ARMC used a high-performance coating to resolve floor damage issues while saving time and money.

Image courtesy of Solid Surface Care Inc.

Arrowhead Regional Medical Center (ARMC) in Colton, Calif., encompasses one of the largest emergency departments in the state. 

The 465-bed hospital sits on a 70-acre campus that employs 3,500 personnel, 400 physicians and 182 resident physicians. With annual admissions of 24,441, plus 254,000 outpatient visits, the medical center is no stranger to high-traffic situations, which can cause substantial wear-and-tear on floors and other surfaces.

The damage that ARMC’s 1.2 million square feet of flooring has seen over the years doesn’t stop at foot traffic, however. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the medical center has been forced to face another challenge to floor maintenance: hand sanitizer.

Damaged floors from hand sanitizer use have created an ongoing struggle for hospitals and health care facilities. While hand sanitizing stations have been used for years to lessen infection risk, their use has increased exponentially with the advent of COVID-19.

ARMC found that the increased use in hand sanitizer posed particular issues. People dispense the sanitizer and walk away while rubbing their hands and dripping the product on the floor as they go. These drips often create white spots, dark spots and sticky residue on a floor’s finish. Not only does this look unattractive, but it also was causing damage to floor surfaces.

The medical center searched for a surface care solution to its hand sanitizer issue, and found that the problem could be resolved with ongoing specialty floor maintenance in addition to standard janitorial protocols.

However, with 46 vacancies on its facility’s roster, ARMC’s environmental services (EVS) staff did not have the resources to keep up with continual flooring damage from hand sanitizer. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers eat away at floor finishes and leave unattractive spots. The only way to remove the spotting is to strip the floor finishes and reapply them, a time-consuming, labor-intensive process that requires constant attention.

ARMC decided to leverage its existing partnership with Solid Surface Care Inc. for answers. The Charlotte, N.C.-based surface care provider has more than three decades of deep cleaning, maintenance, restoration and disinfecting experience.

Jose Bautista, national technical manager for Solid, manages the ARMC account. After deep cleaning the floors, Bautista suggested using a high-performance polyurethane coating on the flooring surfaces. 

“Conventional floor finishes don’t stand up to hand sanitizer damage,” Bautista says. “My team came up with the perfect solution that saves time and money. It’s why our partners trust Solid.”

ARMC found that the polyurethane finishing method had a high return on its investment, with efficiencies in both cost and operations. No more stripping, buffing and waxing creates savings in material and labor costs.

“When we needed a solution to solve hand sanitizer floor damage, we called the experts at Solid,” says Eddy Evans, director of EVS at ARMC. “Their solution keeps our floors looking and staying clean, healthy and safe.”

The coating, when dry, proved to be 98% resistant to alcohol-based solvent damage, retained the floor’s color and created a durable, easy-to-clean surface. Another benefit ARMC has found is that the finished surfaces are easy to maintain, and the one-coat process avoids trapping the dirt between finish layers, alleviating unsightly smudges and other visible dirt.

Also, the initial investment in using Solid’s polyurethane finish solution will be recouped in months, not years.

Fixing hand sanitizer flooring damage is just one of the many surface care solutions proposed and implemented for ARMC’s ongoing consolidated surface care plan. The medical center’s proactive preventive maintenance plan with Solid aligns with ARMC’s existing maintenance procedures. Because Solid’s outcome-based surface care plan utilizes innovative technology, testing, certification and deep industry knowledge, it ensures that the ARMC campus not only looks clean, but is clean and healthy.