October 8, 2010 Leave a comment
The level of vertical wall protection for a facility depends on different factors such as the location or the purpose of the facility. A hallway or corridor in a heavy traffic area commands a higher level of protection than a lounge or lobby may need. A hospital may require sterile surfaces whereas an office building does not. No matter where a wall is located, chances are that it may still experience at least some level of abuse. Below are different levels of wall protection that you can apply depending on the need.
Yes, commercial paint can be considered wall protection for high traffic areas that experience light abuse like scuffing or scratching. Today’s commercial paints and primers can be considerably durable and some surpass rigorous scrub testing to qualify for high durability ratings. Look for a commercial paint that:
- Is Master Painters Institute (MPI) Certified
- Has a high scrub rating as tested by ASTM-D2486
- Has excellent stain removal and scratch resistance properties
- Is low or no VOC; or Green Seal™ Certified
- Can be matched to the colors of your facility
- Contains Microban® or is antimicrobial. This is not a requirement, but very useful in healthcare and education environments.
Depending on the thickness of the sheet you use, rigid vinyl is appropriate for most wall protection applications. Applying rigid vinyl sheet over a wall is a much better alternative to repainting or worse yet, replacing drywall every time damage occurs. Different heights allow you to clad an entire wall or up to a certain point on a wall, like wainscoting.
Rigid sheet is often preferred because it is durable, long lasting and easy to clean. It is available in tons of different finishes from solid colors to patterns and even woodgrains. Vinyl sheet can be installed to blend in with its surroundings or be used as a design element like a beadboard wall panel that is capped with an elegant chair rail. Top caps and trim pieces that coordinate with rigid sheet conceal seams and finish corners and edges making installation easier.
PVC rigid vinyl sheet used to be the norm as far as sheet material. With more emphasis on sustainable building products, non-PVC vinyl sheet wall panels are also available – some including recycled content – such such as PC/ABS and BioPolyPETG+™, which are eco-friendly versions. When looking for vinyl sheet, here are some common questions to ask:
- Is the sheet manufactured by the company I’m ordering from to ensure short lead times and color and quality control?
- Are there experts on hand at the company I’m ordering from to help if I should have installation questions or need to determine the thickness of sheet I need?
- Will the company come to my facility to take measurements so I can be assured the proper amount will be ordered?
- Does the rigid vinyl sheet come in colors and finishes that coordinate with my facility?
- If other elements are needed such as corner guards, handrails and door frame guards, can they coordinate with the rigid vinyl sheet?
- Is it available in an environmentally friendly option or is it at least recyclable?
- Can the sheet be shipped quickly in case I need more or need to quickly replace a section?
Diamond plate sheet provides heavy-duty protection in areas such as loading docks and other back-of-house areas. The sheets are easy to cut and mount to the wall with fasteners. Diamond plate sheet has an industrial look and is not often used in general, highly-visible areas.
Solid surface wall panels create sterile surgical suites and exam rooms because they are non-porous and do not promote the growth of mold, mildew or bacteria. While solid surface can be fabricated to any application, it is a high-end solution best suited where sterile areas are required or as part of an elegant room design. Solid surface is perfect for bathrooms, corridors, clean rooms, food service and reception areas and is easy to clean.
Quartz engineered stone is perhaps the mother of wall protection and certainly one of the most luxurious. Quartz is non-porous like solid surface, which is great for sterile environments. But it is also extremely hard, which makes it scratch, stain and heat resistant. This makes quartz low maintenance for any application and can be fabricated to meet any need.