We have learned to change our habits and, similarly, we need to adopt behaviors that involve as little contact between people as possible to deliver the highest levels of hygiene in both our public and private spaces. We now prioritize wearing a face mask, social distancing and cleaning, disinfecting and sterilizing the surfaces we touch to minimize the spread of harmful bacteria.
It is not difficult to work out which building and surface materials are best suited to cover our homes and all the other spaces we occupy such as offices, hotels, restaurants and bars in this new reality. These materials will not just have to be easy to clean, but will also have to deliver the versatility that will enable us to feel safe and welcome. If there is one material that can offer that complete package, it is ceramic tile.
Healthcare spaces such as hospitals, health centers and other facilities warrant special attention as they are designed for use by the public and will need to provide an optimum response to the new health demands and requirements set in place to deliver the necessary levels of safety to protect our health.
In addition to new technology-led organizational systems in these facilities, both public and private, surfaces will need to be aseptic, safe, resistant to wear, strong and the ability to keep clean. These attributes now take precedence more than ever over other features or surface materials. And this is an area where Tile of Spain manufacturers are relentlessly progressing in new production processes.
Thanks to their commitment to research and innovation, Spanish companies are crafting solutions that present profound advances in the possibilities ceramic walls, floors and countertops can offer. Double-thickness porcelain tiles and technical porcelain offer notable features that include great chemical and mechanical resistance, high anti-slip ratings and minimal maintenance are an excellent choice for hospitals, laboratories, clinics and sectors where cleanliness and durability are prime concerns.
Other outstanding research undertaken by Spanish ceramic tile manufacturers includes the development of specific glazes that enhance ceramic’s hygienic properties by incorporating biocides or photocatalysts that could spontaneously disinfect surfaces without external agents in the near future.
One clear example of this kind of innovation has come from Keraben Groupo, which has launched Lifeker Plus+, a new ceramic finish with advanced technology that efficiently repels the growth of bacteria. Lifeker Plus+ has been developed in association with Microban® and provides the ceramic with an additional level of permanent protection on top of ceramic tiles’ inherent properties, making them the most efficient choice in environments excellent care is key.
Along similar lines, Rosa Gres has developed a porcelain stoneware called Biostop, a form of ceramic that prevents and inhibits the growth of pathogenic micro-organisms. Biostop contains Bactiblok an active component that is integrated into the glaze during the manufacturing process. This ensures the self-protecting properties are present for the life span of the product, making it a perfect choice for spaces that require maximum levels of hygiene and safety such as health centers, gyms and restaurants.
Another outstanding technology introduced by Gres de Aragón is Bioklinker which has been applied to Aciker Plus. This technique impedes the growth of micro-organisms and eliminates them, making this an ideal ceramic cladding for facilities with stringent regulations for safety and maximum standards of sanitation that are mandatory for the sake of visitor’s health.
Innovations in Spain’s ceramic tile sector do not stop at hygiene and strength. During Cevisama 2020, the Alfa award was granted to Argenta, which presented its innovative Spark-0 product, a conductive ceramic floor tile designed for rooms that need to keep the electrical charges that are generated during use under control. Spark-0 is a special ceramic covering system that, as a result of its specially developed composition, thickness, glaze and installation components are classified as a semi-conductor and enable electrical charges to be dissipated into the ground.
Last but not least is H&C Tiles by manufacturer Grespania. This innovative product adds elements of excellence to features that are already intrinsic to ceramic. Hydrotect® technology, which consists of applying a titanium dioxide coating to ceramic, reduces external environmental pollution and makes the ceramic material self-cleaning while furnishing it with bactericides and an agent that eliminates odors. The result is a material that is excellent for use as a covering both indoors and out. Technology, hygiene and sustainability all come together in this ceramic material, with the sole but crucial aim of creating a better environment for the whole of society.
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 AQUÍ.