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One of the largest and sometimes most controver- sial investments healthcare clients make on the interior design of their facilities is fl ooring. Many facilities have maintenance protocols or are used to making do with what they have because of miles and miles of existing fl ooring. Today, new products are being intro- duced at a very fast pace. That, combined with mergers among the fl ooring manu- facturers, has created a lot of confusion with clients and their facilities depart- ments. Ever-increasing costs of providing healthcare are forcing many of the large healthcare systems to re-evaluate how to take care of, or how to replace, fl ooring. Clients have a lot at stake. Flooring needs to be durable, easy to maintain, should last more than 10 years and look comparable to fl ooring in a boutique hotel, not an institution. The days of "wax- ing" are over. There has been signifi cant growth in products that are more environmentally friendly, require less application and perform much better. If fl ooring is not being replaced, there are a few steps to put into place and imme- diately see time- and cost-saving results. Patients, visitors and staf will appreci- ate the lessening of distractions, cleaning odors and noise. Facilities staf need to: > Identify the fl ooring types in place > Strip older fi nishes or waxes that have been building up and "yellowing out" Best maintenance practices to preserve, protect healthcare fl ooring By Laura Morris & Phil Carey Solid Ground > Clean the fl oor with an auto scrub- ber and red or green pad > Find the proper fi nish compatible for the particular fl oor in the facility Most commercial fl ooring manufac- turers have the compatible products that should be used for maintaining their products in maintenance instruc- tions and on their websites. These prod- ucts can all be purchased through regionally located distributors. Traditional fl ooring Traditional hard fl ooring requires some of the most expensive maintenance of any fl ooring, but the initial cost is so attrac- tive, clients often push aside the long- term cost of upkeep. Vinyl composite tile requires very little fl oor prep and, once installed, in-house facilities crews can easily replace it without special train- ing. However, be prepared for shrinking and cracking over time, exposing joint seams. Traditional VCT requires a four- step waxing process — stripping, fi nish- ing, burnishing and waxing again — that produces fumes and noise disruptive to patients, caregivers and families, as well as a time-consuming task for the staf . Solid vinyl tile, luxury vinyl tile Solid vinyl tile and luxury vinyl tile, popular alternatives to VCT, give clients more options in the look and feel of the fl ooring, such as wood- and stone-look fl oors. SVT has the same size module and installation method of traditional VCT, but with less required maintenance. SVT fl ooring can be waxed or stripped, or it can be buf ed and mopped without the fi nal traditional wax fi nish, removing the need to strip and burnish. With the routine cleaning process reduced, the noise and fumes associated with waxed fl oors are eliminated. Similarly, LVT comes with a built-in topcoat that does not need wax. However, it often needs more fl oor prep to assure a fl at substrate to properly adhere to the fl ooring. SVT and LVT are more dimensionally stable and will not shrink or crack easily. They also come in tile format and can be replaced by in-house facility staf if damaged. Rubber tile, sheet fl ooring Rubber tile and sheet fl ooring have gained popularity recently in healthcare facilities. Rubber is a good choice if a facility has strong sustainability goals, and has been successful where foot fatigue and large Rainbow: Scott Pease; Capital Hopewell: Blake Marvin; St. Elizabeth: Miles Wolf 40 Medical Construction & Design | JA N UA RY/ F EBRUA RY 2015 | MCDM AG.COM