Are you already specifying or using PVC wall panels in your healthcare facility? If so, you’re part of a growing worldwide trend that’s seeing demand for this hygienic, safe and sustainable material grow twice as fast as its fiberglass counterpart.
Recent analysis of the global market for PVC wall panels showed that while smaller, the market is expected to grow much more rapidly in the next five years with 14.2% growth for PVC compared to 7.9% growth on FRP.
So what’s the reason for this?
FRP panels have been used for wall protection for decades and remain a popular choice thanks to their durability and cost effectiveness – this market is still expected to be worth roughly $2.2 billion by 2025. But PVC panels are hot on FRP’s heels, largely because they provide an answer to increasingly louder calls for environmentally friendly materials. While FRP is hazardous to use and dispose of, PVC isn’t just safer; it’s recyclable, too.
The Covid-19 pandemic has had a major impact on the wall protection sector. In the early days of the pandemic, shutdowns across China led to a worldwide shortage of wall panelling materials. But as the sector slowly overcomes the backlog and gets back to normal, experts are predicting a period of sustained growth, fuelled by greater awareness of and demand for hygienic wall protection solutions.
This will inevitably see growing demand for both FRP and PVC solutions. However, the latter is of particular interest for the healthcare sector because of the unique qualities PVC can offer.
Why is PVC better for healthcare?
Firstly, PVC can be thermally moulded on site to curve around corners and window frames. This means there are fewer seams in the material, and therefore fewer dirt traps, which are notoriously difficult to decontaminate.
Secondly, PVC is much safer, both during construction and across the life of the product. When FRP panels are cut or damaged, they release inhalable toxic particles that can damage the lungs. Because the surface of an FRP panel is slightly textured, it is more vulnerable to damage by abrasion and as well as releasing toxins, this creates a pitted surface where germs can lurk. By contrast, PVC panels are completely non-toxic, even when cut, scratched or damaged. They are extremely durable against wear and tear, and ultra-smooth for simple, effective cleaning.
PVC panels can be more hygienic in other ways too. Unlike FRP panels, it’s possible to infuse the molten PVC with antimicrobial compounds such as silver ions before it’s formed into panels. As well as being smooth and strong, these panels then have built-in protection against germs which gives hospitals and care homes additional peace of mind, and helps to ease the burden of hygiene at critical times, for example during the winter flu season.
When you consider then that PVC wall protection is available in a huge range of colours, and is kind to the planet – it’s guaranteed for 20 years and then it can be recycled – it’s not surprising that we’re seeing such rapid growth in demand for this product.
So if you’re still using or specifying FRP panelling, it’s definitely time for a rethink. Contact us today for more information on our range of hygienic PVC wall panelling and to discuss its applications in hospital or care home environments.