By Ken Ryan
Many people feel the COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally changed the world as we know it. People are living differently and buying differently. Studies have shown the pandemic has made consumers more aware of the need to maintain hygiene—both on a personal level as well as in their homes—to reduce the chances of infection.
To that end, awareness is growing among consumers around antibacterial materials and antimicrobial products, and the hygienic benefits these low-maintenance surfaces provide. As this trend grows—and is expected to continue to do so for the foreseeable future—flooring suppliers are developing products that promote cleanliness and hygiene. In some cases, the products are inherently hygienic; in others, an additive has made it so.
Following is a snapshot of some innovative hygienic flooring products available today.
Ultra Ceramic collections feature a polyurethane surface treatment, making it easy to clean and disinfect and least likely to show signs of tarnishing compared to natural stones.
American Biltrite said it conducted laboratory tests using a methodology based on ASTM F 925 and applied disinfectants approved to combat SARS-CoV-2 on various surfaces with 60-minute and 24-hour dwell times. Marble and porcelain samples showed clear signs of tarnishing while UltraCeramic did not, the company said.
ARMSTRONG/DIAMOND 10 TECHNOLOGY
Cleaning and disinfection protocols are the best way to mitigate the spread of infection. That’s why Diamond 10 Technology was created, according to Armstrong, and it’s made cleaning and disinfecting an effective process. Diamond 10 Technology uses cultured diamonds to provide the ultimate scratch, stain and scuff resistance. Its protective layer provides simple cleanability so disinfecting protocols are effective and consistent. Diamond 10 Technology is available across the Armstrong Flooring portfolio, including LVT, rigid core and sheet.
Unlike some other surfaces, tile is innately resistant to the growth of bacteria, mold and mildew. Tile is also a hypoallergenic surface that harbors no odor or bacteria. In 2020, Daltile launched the Famed collection, the brand’s first tile collection that features Microban technology. Microban technology provides powerful antimicrobial product protection that is built into the product and will not wash off or wear away. Daltile said it plans to offer more new products featuring Microban technology in 2021.
ENGINEERED FLOORS/PURECOLOR AND PUREBAC
The color in PureColor solution-dyed fiber permeates 100% of the fiber itself, so consumers can use a disinfecting bleach solution for a deep clean on spill/stain areas without worrying about fading or discoloring the carpet. Additionally, the company’s PureBac backing system offers an additional layer of protection with Ultrafresh. The eco-friendly treatment protects carpet from bacteria, mold, mildew and fungus.
Stainmaster PetProtect from Invista is made with solution-dyed nylon and offers benefits important to busy families who don’t have time to clean. The built-in stain resistance makes it easy to clean up pet messes and lessens the attraction between the hair and the carpet to allow for easy removal of hair with normal vacuuming. In addition, the PetProtect carpet and cushion system reduces pet odors after thorough cleaning.
The Pure Genius particles embedded in Lauzon’s Titanium finish coating are designed to turn floors into self-purifying surfaces on which 99.6% of germs (virus, bacteria) are actively eliminated, as well as an air cleaner that eliminates up to 85% of VOCs, solvents and formaldehyde from the ambient air. Pure Genius captures impurities and naturally decomposes and releases them as harmless molecules.
Mannington will be incorporating Microban into its Adura line starting this quarter. All the products in the Adura Selling Solution have Microban—Adura Max, Adura Rigid and Adura Flex. The technology is built into the wear layer of the floor and won’t wear off over time. “This makes the power of the Adura Selling Solution that much more relevant, and it really simplifies things for the retail salesperson,” said Jimmy Tuley, vice president, residential resilient.
Where traditional carpets fall short, the fibers in SmartStrand Forever Clean are designed to offer an extraordinary cleanability with permanent stain resistance and spill and soil protection. SmartStrand is created using proprietary Nanoloc technology that completely encapsulates the carpet fiber making it easier to clean. A worry-free solution, SmartStrand is designed as the ideal flooring for busy households.
Silver Trav is a stone-look porcelain available via MSI’s Legions collection. The large-format porcelain is nonporous, meaning it will not harbor moisture, creating an environment that is non-conducive to bacteria or mold growth. Silver Trav provides an excellent hygienic environment for people and pets as it is engineered to be simple to clean and highly resistant to staining and slipping.
Phenix carpets with Microban help protect 24/7 against the growth of bacteria, mold and mildew, and are said to remain 99% cleaner than untreated surfaces. It’s built right into the carpet, so it lasts for the life of the product and is designed to prevent the growth of stain and odor causing bacteria, mold and mildew. The built-in Microban antimicrobial technology is designed to offer a new level of cleanliness to homeowners, a top-of-mind attribute today.
Shaw Floors’ Bellera carpet collection features high-performance PET fiber, LifeGuard spill-proof backing, new bleach and fade-resistant technology and R2X stain and soil treatment. New bleach and fade-resistant technology offer extreme resistance to harsh cleaning agents. Shaw’s R2X stain and soil treatment and LifeGuard spill-proof backing both aim to improve cleanability and odor resistance. Bellera is Green Label Plus certified and Cradle to Cradle Certified Bronze.
Torlys RigidWood and RigidTile Smart Vinyl collections feature antimicrobial technology from top to bottom. On the surface is Maxx Finish antimicrobial protection to defend against bacteria 24/7. In the middle, SafeCore is infused with Microban product protection to prevent microbes from growing and reproducing should bacteria find its way in between floor joints. Underneath the floor, FoamPlus Blue underlay is integrated with Microban technology.
The additive that is Actio2 is integrated in the flooring lacquer layer and enables a natural photocatalytic process to take place when exposed to daylight or indoor light. This allows harmful emissions and unpleasant odors to be broken down, in turn improving indoor air quality. The process kills bacteria on the floor and the additive also makes the floor easier to clean. Since it is embedded in the lacquer, it remains active during the entire lifetime of the surface.