Laboratories are used across many industries for different purposes. One thing all labs have in common, however, is that they all must maintain a controlled environment for proper experimentation, observation, and safety. In any facility, floors can quickly harbor countless germs and contaminants -- for a lab to function properly, special attention must be paid to its floors, both in terms of its construction and properties.
What to Look for in Laboratory Floors
Before delving into the various flooring materials ideal for lab settings, let’s outline some key features that are often vital for lab floors. At the bare minimum, these floors should be durable, non-porous, resistant to slips, trips, and falls, and relatively easy for commercial floor cleaning services to maintain. Ticking these boxes will help ensure that your lab’s flooring won’t pose major hazards to personnel, deteriorate, or facilitate contamination.
Of course, more is often required of laboratory flooring. In many cases, the best floors for lab settings are also:
Resistant to moisture, oil, grease, chemicals, biocides, and staining
Resistant to thermal shock (i.e., rapid temperature fluctuations)
Resistant to impact and abrasion
Some floor types come equipped with these perks, while others may require additives to provide ideal performance. In no particular order, here are the top five flooring types found in lab settings.
1. Vinyl Flooring
Commercial vinyl flooring is a strong all-around contender for lab settings. Durable, sound-absorbent, visually versatile, and low-maintenance, vinyl tiles stand the test of time while complementing rather than interfering with a lab’s operations and aesthetic.
2. Linoleum Flooring
Linoleum floors are similar to vinyl floors in terms of functionality and appearance. Unlike vinyl, however, linoleum tends to be less expensive and more eco-friendly. Better yet, linoleum lab flooring is naturally antimicrobial, making it a smart choice for many labs.
3. Rubber Flooring
Athletic facilities aren’t the only places you can find commercial rubber flooring. Known for their slip-resistance and durability, rubber floors are right at home in lab settings, too. The perks don’t stop there, however. Rubber floors inherently dissipate static electricity -- a key feature for many labs. Additionally, high-quality rubber flooring is resistant to fire and chemical spills, boosting a lab’s safety rating that much more.
4. Self-Levelling Resin/Epoxy Concrete Flooring
When sealed with the right materials, concrete floors work just fine in laboratories. More specifically, self-leveling resin or epoxy coatings are sturdy, safe, durable, and flexible, offering superior longevity. On top of that, resin floors are among the most hygienic and chemically resistant options available. The higher price point might be a drawback for some, but the long-term benefits of resin/epoxy floors often outweigh the upfront costs.
5. Ceramic Flooring
Though perhaps not as popular as the other floor types mentioned here, ceramic commercial tile flooring can work well in lab settings for a number of reasons. Like its counterparts, ceramic flooring is easy to clean and maintain, highly resistant to water, and durable overall. The only major downside to ceramic is that it may require a higher level of commercial floor care to repair/replace tiles and grout over time. With proper maintenance, however, ceramic lab flooring can last a long time.
Every aspect of a lab must be performing at its peak to ensure successful and safe operations, flooring included. At The Budd Group, our commercial flooring contractors are well-versed in a multitude of laboratory settings. To learn more about our services and values, give us a call today at 800-221-8158!