Whether you're designing a new lab, or renovating an old one, the toughest part is nailing down all of the tiny details. You knew what type of upgraded equipment you needed, and you knew there were new codes you'd have to comply with, but who knew choosing a casework color or a flooring type could be so tedious? There are so many options, and with all the information out there, it can be hard to decide what's really best for your laboratory. So, to help you solve at least one of those issues, we put this blog together about choosing the right flooring for your laboratory! Keep reading to figure out which laboratory flooring option is perfect for your application:
First and foremost, it's important to remember that the flooring you choose will depend on your lab application. If you're renovating a hospital lab, you're probably going to have more requirements than a wastewater treatment lab. So it's good to know what your lab needs before you get started picking out the right floor. A few things to consider:
- Are there reactive chemicals you'll need to protect against?
- Does your lab have to comply with any special type of flooring standard?
- Will you need a flooring that minimizes dirt buildup?
- How much money do you have to spend on laboratory flooring?
Once you know the answers to each of these questions, you can start evaluating your choices:
- Ceramic tile: Ceramic tile flooring is one of the least expensive options, yet super durable. The only issue with ceramic tiles is that the spaces between each tile can catch dirt and other particles. Also, ceramic is not waterproof, so liquids, chemicals, and other solutions could seep through the cracks and form mold or other issues. While ceramic tile is certainly affordable, it will require more maintenance and upkeep than other options.
- Resilient tile (VCT): Another common, more affordable choice, VCT is good for labs that don't work in critical or high-tech applications and don't deal with a lot of caustic or dangerous chemicals. It's easy to install, but because it is another tile option, it can attract dirt and other particles in its joints. This may make VCT unsuitable for lab applications where cleanliness and absence of any possible contamination is extremely important to processes.
- Monolithic Floor: Typically constructed from either sheet vinyl, linoleum, or rubber, this is one of the common, safe choices for laboratory flooring. It's a bit more expensive than VCT or ceramic tile, but only because it's easier to clean and maintain. When installed, monolithic flooring continues up the wall for a few inches, creating a cove. All seams are welded shut, ensuring that nothing can get through the flooring. An additional bonus: linoleum and rubber are considered sustainable products.
- Epoxy flooring: As the best option on the market, epoxy flooring is also the most expensive. It's poured into a laboratory and shaped to flow up the walls for one to two inches, with a slight grade downward toward a drain in the event that the room needs to be hosed. Epoxy is impervious to water, which means it's very easy to clean, and it resists chemical spills. Though it is expensive, epoxy is the most durable material on the market, and can easily be hosed down in applications where that's a requirement.
- Sealed concrete: The less expensive version of epoxy flooring, sealed concrete is another good flooring option for many applications. Concrete is exceptionally durable, and because it's also so affordable, this type of laboratory flooring is really starting to take over. Though it's still not quite on the same level as epoxy flooring, sealed concrete is stained to resist water seepage, and its durable nature makes it one of the best materials to handle chemical spills. Stained concrete also offers a lot of style options, as it can be stained in a variety of colors.
Hopefully this gives you a better idea of all of the laboratory flooring options out there! But if you're still stuck trying to make a decision, don't hesitate to call Multi-Lab! One of Michigan's foremost lab manufacturers, we have a lot of experience with laboratory construction, and would be happy to answer any question you've got about laboratory flooring. Give our office a call at 616-846-6990, or contact us online today!