affect specific materials over time.  For this reason, there is a greater need for flooring manufacturers to provide more information about what chemicals can be safely used on floor surfaces as disinfection becomes a regular part of the care process. This relates specifically to how this could impact warranty.

Covid-19 flooring disinfection

How disinfection can impact your flooring choices

Covid-19 and Social Distancing Flooring Solutions

Leading applications provide different levels of wear and tear and also vary in design and aesthetic impact. For example, carpet tile technology has progressed to absorb sound and offers cushioning for employees who frequently stand. Carpet tile provides greater flexibility for installation and refitting for a variety of applications across many industries including healthcare, hospitality, retail, education and the entertainment industry.

Mohawk Group Nutopia 2.0 and Milliken  Social Factor  and other manufacturers now providing navigational flooring solutions using carpet tile. Carpet tile has extra cushion and vinyl backing so that it doesn’t easily unravel. Carpet tile is also  extremely durable and spot areas can be quickly changed without requiring additional installation expertise. Many manufacturers are now offering social distancing carpet tile solutions to help mitigate employee anxiety and direct traffic flow. In general, the cleaning and maintenance costs of carpet are relatively low, requiring regular vacuuming and an occasional deep cleaning. How Covid-19 will impact the cleaning and maintenance of carpet tile will depend on the location, amount of traffic and demands of the space where installation occurs.

Covid-19 Flooring Disinfection

How Covid-19 will impact carpet installation

VCT offers both style and functionality. It is budget conscious and easy to install, repair and offers simple daily maintenance such as quick damp mop. It has a long lifespan and is a cheaper solution than ceramic or hardwood. It is also ideal for spaces which are prone to high moisture levels. If you require the qualities found in a rubber surface, mixed in with the appeal of laminate or linoleum flooring, vinyl is a great choice. This type of flooring is scratch-resistant. Vinyl floors are very common in dental offices and healthcare verticals because they offer style with functionality and ease of daily maintenance. Products made from 100% vinyl are classified as green solutions and eligible for LEED points. Although VCT is easy to maintain the impact of harsher chemicals for disinfection over long periods of time will eventually affect top layer finishes.

Covid-19 Flooring Disinfection

Photo credit: Mohawk Group – Large + Local LVT creates directionality

LVT has become a popular choice as it is available in a large array of designs that mimic wood and stone but is much more durable. It offers better acoustic properties than hard surface flooring like ceramic tile and it won’t chip or discolor. LVT is long-wearing, requires very little maintenance and is protected by a clear layer which helps to maintain its appearance over long periods of time. It will not expand and contract in humid or dry seasons and is a fraction of the price of stone or real wood.  There are several manufacturers that offer wayfinding LVT products to help with social distancing solutions and traffic flow in the workplace. LVT is another material that is easy to clean and maintain however, if it is installed in high traffic area which requires constant disinfection the chemicals used would have to be examined to determine how that would affect long-term care.

Covid-19 and Emerging Healthcare Flooring Applications

The flooring choice for hospitals is still dominated by resilient applications. Here we are seeing new and innovative solutions which are also environmentally friendly, like Legato Liquid Linoleum from Mannington Commercial.  According to Mannington, “Legato Liquid Linoleum can be installed across many segments that require the benefits of infection control, slip resistance, and sound dampening – traits that go above and beyond that of a traditional linoleum thanks to its seamless installation and Quantum Guard Elite® technology. These segments include healthcare, government, education, retail and assisted living applications.”

Liquid linoleum flooring solutions

Photo credit: Mannington Commercial  – Legato Liquid Linoleum

As there are a broad range of flooring solutions available it’s wise to ensure that you are dealing with a reputable flooring contractor that understands the opportunities and challenges associated with your new build or retrofit. As Covid-19 flooring disinfection becomes more complex, true flooring specialists need to have in-depth knowledge of the products that they install. They will make recommendations for your specific project and advise what type of products will offer the best performance. Installing the best solution for your particular space will ensure your flooring needs and return on investment are met for years to come.

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For your free Covid-19 flooring installation assessment, please contact us here.

