Most people don’t stop to think about the tile they install in their homes as being antimicrobial or antibacterial. Most people do agree, however, on the need to keep their homes free of germs and microbes. Most people also agree that any step they take to reduce or eliminate germs is a step in the direction of creating a healthy home environment.
Bacteria settle and grow on all types of solid surfaces and form communities called biofilms. These biofilms facilitate the landing of other microbes, which then grow into even larger communities that can potentially cause damage to a structure. Damage is noticeable in several forms: a foul odor or discoloration or even decomposition of the surface. (Who hasn’t experienced the damage mold can do in a dank, musty basement?) In some cases, microbes can even cause serious illness and infection in humans. While washing our hands and keeping surfaces clean and dry certainly help in preventing the passage of infection, there is more homeowners can do to promote a clean and healthy environment.
Not all bacteria land on the kitchen or bathroom counter, which we easily wipe with a sanitizing disinfectant. Floors, walls, and ceilings are also attractive spots for microbes to settle. Enter antimicrobial tile, which provides continuous antimicrobial activity around the clock, thereby inhibiting the spread of germs and bacteria. Antimicrobial tiles lessen the growth and development of bacteria on their surface, which, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), is a requirement for a product to be classified as antimicrobial. “Antimicrobial tiles disinfect, sanitize, reduce, or mitigate growth or development of microbes while protecting surfaces from contamination, fouling, or deterioration caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi, protozoa, algae, or slime.” *
Antimicrobial tiles and tile coatings must contain 1) an active ingredient, 2) an ingredient that serves as a carrier for the active ingredient, and 3) a way for the active ingredient to be released from its carrier. According to the Tile Council of North America, Inc., the active ingredients that are most commonly used include quaternary ammonium salts; metal ions including silver, zinc, or titanium; and triclosan or other agents that prevent the reproduction of bacteria and fungi. The tile manufacturing process often includes a step whereby the first two ingredients are applied as a glaze through a firing process. Antibacterial coatings can also be applied separately.
Use of antimicrobial tiles in public places such as hospitals, restaurants, and malls is expected and is the norm. But high standards of cleanliness and preventing infection are just as important in the home. Consumers can purchase highly effective antimicrobial ceramic and porcelain wall and floor tiles in a variety of sizes and colors that beautify any space. In addition, ceiling tiles are available that use antimicrobial technology and qualities that resist the growth of mold and mildew.
In areas where hygiene is especially important – kitchens, bathrooms – antibacterial floor and wall coverings are an excellent option. These products serve to reduce and prevent bacteria and pollutants, and their ingredients are not harmful to the health of those who live in the home. Antimicrobial tiles are durable and easily cleaned and maintained. The ultimate goal of the protection afforded by these products is to minimize the number of bacteria that colonize on a surface and are potentially spread through contact by humans or pets in the home. Home builders and designers are well familiar with the products available and can make appropriate recommendations that meet your own taste and design requirements.
Sovereign Construction Services is a full-service home renovating and remodeling company. Owner Steve Rush understands how to maximize the use of antimicrobial products in the home. He can answer all your questions about available products and how they can both mitigate the formation of microbes and bacteria where it matters as well as enhance the look of your living space. Call Steve today at 610-639-2986!