The Increasing Demand of Antimicrobial Protection | LATICRETE Conversations
Written by Arthur Mintie, Vice President, Customer Experience at LATICRETE
This year, we’ve seen all aspects of the tile and stone industries affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The CDC and OSHA continue to implement new guidelines to keep construction jobsites safe and the project regulations are constantly changing on a job-to-job and state-by-state basis. Laticrete recognized a major trend that has created a spark of demand in the tile and stone marketplace: the use of antimicrobials.
Known for being extremely effective against bacteria by up to 99% and proven to be successful at fighting a broad spectrum of bacteria, it’s not surprising why antimicrobial protection is widely used in hospital flooring. In fact, LATICRETE predicts an increased demand for antimicrobial materials in hospitals and has noticed growth within the food and beverage industry. As our world keeps evolving and learning to adjust to differing industry trends and requirements, it’s important to understand how the use of antimicrobials is re-shaping the marketplace.
What is Antimicrobial Technology?
Antimicrobial technology is characterized as a substance that has the capability to destroy or minimize the development of microbes such as bacteria, fungi, mold and mildew. The use of antimicrobial additive technology ensures that products stay cleaner, fresher and hygienic for an extended period of time. Typically, antimicrobial additives are mixed in at the manufacturing stages and remain active for the entire shelf life of the product.
There are four main active ingredients that make up antimicrobial technology:
- Silver ion antimicrobials: Silver ion antimicrobials are used for a variety of materials and applications such as coatings, paints, plastics and food-contact products.
- Zinc antimicrobials: Zinc antimicrobials are a popular antibacterial and antifungal agent.
- Copper antimicrobials: Copper antimicrobials are a well-known preservative for hygienic applications such as medical use.
- Quaternary Ammonium Compounds (QUATs): QUATs is an organic active ingredient that can be used in disinfectants, surfactants or fabric softeners.
The way users utilize each substance depends on the type of product, what kind of conditions it will be sold in and the intended result the manufacturer or installer is looking to accomplish.
The benefits of using antimicrobial agents in products are infinite as they work in favor of both manufacturers and consumers. Antimicrobial additives distinguish manufacturers from their competition because antimicrobial products improve the performance of a surface by infusing it with long-lasting antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties. As such, this gives manufacturers a competitive advantage because their products are cleaner and more hygienic.
For consumers, antimicrobial additives help prevent the spread of harmful microbes that could cause a shorter lifespan for products. Since antimicrobial additive technology does not depreciate, it continually minimizes harmful microbes that come in contact with the surface of the product. Antimicrobial additives also inhibit the growth of stain- and odor-causing microbes, keeping products cleaner and fresher for extended periods of time.
Capitalizing on Antimicrobial TechnologyNow more than ever, consumers and manufacturers are utilizing antimicrobial additive technology in products due to its effectiveness against bacteria. However, it’s important to consult a trusted tile and stone installation materials manufacturer for assistance on which antimicrobial products work for your specific needs.
Remaining at the forefront of our industry’s commitment to sustainability and transparency to customers, LATICRETE was one of the first grout brands to integrate Microban® antimicrobial technology in 2004. Since then, LATICRETE has incorporated the antimicrobial additive into most of its tile and stone installation products (just look for the Microban logo on the packaging) as part of a comprehensive system, including tile adhesives, grouts, sealants, waterproofing membranes and underlayment materials.