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Specifying Healthcare Floors Through Evidence-Based Approach

Brian Knutson

Written by Brian Knutson, District Manager at Mannington Commercial
Apr 29, 2021

As an interior designer you know the challenges a healthcare space presents. Selecting the right materials is crucial, and meeting the functional needs of an environment sometimes outweigh the appeal of ascetics.


The team at Johns Hopkins Health System (JHHS) know all about this, and they set out build a healthcare space that rose to the challenge that each area of a hospital presents. 


We got the opportunity to be a part of this project and to talk to the Lead Interior Designers on the project. 


The Challenge 

When it comes to flooring for healthcare environments, the range of unique and often abusive conditions in these spaces can present a significant challenge to specifiers. “The flooring has to be safe, we have to be able to clean it, and it has to be durable. It’s very hard to find one flooring product that does all that,” says, Lead Interior Designer at the Johns Hopkins Health System (JHHS).


Tackling the Challenge with Evidence-Based Design 

“We’re very heavy duty at JHHS, In some of the  main areas of the Hospital, there can be 20,000 people walking through in a day.” With more than 9 million square feet of flooring at the Hospital campus alone, the designers needed to determine which flooring products lived up to their claims and could be specified with confidence. So the design team took an evidence-based approach, developing the Johns Hopkins Sustainable Flooring Test. They installed 15 flooring products in one of the busiest corridors of the Johns Hopkins Hospital. Over the course of 3 months, the floors  were subjected to heavy daily traffic and cleaning.


Mannington Commercial’s heterogeneous sheet, Paradigm Collection, was one of the products included in the test. The Johns Hopkins Sustainable Flooring Test All of the products in the test claimed to offer high performance, safety, the incorporation of green/sustainable materials, and  easy maintenance without the requirement of a waxed finish. The report on the JHHS flooring test has been published by the Facility Guidelines Institute (FGI) as part of their Beyond Fundamentals program.


The test included:

  • Weekly observation of each installed sample’s performance  and cleanliness, compared to uninstalled control samples
  • A controlled stain test
  • Wet and dry slip-resistance tests
  • Acoustic measurements
  • A furniture “drag test,” checking impact damage and seam integrity

Related: Why the FGI Guidelines Are Important 



John Hopkins Health System, Paradigm II Collection


The Solution

Throughout the 3-month test, “Mannington Commercial’s Paradigm sheet vinyl product did beautifully,” says Lead Interior Designer. “It did so well, actually, that Paradigm is pretty much our first choice for any sheet vinyl project.” 


The Paradigm Collection has been specified in a variety of spaces across JHHS campuses, including the Skip Viragh Outpatient Building, the Johns Hopkins Breast Center and  numerous office suites. 


The success of Paradigm at JHHS starts with its performance. Paradigm is engineered to withstand the heavy traffic and abuse of healthcare spaces. “Everything looks beautiful on Day 1, but does it still look good 6 months later? Paradigm has lived up to its test performance in the actual installations.”


With its endurance and cleanability, Paradigm helps meet one of the design team’s main goals for healthcare spaces: to make it easy for the staff using the environment to do the right thing. “Try to make it easy for people to keep things clean, to find what they need, and so on. Everything is simply where it needs to be and looks like it should, and the person can just do their job.” 


To this end, Paradigm’s ease of cleaning is one of the key benefits: “I am consistently told by EVC [the Environmental Care team] that Paradigm is the easiest to maintain of all the new flooring I’ve installed.” 


Solving a Design Conundrum

Paradigm features abstract visuals in a sophisticated palette to create a warm, upscale aesthetic. The collection has helped the Lead Interior Designer  solve “a conundrum in healthcare design.”  explaining that healthcare spaces “need to be clean, need to be perceived as clean, and need the feeling of hospitality, of ‘home-iness.’ Paradigm allows me to give the hospitality, residential look and aesthetic, but in a product that I can keep clean.”


The collection is also designed for easy coordination with Mannington Commercial’s other hard surface and carpet collections, helping to build coherence across spaces with different flooring needs.


“We’ve been able to expand our design palette with the Divergent LVT product.

In areas where we would want to use  an LVT, we can use that coordinate product, which carries the same color line and the same design aesthetic as Paradigm.”



John Hopkins Health System, Paradigm II Collection



Crafted with Purpose for Healthcare Spaces 

Mannington Commercial has a long and proven legacy of creating flooring that supports the complex needs of healthcare environments. Mannington Commercial’s products are crafted  not simply with healthcare in mind, but with actual, ongoing feedback and input from the healthcare industry. 


“Dialogue with customers and the Johns Hopkins Health System allows us to better understand their overall design and performance intent,” says Kathy Griffel, Mannington Commercial Director of Healthcare.


“Healthcare spaces are a key focus at Mannington Commercial, and we develop our flooring from a holistic point of view to meet the performance needs of these challenging environments. We evaluate our products not only in terms of the design, wear layer or structure, but with a sense of how all the components will work together to deliver a high-performance solution for our customers. We take it a step further by designing products that integrate with our other flooring products, giving our customers a total performance system.”


The purpose of Mannington Commercial’s products and people is to help specifiers solve their toughest challenges, simply and effectively. In their work to provide the Johns Hopkins Health System with thoughtfully designed flooring that answers myriad needs, says Lead Interior Designer, “I consider Mannington Commercial to be a true partner.”



You Might Like: A Guide To Understanding the Fundamentals of Healthcare Flooring



 Download the case study to learn more about how the team at Johns Hopkins Health System choose the flooring solution right for them. 👇


Johns Hopkins Case Study Download



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