Never before had we been so aware of the importance of hygiene as during the COVID-19 pandemic. The new cleaning and disinfecting habits are undoubtedly here to stay and concepts such as ease of cleaning and hygiene will be prioritized when it comes to choosing materials.
As the slogan for the ASCER and Confindustria Cerámica advertising campaign launched in early 2019 claims: ceramic is a safe choice. The statement will be even more significant from now on. Ceramic coverings are safe, do not release any noxious substances, do not burn, do not grow mold or bacteria, are easy to clean and are resistant to the use of aggressive chemical detergents. It is these features that have traditionally made ceramic tiles the covering of choice for kitchens and bathrooms all over the world.
These requirements for sterility and hygiene now apply equally to every room in the home, to public spaces, shops, hotels, communal outdoor areas, etc. All of these are spaces for which ceramic offers long-lasting, safe design and building solutions.
A NEW CRITERIA
When the current health crisis is behind us, the concern about future pandemics will push safety and hygiene as a priority when acquiring products or hiring services. When designing spaces, architects and interior designers will need to adapt their designs to the new order, where social distancing rules will prevail and the most favored materials will be those that provide the most in terms of health and safety. Consumers will be far more cautious in regards to hygiene and the scales will tip in favor of spaces that deliver the highest levels of cleanliness.
Ceramic can play a key part in this new criteria. Ceramic coverings ensure a maximum degree of hygiene and are in fact utilized in sectors where the requirement is for an extremely high degree of cleanliness, even in areas such as operating rooms and laboratories where it is vital that the environment be sterile.
The low porosity of ceramic means that it does not absorb dirt and is suitable for use in spaces where cleanliness is a must. This in turn means that it offers more benefits than any other material such as carpet, parquet, marble and even vinyl.
Although it has been demonstrated that viruses live for a certain amount of time on almost all surfaces, the good news is that ceramic materials are by their very nature highly resistant to the chemical agents that are recommended for disinfecting it. Sodium hypochlorite, or bleach, which is the most common disinfectant, is a strong oxidant that damages some surfaces such as carpets. It is however perfectly able to be used for cleaning ceramic floor and wall tiles.
In a further step in hygiene stakes, some companies in the ceramic tile manufacturing are working on specific formulations for glazing that will eradicate viruses from surfaces. Some tests are already underway where photo-catalytic materials and biocides have been added to ceramic, enabling any virus that lands on it to be eradicated within minutes and without having to use any disinfectants.
This story was originally published in Ceraspaña 45, a journal published by ASCER/Tile of Spain to promote the use and benefits of Spanish ceramic tiles in contemporary architecture and interior design. Read the article and view past issues HERE.For even more projects, products and news from Tile of Spain be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter & Pinterest.