Hospital operating rooms have very specific needs as far as coatings are concerned. Odor and contaminants on surfaces such as walls, ceilings, floors, medical equipment, etc., can be problematic. The idea is reduce pathogens or infectious microbes as much as possible, because reports indicate that up to 25% of deaths in the United States are caused by Hospital-Acquired Infections (HAIs). So, what coatings are the best for HAIs? Here are some thoughts I put together for hospital administrators and facility managers.
Cleaning/Abrasion Requires More Coatings
The first thing to note is that regular cleaning of walls and ceilings can reduce the lifespan of paint coatings. So, it stands to reason that coatings subjected to regular abrasion will need to be re-coated more often. So, hospital administrators are looking to use coatings that last longer than other coatings. Facility managers will also want a coating that is easier to maintain and less disruptive to the every day goings-on of the hospital.
High-Performance Hospital Coatings
Traditionally, medical facilities used acrylic latest paints with either a gloss or semi-gloss finish, giving walls an attractive sheen. Other facilities use(d) high-performance coatings that have a low-gloss finish. Two such coatings are solvent-borne epoxy or polyurethane paints. While this look is more durable and a bit warmer than gloss or semi-gloss finishes, sometimes they can give off an odor that is unacceptabale for medical facilities.
Now, in an attempt to meet CDC and The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (TJC) standards for more frequent cleaning with stronger chemicals, Bayer developed a new, durable and attractive paint technology: a two-component waterborne polyurethane coating. "Testing revealed that the use of the new waterborne polyurethane technology allows hospital administrators to reduce the number of repeat painting cycles," noted a 2012 Bayer press release. "It also makes it possible to achieve a low-gloss or matte finish, which is sought after in healthcare facilities, without sacrificing durability."
In other words, the paint won't look drab; it will be durable; and the odor will be minimal and comparable to a low or zero-VOC (volatile organic compound) paint.
Since the waterborne polyurethane coating stands up better to more frequence cleaning with abrasive chemicals, the paint doesn't need to be applied as often. Also, it's not as expensive as traditional acrylic latex paints. This way, medical facilities can save on labor and materials costs over the long term.
If you are a hospital administrator or facility manager, and you'd like to know more about two-component waterborne polyurethane coatings, be sure to get into contact us. We're happy to talk about the durability, costs, and appearance of this paint.
Image: Wikimedia Commons