Flooring Recommendations for Pharmaceutical Facilities

Pharmaceutical facilities have specific requirements when it comes to flooring, but not all areas are the same. Let’s take a look at why certain floor systems work best for different areas within your facility. 

 

Autoclaves 

Autoclaves, or steam sterilizers, are used to kill harmful bacteria, viruses, fungi, and spores that may be on instruments and devices used within the pharmaceutical facility. When placed inside the autoclave, the items are steamed to a high temperature for a set period of time in order to destroy any contaminants. 

The floors that support autoclaves must be durable and able to handle high temperatures. Just as it is important to sterilize equipment, the room must be kept sterile as well. Floors that are poured-in-place without any seams (in which bacteria can harbor and grow) make an ideal choice. Floors that are seamless are also easier to clean and maintain. 

 

When considering a flooring system for an autoclave area, a high-strength mortar system that offers resistance to chemicals, fire, abrasion, and impact is recommended. 

 

Blending Rooms 

Blending is a critical part of the pharmaceutical process where active drugs are blended with non-active ingredients. When it comes to substances that will be consumed, injected, or absorbed by the public, hygiene is of paramount concern. Equipment contamination must be avoided at all costs and therefore, the rooms where they are housed must be equally sanitized in order to ensure the delivery of quality, safe products. Not only do the floors and walls of these rooms need to be kept thoroughly clean, but they need to withstand chemical and organic attack. 

 

Blending rooms will benefit from a urethane mortar flooring system to protect against organic acids and heavy-duty cleaning with chemicals. They are also able to withstand high-temperature wash downs. Depending on what is being blended an ESD system may be required to prevent static build up and potential fires or explosions.   

 

Processing Areas 

In addition to blending, a number of other processes take place in a pharmaceutical facility, including several types of granulation, drying, milling, compression processes, tablet coating, encapsulation, and micronization. 

Depending on the process taking place, durable seamless flooring in either an epoxy or urethane formulation may be used. A resilient flooring system may be preferred to provide comfort underfoot for staff.  

 

Gowning Rooms 

Also referred to as an ante-room, gowning rooms are spaces outside of cleanrooms where pharmaceutical professionals change in and out of their regular clothes. A gowning room is divided into a dirty and clean side. This room provides a barrier to ensure the cleanroom remains contamination free. There are HEPA filter requirements and pressure requirements to guard against air contaminants and employees must follow strict hygiene protocols. Floors and walls are a critical part of the hygiene plan. Seamless floors along with seamless, non-porous walls offer the best options because if any contaminants exist, they can be easily cleaned away without falling into crevices where they cannot be reached. 

Gowning rooms benefit from easy-to-clean resinous flooring systems that provide both ergonomic and decorative options. Two separate floor colors may be used to indicate the dirty and clean sides. In conjunction with the flooring system, a flexible urethane wall system helps keep the environment sterile. 
 

ISO/Clean Rooms 

As with other areas in pharmaceutical manufacturing, a cleanroom must be compliant with Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP), the system that ensures products are consistently produced and controlled to meet quality standards. Cleanrooms are essential for removing contaminants from the outside and are especially aimed and blocking microorganisms. One of the critical design features of a cleanroom is the surfaces within, including floors and walls. Cleanroom surfaces should be smooth and impervious. Surface coatings must not break down. If a surface flakes, peels, creates dust, or corrodes, it will be open to microorganisms harboring and growing within the defect or filling the air with contaminants. All surfaces must be accessible to thorough cleaning. Seamless, poured-in-place floors with cove bases make this possible. The durability of the seamless floor must be sufficient to avoid becoming damaged. Proper details to remove ledges and corners must be performed to ensure no buildup of dirt or bacteria.   

Just like gowning rooms, ISO/Clean Rooms should have a combination floor/wall system. An epoxy or urethane flooring system can be used in a cleanroom, but in some cases, a conductive formula may also be necessary. 

 

BioSafety Labs 

There are several levels of BioSafety Labs where biological material and living organisms are handled under strict conditions. The purpose of these labs is to minimize the risk materials pose to people and the environment. Floors for these spaces not only need to provide a sterile surface, but are required to stand up to chemicals, potential fire, impact, and abrasion. A high-strength seamless epoxy flooring system will provide these features while offering an easy-to-clean environment that meets infection control standards. 

 

Powder Charging 

When processing powder, a significant amount of electrostatic charge is often created. During research and development or pill manufacturing, fine powders can become combustible as an arc of static electricity can ignite and cause large explosions.  

Epoxy ESD (conductive) seamless floors are imperative for these pharmaceutical processes. 

 

Corridors, Offices, and Lobbies 

While there are many types of flooring options available for front-of-house spaces in pharmaceutical facilities like corridors, offices, and lobbies, the need to keep areas clean and attractive is still there. Pharmaceutical corridors experience traffic from wheeled carts and feet and offices experience abrasion from chairs. Lobbies are high-traffic areas that need to stand out as the welcome mat to your facility. 

There is no better way to achieve attractive design while making cleaning and maintenance easy than by installing a resinous flooring system. Many slip and scratch-resistant, decorative, and ergonomic options are available in custom colors and patterns. You can even incorporate custom logos. In addition, a durable seamless flooring system will last longer than traditional flooring systems. 
 

Packaging 

Packaging areas for pharmaceuticals are also strictly regulated spaces that must be clean, washed down, and kept sterile. Everything in a pharmaceutical facility from research to distribution must adhere to such standards because product safety is so crucial. Packaging areas are busy environments and need a strong flooring system to withstand the day-to-day business. An epoxy or urethane flooring system that can withstand impact and high traffic is recommended.  
 

Wash Down Areas 

Wash down areas need to ensure bacteria is eliminated via the use of chemical cleaning solutions, high-temperature water, and high-pressure sprays. For floors in pharmaceutical wash down areas to last, they require a urethane mortar. Urethane flooring systems can withstand thermal shock and cycling. Walls should also be protected with a flexible, urethane wall system. 
 

Restrooms and Showers 

Restrooms and showers for pharmaceutical employees need to protect employees from slips and falls and should be easy to clean and keep clean. A waterproof urethane wall system with a glossy finish in conjunction with slip-resistant, seamless floors is the best way to offer the most sterile, attractive environment. In addition, many decorative design options exist to make it an attractive space for staff. 
 

Warehouses 

Just like any warehouse environment, pharmaceutical warehouses experience high-traffic forklift activity with heavy loads and a lot of moving parts. A heavy-duty flooring system is required to keep your business moving. The flooring installer should be able to incorporate safety markings for traffic aisles and texture for slip resistance. 

As you can see, one floor does not fit all spaces. Not only do the right floors and walls protect your people, the facility, and your consumers, but if chosen and installed correctly, they will provide for long-term savings where repairs or replacement would interrupt productivity and cost you money. An experienced flooring expert can guide you to the right choices and through the entire process from start to finish. 

 

Stonhard has been manufacturing and installing high-performance, seamless floors since 1922. Our solutions are GMP-compliant, high performing, tailored to the features required by each area, meet safety standards, and come with a single-source warranty on products and installation. To learn more, download our Pharmaceutical Flooring brochure here.