Vinyl supplier Polyflor South Africa (SA) recently completed a 16-storey building flooring project for the relocation of Christiaan Barnard Hospital – part of healthcare provider Netcare Group – in Cape Town, which has been under construction for 18 months.
Polyflor SA supplied and facilitated the installation of 22 000 m2 of vinyl sheet flooring, 600 m2 of luxury vinyl tiles, rub rails and kick plates from its wall protection range.
“In some operating theatres, the flooring was installed up the walls and to the ceiling for improved hygiene and easier maintenance, and to seal the room as a clean environment,” says Polyflor SA CEO Tandy Coleman.
She adds that fitting vinyl is a complex process, which requires testing for moisture before installation and applying a moisture barrier and self-levelling screed to ensure a smooth and dry surface on which to lay the vinyl. This ensures an aesthetically pleasing and technically solid finish.
Moreover, Coleman points out that research has shown that traditional hygienic and sterile-looking colours and design are not necessarily conducive to healing. Therefore, modern designs in hospitals are starting to include bright colours, wood-look finishes and innovative designs to encourage a homelier and cosy appearance, which can promote relaxation and healing.
In the education sector, more creative designs are recommended to create a stimulating learning environment, while still offering a functional floor.
Coleman refers to Polyflor SA’s project, initiated by the Department of Education to supply electrostatic-dissipative (ESD) flooring to government schools to protect equipment, such as smart boards, which are increasingly being installed in classrooms.
To date, over 35 schools have been supplied with ESD flooring and Polyflor SA continues to assist with this initiative.
Coleman avers that the flooring industry is no longer in the era where floors simply needed to be functional, as there is now a focus on design, with companies having to innovate according to client specifications.
“Flooring has also become a showcase for a company’s image and identity, especially in boardrooms and reception areas. Vinyl flooring offers design opportunities and the ability to mix textures, patterns or colours.
Moreover, innovation in flooring goes beyond design and trends, says Coleman. Innovation in vinyl flooring includes new ranges such as loose-lay vinyl tiles to reduce installation time, advanced polyurethane reinforced (PUR) coatings on products to reduce maintenance costs and safety flooring to reduce slips.
“Polyflor SA’s PUR coatings have been refined to use less water and chemicals for maintenance, while ensuring a long-lasting vinyl floor,” Coleman says.
A PUR-coated vinyl floor can save up to 48% in maintenance costs, compared with the maintenance of a noncoated vinyl floor, which Coleman says is beneficial because maintenance costs over the lifetime of the floor are often more expensive than the initial capital expenditure.
An imminent trend within the flooring industry is using recycled materials, she says, adding that Polyflor SA is already supplying a recycled rubber flooring imported from US manufacturer Ecore.
Rubber flooring is especially used in fitness environments, such as gyms, because it is durable, has acoustic properties and can withstand high traffic and free weight area damage.
Polyflor SA is committed to educating the markets on technical issues and innovative advancements in the flooring industry. Coleman regularly presents continuing professional development presentations for architects and flooring designers.
The presentations cover information on topics such as environmental factors, screeds, moisture levels, surface requirements and building protection when flooring is installed.
Owing to Polyflo’s specialist knowledge, technical support and superior product range, it has been involved in the majority of completed hospital and healthcare flooring installations. This includes Brits Hospital, in the North West, Frere Hospital, in the Eastern Cape, Gassy Park Community Clinic, in the Western Cape, and King Edward VII Hospital, in KwaZulu-Natal.
For the past eight years, Polyflor has also been involved in the Carte Blanche Making a Difference campaign, which aims to equip and renovate paediatric operating theatres, intensive care units and high-care wards in selected State academic hospitals throughout South Africa.