UV-Cured Floor Coatings in St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center
by George Aslan
Aslan & Company, Inc.
The floor in the geriatric emergency department at St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center was coated with a low gloss, textured, 100 percent solids UV-cured coating. It lasted 21 months with only basic cleaning before a recoating was needed. A traditional acrylic floor finish would have required a minimum of four to six strips and recoats, in addition to regular burnishing, to maintain a similar appearance. The hospital won a RadTech Emerging Technology Award for its use of this coating in May 2014.
Aslan Coatings is a division of Aslan & Company, Inc., a cleaning and contracting business in Hawthorne, New Jersey. In 2005, the division began applying coatings, including urethanes and acrylics. The company encountered a challenge with these coatings’ dry times when contracted to apply protective coating on vinyl tile floors and bathroom floors in the men’s and women’s locker rooms at the Empire State Building. The urethane coating required four to six hours of dry time, which was not enough time to ensure that the coating had cured enough to be walked on, from the time that the Empire State Building closed to the time that it needed to be opened.
As a result, Aslan Coatings researched a variety of coating alternatives, and discovered that UV was the solution. The preparation would be similar to what was needed for a urethane coating application, and the UV coating would dry instantly. In 2009, the company began working with site-applied UV coatings and has been promoting this technology ever since.
St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center has multiple large facilities in New Jersey, located in Wayne and Paterson. In 2012, St. Joseph’s finished construction of a new geriatric emergency department in Paterson – the first in the region – which showcased a variety of features tailored to the emergency care of older patients. One of these features required a highly durable, low-sheen, textured flooring to prevent patients with dementia from becoming confused.
The requirements from St. Joseph’s for the geriatric ED’s floor included a coating that was not slippery in order to ensure the patients’ safety. The coating also had to be low gloss to reduce glare and disorientation, especially for older patients with dementia. This was challenging, however, because not many coatings with 100 percent solids UV systems were available to meet this expectation.
Visual appeal was another important aspect that had to be met for this flooring; a micro-texture was preferred, as it made the floor appear to be a more expensive, like luxurious vinyl tile. Finally, the coating had to have good floor sealing, since cleaning floor cracks can be difficult, and unsealed flooring can create unsanitary conditions.
In September 2012, 7000 square feet of flooring in the geriatric ED at St. Joseph’s were coated with a low gloss, textured, 100 percent solids UV-cured coating. Some operating rooms at St. Joseph’s were coated in 2012 with an untextured, high-gloss coating, and all the other operating rooms were coated over the next year. Medintech®, a high performance, homogenous sheet flooring, was used in the operating rooms. The typical maintenance schedule for Medintech includes basic cleaning with 3M™ Quat Disinfectant Cleaner; no protective coating is needed beyond what is applied at the factory.
Preparation is the most important part to any floor coating job. If the floor is not properly prepared, the coating may not adhere correctly, making the floor’s appearance subpar. At the geriatric ED, the floor was stripped, screened, vacuumed and washed multiple times in preparation for the coating. Once that was finished, the coating was roller-applied and allowed to dwell for several minutes. Then, it was cured with UV equipment.
The floor lasted 21 months with only basic cleaning before large scratches accumulated, and a recoating was needed. In comparison, if a traditional acrylic floor finish had been used, it would have required a minimum of four to six strip and recoats, in addition to regular burnishing during this period, to maintain a similar appearance level. This would have resulted in significant labor costs, material costs and caustic wastewater creation.
As of May 2014, St. Joseph’s emergency department was recoated due to scratch accumulation. The operating rooms, though, show no signs of wear since the initial coating in October 2012. Due to the successful two-year lifespan of the coating in the geriatric ED, St. Joseph’s will be staying with the UV-cured product and will be expanding it to other facilities in its network. The hospital even won a RadTech Emerging Technology Award for its use of this coating in May 2014.
Because of the successful results at St. Joseph’s, Aslan Coatings recently has taken on another hospital to apply protective UV coatings – Trinitas Regional Medical Center in Elizabeth, New Jersey. This hospital is being managed by Crothall, a management company that offers many outsourcing services to hospitals throughout the country. The company will be applying UV coating in the hospital’s operating rooms.
While the upfront cost of installing a UV coating can be higher than conventional floor finishing, Aslan Coatings believes that significant cost savings will be the result in the long-term, mostly because of reduced labor costs when compared to conventional methods of floor finishing.