Creating Hygienic Concrete for Health Sensitive Environments
Maintaining a sterile environment is imperative in areas such as hospitals, aged-care and childcare facilities. We focus on keeping exposed surfaces clean; however, we don’t often consider what is happening below flooring coverings and within the concrete underneath. Concrete is highly porous and absorbs fluids including biological matter, urine and bacteria or viruses that are dangerous in these high-risk environments. As such there are various concrete treatments marketed towards these projects – but are they really beneficial?
Many concrete sealers that are currently marketed towards these environments create an impermeable barrier as a coating, or near the surface of the concrete slab as a penetrative technology. By preventing the ingress of contaminants into the pores of concrete, they allow for easier cleaning and disinfecting. However, while these products do prevent migration into the concrete slab, creating a barrier is not always sufficient. The barrier method does not offer true antimicrobial protection which allows bacteria, viruses and other contaminants to thrive between the slab surface and flooring systems above.
Whilst this method is heavily marketed to designers and is specified as a solution for medical environments, it is unfortunately only a part solution and the industry is now embracing new technologies that provide true anti-microbial protection.
Silver has been used for decades for its antimicrobial properties as it can kill viruses and bacteria on contact. Scientists are currently unaware of the effects that prolonged exposure to nano-silver could have on the environment and human health. In-vitro studies have demonstrated that nano-silver is toxic to mammalian liver cells, brain cells and stem cells; and as such there are calls to regulate the use of these particles in Australia. Despite the potential risks, nano-silver is still currently used in a number of antimicrobial floor coatings.
Ionic-Silver can be incorporated into a penetrative sealer, embedding itself within the substrate. Silver-ions are released via ambient moisture. They destabilise the cell, stop respiration and inhibit cell division whilst blocking the replication of DNA thus killing the cell. With FDA approval this is by far the most safe and effective antimicrobial solution.
Bringing the latest and safest in concrete technologies is part of our DNA at CE, which is one of the reasons why we work with the OXTEK Medivet. To date we’ve serviced many of the regions hospital, health, animals projects ensure we protect and provide the ultimate durability to concrete structures.
Yearn to learn? CE Construction Solutions offer lunch and morning tea group presentations of how Medivet and other penetrative dealers work in curing, sealing and protecting a range of structures including carparks, podiums and facades.
If you’d like to understand more about how these technologies work in concrete contact your CE Construction Solutions team on (02) 6280 6010.