When considering carpets for a non-clinical healthcare environment you can take confidence in the fact that both the Health Building Notes and the Care Quality Commission state that carpet is acceptable as long as a pre-planned cleaning and maintenance schedule is in place and that the carpets are correctly maintained.
Any floor covering within a care environment must be maintained properly; whether it’s hard flooring, such as vinyl or linoleum, or carpet of any sort, to ensure residents are living and staff are working in safe and clean environments.
There is a common misconception that carpets are more difficult and costly to clean than other hard flooring options. However, from my research this is not necessarily the case, there are many studies out there that have investigated carpet life-cycle costs, cleaning costs and energy saving costs and I've found that there are many cost savings to be made from the installation of carpet.
One of these studies included a life cycle cost analysis for floor coverings in school facilities conducted by Jeff Bishop and the Institute, Cleaning and Restoration Certification, which found that Carpet could be 65% less expensive than Vinyl Composition Tiles (VCT).
Although Bishop’s (2002) study focused on flooring within schools, the findings of this study can be considered relevant for many market sectors, especially where carpets are used in multi-dwelling facilities and high footfall environments. The study provides a comprehensive analysis of life-cycle costs; taking a holistic view he compared Carpet with VCT and investigated the initial purchase cost, installation charges, maintenance requirements and associated costs, plus the cost of maintaining the floor, to include cleaning chemicals, over a 22 year period to understand the total expenses associated with a flooring investment. Bishop took the usable life of the carpet as 11 years and so replacement costs, accounting for inflation, was included in the analysis.
Bishop concluded that at the end of the 22 year time period, carpet expenditures were more cost-effective than VCT, even though carpet had a higher purchase and installation cost.
Bishop also found from his research that on an annual basis it takes two-and-a-half times longer to clean hard floors than carpet and that the cleaning chemicals needed to clean hard floors properly are seven times more expensive.
Just because a hard floor finish looks clean it doesn’t always mean it is. All floor coverings must be maintained properly and cleaned regularly, using the appropriate industry standards and manufacturers recommendations, to prolong the life of the product, to maintain its appearance and to minimise the risk of it becoming an infection control concern.