Healthcare Design Trends in the Age of COVID: Focus on Floors

Healthcare facilities have always required solutions to support infection control programs, but the COVID-19 pandemic has put even more focus on ways to stop the spread of disease and protect patients, workers, and visitors. With necessary upgrades and the need for additional facilities or the creation of new areas, building design and choice of flooring has become more important than ever.

Healthcare Facilities Require More Flexibility than Ever

COVID-19 created an environment where quick decisions had to be made to deal with a large influx of patients, who would need to be distanced or isolated. Flexible spaces have become necessary to handle changing needs based on spikes and dips related to the virus. Semi-private rooms are converted to private rooms and then back again, with many moving parts (such as modular walls, beds, and equipment). It is key to have durable, high-traffic flooring that can support this constant activity while standing up to abrasion and impact.

Distancing and Wayfinding in Hospitals

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, patient spacing was beginning to become a major focus of hospital design in order to control hospital-acquired infections (HAIs). In the past, putting patients in close proximity to one another and sharing equipment was considered a more efficient means of treatment for hospital staff; however, protection against HAIs, as well as patient satisfaction, have driven patient care design more often to private or semi-private rooms. In addition, weldless, poured-in-place flooring is preferred to better support infection control as it prevents bacteria from harboring growing, unlike traditional flooring with seams.

The pandemic has also shown that distance is a key to avoiding the spread of the virus and this applies to more than just patients in rooms. Future design will take into account the width of corridors, how people enter the building, and how lobbies are constructed. The flow of traffic is important to regulate and permanent floor markings and wayfinding can be designed into seamless, poured-in-place flooring.  Arrows, words, logos, and custom patterns can be created to make it clear to all the proper directions and locations, get people quickly where they need to be, and limit traffic to certain areas.

Building Isolation Rooms

Isolation rooms are also important in limiting the spread of the virus to others who are already compromised within a hospital as well as the very people who are healing the sick. It’s important to keep patients with airborne disease from being moved around the hospital. Isolation rooms can be created away from the healthcare campus, in places like convention centers, specialized pods, schools, religious centers, or other available spaces. These alternative healthcare facilities still need to be created with maximum protection for healthcare workers and patients. The installation of sanitary, non-porous, seamless flooring with a cove base makes the floor fast and easy to clean. In addition, some facilities may choose an antimicrobial additive that works as a permanent bacteriostat and fungistat.

Frequent Cleaning

Clean and hygienic is key in healthcare, whether dealing with COVID-19 or any other patient issue. In hallways, waiting rooms, surgical suites, isolation rooms, patient rooms, or even large patient wards, the floors must constantly be cleaned. Most healthcare facilities have a combination of robotic scrubbers and mopping by janitorial staff. Deep-cleaning UV robots are also now available to ensure the floors are sterilized. With water, abrasion and wear, cleaning chemicals, and even UV light, a floor can break down, so it is important for healthcare facilities to invest in a flooring system that will ensure successful cleaning but also stands up to biocides and aggressive cleaning methods for the long-term.

Investing in the Future

COVID-19 has been an eye-opener in many areas, and nowhere more than in healthcare. The lessons learned now are already influencing the way healthcare facilities are designed and will continue to do so in the coming years. Hospitals do not have time to stop for flooring repairs and replacements, so choosing the right floor that will solve all possible issues from cleaning and chemical resistance to design and durability, is critical.



With nearly a century in business, Stonhard has been a trusted source for the healthcare industry for many decades. Our seamless flooring systems pass efficacy testing for the prevention of bacterial growth and stand up to biocides and aggressive cleaning methods. With installations that range from patient rooms to operating rooms and helipads to cafeterias, we have you covered for any space in your medical facility. Stonhard high-performance flooring systems are not only functional, but come in a wide-range of design options, including custom colors, patterns, and logos. Ask us how we can schedule your flooring installation to minimize disruption to your operations.