Why Solid Surfaces and Engineered Stone Surfaces Are The Ideal Surface Materials For Healthcare Spaces
Now more than ever the entire world is hyper aware of the importance of clean, hygienic environments not only at home but especially in commercial and public spaces where lots of people gather. Interior designers (both residential and commercial), contractors and consumers have recognized the aesthetic and practical benefits of engineered surfaces for the better part of two decades. With the incredible advances in aesthetics due to technological innovations, engineered quartz surfaces are now available in an almost limitless range of options that are virtually indistinguishable from naturally occurring stones like marble and granite.
The aesthetic and practical benefits of solid and engineered surfaces is undeniable and easily explains the huge growth in this market segment. In commercial applications in the hospitality industry like hotels, bars and restaurants the use of engineered surfaces makes perfect sense due to quartz’s inherent strength, beauty and durability, not to mention the sustainability aspect. One commercial application that may come as a surprise is the increased use of engineered surfaces in healthcare facilities like doctor’s offices and hospitals.
In a recently published story in Health Care Business Today entitled “Why Quartz is Perfect for Hospital Countertops” the author enumerates a long list of the practical / hygienic and aesthetic benefits of engineered surfaces. “Quartz is beautiful and eye-catching. Though the function of quartz may be more important in a hospital setting, having beautiful countertops can be a nice plus. Hospital patients like to feel like they are in a clean, comfortable, and welcoming environment. Even though beauty isn’t the top priority, it never hurts to add a visually pleasing accent to a space.” While the actual safety benefits of an easy-to-disinfect surface are certainly the primary focus, what’s interesting to note is the correlation between the emotional benefits one enjoys by being in an aesthetically pleasing environment. It’s no secret that most folks dread going to the doctors office, the dentist and most certainly the hospital. If that visit can be rendered slightly more pleasant by creating a warm, comforting environment through the use of natural materials in the design, why shouldn’t that become the new norm? The emotional component of holistic wellness should not be discounted.
While engineered stone surfaces are a beautiful and safe option for many areas within commercial healthcare facilities, solid surfaces such as Corian are still the preferred and safest surface material choice for therapeutic areas such as examination rooms and operating rooms, as well as laboratories and research facilities where mitigating virus and bacterial propagation is absolutely critical. Solid surfaces are completely non-porous as slabs can be fused together to create a continuous and seamless surface. It is in surface cracks in porous surfaces and seams where bacteria and germs can hide and even thrive. While engineered stone like Lucciare is considered non-porous by most standards, for healthcare environments where germ mitigation is critical to patient safety, it’s not as non-porous as solid surfaces due to the fact that there will always be a seam where slabs meet. Engineered stone should not be used as a replacement for solid surfaces rather as a beautiful design complement for less critical areas like reception, bathrooms and food service areas. Design that features both solid surfaces for their safety and engineered stone surfaces for its beauty is a winning combination for today’s modern healthcare facilities.