The consistent levels of high humidity and fluctuating temperatures found in spas and saunas place unique demands on the materials used in the construction of these types of facilities. Wet rooms are also increasing in popularity, both in private residences and facilities such as high end gyms, hotels, and spas. A wet room is a type of bathroom where the shower, instead of being a separated element, uses a floor that is flush with that of the rest of the bathroom and is separated by a single wall or panel. These designs typically include a drain set close to the middle of the wet room, with the floors gently sloping towards it to facilitate drainage.
The same conditions (heat and moisture) that provide the healing benefits of a spa or sauna are also ideal conditions for a broad range of bacteria and other microorganisms to flourish. While many saunas install solid wood or wooden slat-type surfaces, some experts cite these as among the worst materials to use in terms of hygiene. The fibers of wood are incredibly porous and can absorb perspiration and bacteria, providing them with a warm, moist environment in which odor-causing bacteria and other microorganisms can thrive. Even when the surface is cleaned, it is all but impossible to remove the germs and contaminants that have soaked into the wood over time. Tile floors present a similar problem; though the tiles themselves may be waterproof and easy to clean, the grout lines between them almost certainly aren’t. With bare feet, sweaty bodies, and outside debris being tracked in, plenty of contaminants will soon collect in tile grout lines.
In contrast, epoxy flooring provides an effective and durable spa and wet room solution. The impervious finish is chemically cross-linked on a molecular level, resulting in a tight, non-porous surface that is unwelcoming to microbial growth. And because epoxy floors are installed in their liquid state, when cured they produce a virtually seamless surface without grout lines or other crevices in which debris can collect. For upper level wet spa facilities, waterproof epoxy floor systems offer an extra barrier to help prevent moisture from entering structural concrete to damage lower levels. Various epoxy and other resinous flooring formulas can also be customized with the addition of antimicrobial properties that further inhibit the proliferation of germs.
For a setting such as a spa or sauna, functional safety considerations must be taken into account without compromising the desired aesthetic appeal. In consistently moist or wet environments, it is important to choose an epoxy or similar flooring system that is slip resistant to help prevent injuries. The flooring system should also be capable of withstanding temperature fluctuations and cycling, particularly prolonged exposure to higher temperatures and humidity, without warping or deteriorating over time.
In addition to such performance characteristics, saunas and spas provide an area where people come to relax and unwind, so the selected colors and designs should ideally support the desired soothing ambience. For wet rooms or communal showering facilities, hygiene is a top concern; a predominantly white or other light colored flooring surface is often preferred, as it enables users to visually evaluate facility cleanliness and provides a more sanitary appearance overall. With Florock’s countless special aesthetics options and value, the desired look is within reach.