The Leaflet Article
Prescription for Flooring in Today's Healthcare Environment
Vital Innovations for Healthcare Facility Floor Installation
Flooring plays a critical yet often overlooked role in the daily activity of today’s busy healthcare organizations. Hospital floors must stand up to years of continuous traffic, including heavy loads, such as gurneys carrying patients and equipment. In addition to durability, maintenance is important in healthcare design. Healthcare flooring must protect against the growth of mold and bacteria as well as withstand frequent cleaning with chemical agents, as this helps prevent infection.
Not only are the long-term features of flooring critical to hospitals, the installation process also needs to be considered with the utmost care. Contractors and flooring installers working on healthcare facility projects have to address multiple challenges. The installation time needs to be swift, clean and efficient so as not to cause disruption to patients.
To help ensure flooring installation and features support the mission of patient care, consider the following best practices:
Overcoming Time Constraints
In today’s healthcare construction, contractors want floor installation done overnight. This causes concerns when the concrete slab has a moisture problem and moisture mitigation is needed. If not properly addressed, excess moisture in the concrete slab can result in serious flooring failures. Recent technologies can help speed up the installation of moisture mitigation solutions. Previously, the approach to moisture mitigation was to use a two-part epoxy to seal the slab surface, creating a substrate that was ready to accept finish flooring materials. While effective, this method requires surface preparation, multiple steps and a long cure time, potentially delaying the project schedule.
An alternative approach is to use a proven moisture mitigation solution like KOVARA® moisture barriers prior to installing the finished flooring. KOVARA® moisture barriers are sheet membranes that serve as a moisture suppression system. They are designed to be laid down above the concrete slab but underneath floor coverings such as carpet, vinyl or ceramic tile. When working on a healthcare renovation, moisture barriers can also be placed over intact existing flooring to avoid removal of existing flooring.
These sheet membranes offer significant advantages compared to epoxy solutions. Epoxy involves a time-consuming, manual application process, and no other work can take place during its installation and the subsequent curing process. This halt in a project schedule represents an expenditure of time and money for the hospital and contractors alike.
Unlike epoxy, KOVARA® moisture barriers can be installed in a single night. This allows the healthcare facility to close the area in the evening, renovate the flooring overnight and then be fully functional by the morning, avoiding disruptions for busy doctors and nurses. This feature also keeps new building construction schedules on track, reducing labor costs.
Eliminating Noise and Dust
Patient comfort is a critical consideration in a hospital setting. Avoiding epoxies and/or solutions that require shot blasting (which generates noise and particulates), can make floor installation far less intrusive to patients and staff. Unlike epoxy, KOVARA® moisture barriers can be installed without a specialized crew of trained applicators; it does not require the use of noisy and potentially hazardous shot-blasting. Just roll onto the surface, tape the seams, cut in and you're done. Floor installation without noise or a dusty mess is a great benefit for hospitals.
Hospital floors require advanced protection against damage from moisture and alkalinity. Installing flooring materials that are easy to disinfect and that do not promote the growth of mold, bacteria and other harmful organisms is a top patient safety priority in any healthcare facility. Reducing moisture intrusion can help minimize this risk, while also decreasing the chance of floor buckling that could lead to slips, falls and injuries to staff, patients or visitors.
A new product from GCP Applied Technologies, KOVARA® AB 300 membrane, is a patent-pending, self-adhered moisture barrier suitable for use over concrete slabs with up to 99.5% relative humidity. Like KOVARA® 95 and KOVARA® MBX membranes, it is designed to bond directly to the concrete subfloor with its specially formulated moisture- and alkaline-resistant adhesive. The unique adhesive bond speeds up its installation and keeps the membrane in place, even under the weight of heavy hospital beds or medical equipment.
Making thoughtful decisions about all the components of a floor can deliver significant benefits for the healthcare organization, as well as for the patients and community it serves. Whether renovating an existing healthcare space or constructing a new healthcare facility, any downtime means disruption to patients and lost revenue. With thousands of installations performing in high-traffic environments, such as hospitals, KOVARA® membranes have a long track record of success.
For more information please visit GCP Applied Technologies’ Flooring LinkedIn Page.