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Considering Lab or Clean Room Flooring? Ask These Questions

clean room flooring

How often do you think about clean room flooring? As a clinician, you may think about flooring when your back or feet hurt after a long day of standing or if there’s a spill or other risk of contamination. Perhaps, even more, if the static electricity compromises equipment in the lab. As a flooring company that works with hospital facility managers and lab management professionals, we typically ask a litany of questions before making a recommendation. These questions range from operational and installation to aesthetics and maintenance. When you’re thinking about installing clean room flooring for labs, make sure to ask the following questions.



Do you require a particular slip resistance?

You don’t want anybody to slip in your lab, so naturally, you want to select a tile with slip resistance. Some environments may, however, need greater slip resistance. If your facility requires a higher level of slip resistance, then you will want to steer clear of slick materials like epoxies. Seek out products that provide more secure footing, such as tiles that utilize a coin-top texture.


Do you require comfort, ergonomic, or anti-fatigue properties?

Some floorings are better for humans to stand on for long periods than others. For example, epoxies are hard. The same holds with glued-down vinyl flooring. Unfortunately, the more ergonomic and comfortable the floor, the higher the cost. Going the extra mile can provide a return on investment in that lab or clean room because more comfortable workers will be more productive and miss less time due to standing-related injuries like plantar fasciitis. Fewer injuries and more comfortable work conditions also improve staff retention.


What are the VOC and particulate requirements of the room?

Some flooring for labs and clean rooms is better than others. For example, epoxies and types of vinyl are usually preferred. Clean rooms have standards to adhere to, which the flooring dealer should review with customers. For example, some products generate particulates when you scrub, requiring a sealant to prevent it.


Do you require any chemical resistance?

As a lab or clean room, your facility might use chemicals that impact which material you can or cannot use. Having a detailed conversation about your operation is critical to making a wise selection. If there are chemicals in your work environment, vinyl may be a good choice because it is resistant to many chemicals. Rubber is also suitable for chemicals like chlorinated solvents. If possible, get a sample of the flooring you are considering and test it against the substances you have in your lab.

Do you require the floor to be portable for reconfigurations or future moves?

Expansions, downsizing, or relocation to a new facility are just some of the reasons why companies want flooring they can move. When you choose a glue-down option for flooring, you sacrifice portability. Glued-down tiles can’t and shouldn’t be removed and used again. 



Does the underlying concrete pass moisture tests?

If there is concrete beneath your existing flooring, moisture could be an issue that you need to address, especially if you’re considering glue-down flooring. It’s also not advisable to glue the new floor onto the old floor. Test the old flooring for asbestos if you plan to use interlocking flooring. Removing flooring with asbestos is a very detailed process. The floor areas require sectioning off with plastic as air pressure contains any dust contaminated with asbestos.


If the concrete is new, can you skip the 90-day cure period?

Since you can’t glue on concrete with moisture issues, newly installed concrete floors must cure before you can apply glue to them. Ninety days is the recommended amount of time.


If there is an existing floor, does it have asbestos either in the tile or adhesive?

The existing flooring and adhesive should be tested for asbestos before gluing down new flooring or installing interlocking flooring. Dealing with asbestos is costly and will delay installation. Interlocking tiles can be installed on top of the old asbestos-containing floor without removing it.


If there is an existing floor, do I have to remove it?

One of the beauties of interlock flooring is that it can be installed over existing flooring. Some facilities managers prefer flooring that requires an adhesive, however. In that case, it’s recommended to remove the old flooring first. You can choose not to take on the expense of floor removal by selecting interlocking flooring.


Can your facility tolerate the dust generated from a sub-floor preparation?

When you rip out the old clean room flooring, it will generate some level of dust. You must assess whether that dust will impact your facility’s machinery and equipment. This may influence whether you choose glue-down or interlocking flooring.

The above considerations, in addition to maintenance, aesthetics, and cost, can impact your choice of clean room flooring. 


Flooring for labs that meet EPA standards, like FreeStyle flooring by SelecTech, is the only solution you need to meet all of your needs! Contact our team today to learn more and order your samples!