With Baby Boomers reaching retirement age, more and more people are senior citizens and soon may be in need of senior housing. With this industry about to “boom,” engineers, architects, designers and contractors need to reconsider the materials they use when building senior living centers. Floor Daily provides a comprehensive article about Senior Living building materials in their March 2012 issue. Here we touch on a few of the factors that should be considered when choosing flooring for these projects.
Safety and Durability
Touch Series of Porcelain Tile in Snow
When discussing senior housing, we first need to consider that the flooring must be safe and durable, yet be beautiful as well. The floor of any space is an important canvas on which the aesthetics of the room depend. It must be beautiful, but it must be able to withstand the use that the area will sustain.
A retirement residence will need to withstand not only foot traffic, but wheelchairs and walkers. So consideration of the flooring type should also include ease of maneuvering down hallways and through common areas. Health concerns such as incontinence and even poor balance should also factor into considerations. The flooring must not be slippery, but it must also be easy to clean spills without having difficult-to-reach cracks and crevices, which may be difficult to keep sanitary. Cracks and crevices may also cause residents to trip and fall, so designers should avoid certain types of tile.
Floors with high gloss can appear to seniors like the floor is wet, so a matte finish may be a better choice. Transitions between different flooring types and/or rooms are also of vital importance in senior living. Obviously, the transition needs to be smooth and level so residents do not trip and fall.
Pattern and Color
Pietre Etrusche Porcelain Tile in Pitigliano (on floor)
We have discussed safety and durability, but what about vision and pattern? Floor pattern can help define areas, direct traffic flow and even promote safe visual navigation. Choosing colors carefully can also help seniors with failing eyesight differentiate between floor and walls, making their environment more visibly clear to them. Choosing soothing colors can help alleviate combative behavior.
With so many different things to consider, it may seem as though choosing flooring for senior housing facilities is a daunting undertaking. At Arizona Tile, we have a variety of commercial flooring options that can fill the needs of both independent living and assisted living properties. Consider the following products. All three have the appropriate slip resistant commercial ratings necessary for senior housing applications. Being porcelain, all three are easy to clean and these series, specifically, have smooth edges, reducing the possibility of getting “caught” on an uneven edge and tripping.
Touch Porcelain – This is a new series of rectified, glazed porcelain, available in five muted and warm colors that can be used together. Because it has a little bit of texture on the surface – it seems even more slip-resistant than traditional porcelain tile.
Pietre Estrusche Porcelain – The Pietre Estrusche is a color body porcelain specifically designed for commercial applications, suitable for dry, wet, and humid environments. It can withstand significant physical and chemical stress.
Marmol Honed Porcelain – A glazed porcelain, the Marmol series contains 33% pre-consumer recycled content. Available in a brushed, polished or honed finish, the honed finish is the best choice for a senior living environment where slips on polished surfaces must be avoided.
No matter the surroundings, Arizona Tile has a multitude of beautiful options that make a statement but fill your retirement community needs