What to Consider When Looking for Easy-to-clean Surfaces
Choosing the right materials for your space is more important than ever
We’ve all spent a lot of time in the last few weeks looking at surfaces in a new way. Can I touch that handle? Who’s been using this table? Is any of it going to put me at risk? All valid questions. It’s why being thoughtful about the materials we use to construct our spaces is more important than ever.
There have been several reports of how long a virus can live on certain materials. And that number seems to change with every new finding. That’s why disease experts recommend using materials that are easy to clean. But what does that mean?
Ultimately it comes down to how porous something is. For most of us, the word porous calls to mind sponges or paper towel. Something absorbent. But what most of us forget is that even hard substances like granite are considered porous. They have the ability to hold on to germs. So does drywall.
Seal the deal
To improve infection prevention, surfaces have to be sealed. For example, a casework cabinet wrapped in Thermofoil, keeps germs on the outside. And because it’s easy to wipe it’s easy to keep clean.
But sealing a surface is only part of the solution. It’s got to stay sealed. That’s where durability comes in. Paint will seal drywall, helping with infection prevention. But we all know how easy it is for paint to chip. And once that seal is broken, it becomes an infection risk. Rugged wall panels that have been wrapped in Thermofoil are harder to damage. The seal is maintained keeping users safe.
More than a feeling
One more thing to consider about materiality. It’s not just about what it feels like. It’s about how it makes you feel. Have you been in a grocery store that has recently added plexiglass barriers? Sure, they prevent the spread of germs, but they don’t do much for our mood. It feels temporary. Using that application in office workplace, won’t allow users to relax. Thoughtfully deployed tempered glass, though. That has a feeling of permanence and elegance. It can prevent the spread of germs in a way that supports a design aesthetic.
We want spaces that keep us safe and let us focus on what we have to do. And we don’t want to compromise on that. Choosing the right materials means we don’t have to.
This article is part of a series on rethinking space.
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