Within care home environments, many areas can be prone to spillages as well as being subject to heavy footfall and wheeled traffic, therefore choosing floor coverings that offer excellent cleanability and durability is crucial. Here, Mark Jackson, Key Account Manager Care Sector at Forbo Flooring Systems, discusses the various flooring options available that will help ease the maintenance of care homes.
With over 20 years’ experience as a project manager within a retail environment, Mark joined Forbo four years ago as a key account manager. Using his previous project management experience he has worked closely with End User clients, Architects, Designers and Contractors to successfully deliver national projects. As the Forbo Key Account Manager for private healthcare, Mark has also attended a number of additional training courses in Designing for Dementia and is ideally situated to assist larger clients within private care and cure sectors in determining the best products for their needs, and subsequently managing their stock framework to ensure availability of specified items for all new projects and ongoing refurbishment programmes.
As a care home manager, operator or director, providing residents with facilities that are clean and safe at all times, and maintaining the high standards of your establishment, is an important measure. However, the very nature of busy care homes means that spillages are an inevitable part of the everyday functioning life of the interior. The specification of floor coverings is a crucial factor by helping to contribute to the ease of maintenance with a simple yet effective cleaning method, ensuring that areas prone to high traffic remain clean, safe and hygienic.
The floor is one of the largest surface areas within any interior, so getting its specification right within a care home setting is critical to providing the safest, cleanest and most comfortable environment for staff, residents and visitors. Finding floor coverings which can be easily cleaned using the same pH neutral cleaner throughout the building is the key to simplifying floor maintenance.
Round the clock staff shifts, deliveries and the constant flow of visitors mean that entrance and circulation areas can take quite a pounding. Unfortunately, many people do not stop to effectively wipe their feet properly before entering a building, so wet and dirty soiling can be trailed into the reception area and beyond. This can have a detrimental effect on the aesthetics of interior floor finishes, not to mention create potential slip hazards on hard floors for all those that use the building.
In fact, according to Cleaning Research International, soil and moisture being tracked in on both the soles of shoes and the tyres of wheeled traffic can account for up to 95% of the dirt being tracked in to a building . Therefore, taking the time to choose an effective entrance flooring system is important, as this will ensure that staff, residents and visitors enjoy a safe transition from the entrance, but facility and building managers will also reap the many benefits.
Indeed, some textile entrance flooring systems on the market can remove up to 95% of dirt and moisture from the soles of shoes in just six metres – helping to reduce cleaning time by up to 65% and prolonging the life of floor finishes , as well as reduce the risk of slipping. With savings such as this, an entrance flooring system can pay for itself within just six months of use providing care homes with long-term value.
Further more, rigid systems placed outside of the building will act as the first line of defence against soil and even the coarsest of foot-borne dirt. In addition, as long as the design of the entrance area allows, some rigid systems can be reversible, effectively doubling their lifespan.
In communal spaces, where residents often spend a lot of time throughout the day, not only do these areas need to provide comforting and stimulating social areas for residents, they also need to be able to withstand the wear and tear of daily life. For these areas, durable, stain and soil resistant design vinyl sheet products with a PUR factory finish can help transform community spaces by offering a homely aesthetic, while being a highly practical and easy to clean and maintain surface.
A popular option for social areas would be to choose a vinyl safety flooring, which has a guaranteed sustainable lifetime slip resistance. Safety floors don’t need to be dull either, thanks to an array of technologically advanced, design-led options now available on the market, including modern wood and stone designs. Indeed, our Step safety floors with the inclusion of Step Crystals can ensure clean, fresh designs and easier cleaning, ideal for areas where water or food spillages are likely to occur within a care home, such as in dining areas and bathrooms.
Flocked flooring is also perfect for areas where a warmer, more tactile solution is preferred, such as in living rooms and bedrooms. This is because it offers the same warmth, comfort underfoot and tactile appeal as carpet but with the durability and easy-maintenance of a resilient floor covering. Should accidental spillages happen, flocked flooring is incredibly quick and easy to clean, thanks to its upright fibres that can be cleaned right down to the base. These floor coverings also have excellent slip resistance and acoustic properties delivering up to 22 dB impact sound reduction.
What’s more, linoleum is the perfect solution for busy corridors. A natural floor associated with sustainability, versatility and innovative design. Choosing a linoleum brand that uses a water-based polymer surface finish will enable easy to clean beautiful floors with a lasting appearance retention, lowering the cost of ownership.
In addition, it is recommended linoleum and flocked floor coverings that have been awarded the prestigious Allergy UK Seal of Approval are chosen, as with the correct cleaning and maintenance regime, they won't harbour dust mites, which contributes to a better indoor environment for all.