In a hospital setting, the last thing you want to do is to contribute to the spread of infections. With patients visiting the hospital for a wide range of issues, the possibilities for HCAIs (healthcare associated infections) is high. Virtually every surface an individual touches has the potential to spread microorganisms and pathogens which can lead to infection, from doorknobs to pens to chair handles to countertops. This is why surface hygiene is so important.
One of the most common surfaces for personnel and patients to come in contact with are countertops. Countertops are found in reception areas, breakroom tables, side tables, nurse’s stations, exam room desks, bathroom vanities, etc. Therefore, countertops need to be selected that are hygienic and durable. While there are numerous countertop materials to choose from, quartz is the answer to this dilemma that hospitals are facing.
Why Quartz is the Best Countertop Material for Hospitals
Quartz, also referred to as engineered stone, is a man-made countertop material. It is actually a material that is made of 90% crushed stone waste (granite, marble, other types of natural stone, or even recycled glass) and 10% cement-based or polymeric binder. This composition gives it beneficial properties that make it perfect for the hospital setting.
Unlike other natural stones, quartz is a non-porous material. This means that a quartz countertop will not absorb whatever is on it. When it comes to the hospital setting, this can be especially important. Standing liquids or any moisture can easily harbor bacteria, which for obvious reasons is problematic. Quartz countertops will not absorb these bacteria and can easily be wiped clean, helping keep the space sanitized and prevent the spread of harmful bacteria.
Large Slabs Means Fewer Seams
Quartz table tops can come in large slabs, which means there are fewer seams or joints where two slabs come together. These joints can be areas where bacteria can grow and fester. Reducing the number of seams can reduce the risk of this bacteria growing, minimizing sanitation concerns. This is especially helpful, given that most countertops in reception, nurses stations, tables, and exam room desks can be crafted from a single slab, removing seams entirely!
One of the most desired characteristics of quartz is that it is easy to maintain. Unlike quartz, other natural stone countertops materials like marble or granite are porous. This means they are susceptible to absorbing liquids, bacteria, and other things that they come in contact with. To prevent this absorption, other natural stones require regular sealing, which can be highly inconvenient when there are patients to see in a busy hospital setting.
Of all of the countertop materials available, quartz is one of the most durable. Unlike other natural stone countertops, quartz is resistant to scratches, etching, chipping, and other damage. Having countertops that do not get damaged means reducing the risk of bacteria being harbored in small grooves or imperfections on the surface. Additionally, because quartz does not need to be sealed, it can be cleaned repeatedly without any concern–an essential characteristic in the healthcare setting.
While it might not be the first thing that comes to mind, countertops actually see a lot of traffic in hospitals and the healthcare setting. Patients and personnel alike touch countertops to place belongings, write, fill out forms or charts, etc. You need a material that isn’t going to get damaged or show wear and tear from being banged, bumped, or touched excessively. With countertops made of a durable material like quartz, they can last much longer than countertops made of another material.
It Looks Good
Quartz is quickly gaining on the hugely popular granite when it comes to preferred material for countertops. One of the reasons for this is how good it looks. Quartz comes in a wide variety of colors and styles. This means you can get a natural-looking stone (you can even get marble veining) or you can opt for a bright, fun color (which is a great choice for a children’s hospital). Another reason quartz is so popular is that because it is a man-made material each piece is completely uniform. This makes it easier to cut and install than granite where each piece is unique. This can create clean lines, which helps give the appearance of cleanliness. These factors make quartz a visually appealing choice for countertops that can add to the overall design of the hospital.
Why You Might Think Twice
Quartz countertops clearly offer a wide variety of benefits to hospitals. It is highly durable, visually appealing, and hygienic. Yet, hospitals may think twice before installing them due to their price. Quartz countertops are one of the more expensive options for countertop materials. With the sheer amount of countertops required for a hospital, this number can be staggering. While quartz countertops may be more expensive than other options available on the market, the durability and hygiene factors alone can make the return on investment well worth it. If countertops do not need to be replaced as frequently, remodeling costs will be reduced drastically and in the long-run, the hospital will benefit more from the initial capital expenditure required to install these high-quality countertops throughout the facility.