Dental Offices 2020: LVT Continues To Be Top Installation Choice

Dental office flooring installation in 2020 continues to move from linoleum and ceramic tile to luxury vinyl tile (LVT). Low maintenance products such as LVT, which we have profiled in the past, have been gaining influence as a viable solution based on design aesthetics, ease of installation, cleaning and maintenance. This type of floor surface is also slip resistant and offers smooth transitions from one area to another.

LVT is extremely versatile from a design perspective. It can replicate the appearance of natural stone or wood but will not wear like natural materials. It won’t chip or discolour and will not expand and contract as wood does in humid or dry seasons. It can also replicate real wood or stone at a fraction of the price. Products made from 100% vinyl are classified as green solutions and eligible for LEED points. LVT is also more economical  from an initial cost perspective (supply + install) over ceramic.

lvt and dental offices

LVT installation continues to be popular for dental offices

“From a flooring contractor’s perspective the biggest change to date that we’ve seen is  dental office flooring moving away from linoleum or ceramic tile to LVT”, explains Doug McDonald, President of Darwin Fisher Commercial Flooring. “LVT offers superior thermal and acoustic properties in comparison to hard surface flooring. Plus, it’s easy to maintain and repair.”

Also in the past the design community drove 75% of the chosen flooring. This has also changed as Darwin Fisher is driving the flooring selection for almost all of its dental office projects. The migration was made possible over a short time as new and more optimal flooring technologies like LVT were made available that were better suited to the healthcare environment.

“There are still some ceramic tile requests but less than before. For new offices I am actually seeing it more in the entrance vestibule and washrooms rather than sterilization/lab area,” says McDonald.

LVT dental office installation Toronto

Photo credit: Canadian Dental Construction

Dental Office Trends: The Move Away from Ceramic

“Dentists are now doing everything they can to make the waiting area as comfortable as possible,” 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.”

For dental office flooring, there has been a move away from using only ceramic tile. Many of the newer flooring finishes like LVT are being used as they offer 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.

Dentist offices are no longer cold and clinical. There have been many changes as compared to 20 years ago. “For example, we now design the operatories to be less intimidating so we take as much focus as we can off of the patient chair and plan the room around audio visual….The look is much neater, cleaner and less intimidating for the patient. Even softer lighting in the ceilings is taken into account,” explains Burns.

There are a few benefits associated with the newer loose lay technology:

  • It’s 5 mm thick and offers a cushioned surface which is ideal for hygienists and dentists who are on their feet all day.
  • Like traditional LVT it wears well and is durable while offering ease of maintenance.
  • After installation, if an accident occurs, the modularity of LVT loose lay flooring systems offer an easy way to isolate a damaged area and provide the flexibility of spot repair rather than having to replace the entire floor.
  • It is aesthetically pleasing as there are many different designs and colours available to meet a variety of project installation needs from a design perspective.

Dental Office Trends: LVT Becoming a Long-Term Solution

Loose lay LVT has many of the same performance attributes of traditional LVT but goes above and beyond with other benefits that make it a better option. Loose lay is also fast becoming an ideal product for raised access flooring that are typical to new office builds. It can be easily removed and replaced when needed to areas that require constant or frequent access. Its flexibility allows it to be adapted to be installed over other existing flooring materials for retrofits. It is also now thick enough that it can be laid to be flush with other products in the area such as carpet, hardwood or tile if required for transition areas in dental office flooring.

lvt installation toronto

Photo credit: Canadian Dental Construction

Due the fact that it requires minimal adhesive when compared to traditional LVT, Loose lay has also become the preferred flooring choice as it is easier to install, remove and replace in terms of maintenance and spot fixing if required. Loose lay also offers better acoustic properties than traditional LVT. The thickness and textured surface helps to absorb sounds which is also ideal for optimizing privacy between patient examination areas.

Currently, over 80% of dental office flooring installations are LVT for Darwin Fisher clients. The odd time Darwin Fisher gets request for carpet tile; however this is generally if the existing office has carpet and an economical flooring replacement is needed. However, in most instances the dentist will opt to upgrade to new LVT to replace the old flooring.

To see a related article regarding commercial flooring trends click here.

For more information about dental office renovations and flooring installation solutions please contact info@darwinfisher.com

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.