A note about UV-C reflectivity in hospital rooms

Product Info, Updates

As the use of UV-C disinfection in healthcare facilities continues to grow, infection preventionists are eager to learn more about the technology and how to best implement it in their facilities. It is important not only to understand the basics of how UV light behaves in a hospital room, but also to consider what it means in terms of developing disinfection protocols and designing healthcare facilities.

We like to use this simple graphic to demonstrate the difference between Lumacept and traditional paint.

technology-feature

However, it doesn’t tell the full story.  The next time you are in a patient room, look around and notice all of the different materials found throughout the room- on the walls, floor, ceiling, furniture, windows, and equipment.  You’ll see a combination of plastics, laminates, wood, glass, metal, ceramic, etc.

So what happens when the UV light from a disinfection device hits these objects?  In general, it can only do three things. It can be absorbed, transmitted, or reflected.  Usually, it is some combination of the three.

Figure-1.-reflect-transmit-absorb

For practical purposes, here is a quick summary of what we can say about common materials found in healthcare facilities:

Surfaces that mostly absorb UV-C
Glass- windows, mirrors
Wood- including finished or painted wood
Traditional paint
Vinyl- wall coverings, floor tile
Formica
Ceiling tiles
Ceramic floor tiles
Fabrics- most fabrics made from natural or synthetic fibers

Surfaces that mostly reflect UV-C
Metal- bare metal only
Lumacept (of course)

More about metal: It can be highly UV-C reflective, or it can be only slightly reflective.  It really depends on the type of metal and surface quality.  Highly polished aluminum is about as reflective as it gets, while dull stainless or galvanized steel is significantly less reflective.

We’ll publish more about this topic in the near future.  In the meantime, feel free to contact us with your questions.

What surfaces can I paint with Lumacept™?

FAQs, Product Info

Generally speaking Lumacept™ is applied over normal walls already painted with standard latex.  Every available paintable surface on the walls and ceiling of a room is a candidate for Lumacept™.  The more surfaces that are coated with Lumacept™ the greater the UV-C intensity in the room.  Don’t paint the floors unless for some reason you don’t expect to walk on them as floor coatings are designed for far more abuse than interior wall latex paint.  It’s not usually practical to paint over a window and it might not be aesthetically pleasing to paint a stained door with a white or pastel color.  Some patient rooms have lots of essential objects on the walls that cover the paintable surfaces too, but just remember the more surfaces you cover with Lumacept™ the better the results.   Remember that you can apply Lumacept™ thin to be cost effective, which means you should first pre-paint the surface with a tint-matched standard latex (and primer for difficult surfaces) so you don’t have to apply Lumacept™ to a thickness needed for visible hide.  Painting over already painted walls or new constructions drywall is pretty straightforward, but if you want to cover surfaces like vinyl wallcoverings take care to make sure you find a primer that has good adhesion first.   Lumacept™ is not intended to be applied directly over hard to paint surfaces like bare brick, cement, metal, plastic etc.  We do not guarantee adhesion.  Primers compatible with interior latexes are strongly recommended when applying over difficult surfaces.

Is Lumacept™ available in colors?

FAQs, Product Info

One of the most common questions we get is “Does it only come in white?”. While Lumacept is made as a white base coating, it can be, and usually is, tinted. Customers typically want us to match a color that they are already using. For example, hospitals often buy paint from the local retail store of a large paint manufacturer and use one of their standard colors. We have the capability to match any of these colors. If you send us the color name and number, we’ll match it and send you a sample for approval.

Just as a tinted paint in your house looks less bright to your eyes than pure white, the addition of color to Lumacept™ also naturally reduces the level of UV-C reflectivity. However, this is normally not a problem since colors used in hospitals tend to be pastels and off-whites. Darker, more saturated colors are usually not recommended. We can work with you to determine how much UV-C reflectivity is present in custom tints.

A word of caution: We use a set of color concentrates that we’ve carefully tested. Lumacept™ MUST NOT be mixed with other paints to achieve a desired color. Even a very small amount of normal paint mixed in with Lumacept™ will destroy UV-C reflectivity.

Does the UV reflectivity of Lumacept™ wear out over time?

FAQs, Product Info

Not normally.  The components of Lumacept responsible for UV reflectivity are inert and do not significantly decay, wear out, get used up, or leach out over time.  Of course, we can’t control what happens in your facility, but during typical use there will be no noticeable change in the reflectivity or appearance of Lumacept over its normal lifetime. Most likely, you’ll repaint the room for other reasons (normal wear and tear, remodeling, etc.) long before any changes are detected in the paint itself.  Further, we’ve tested cleaners such as dilute bleach and quaternary ammonia and have found that they have no noticeable effect on the UV-reflective properties of the coating.

Keep in mind that dust, dirt, and other contaminants typically absorb UV, so keeping the walls clean is important for maximizing UV reflectivity.