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Beyond Design: 4 More Uses for Vinyl in Hospitality

Terry Murphy - Jun 2016

I travel a lot for my job, so I take hotel design personally. Hotel companies try to create spaces that deliver a positive experience for guests and employees. As a guest, I look for good locations and affordable rates. Rooms need to be comfortable, clean and quiet.

Hotels, restaurants, and other hospitality venues use a lot of vinyl. Hotel design, in particular, is heavy on vinyl, and for good reason. 

The aesthetics of vinyl flooring are great, as vinyl flooring features fresh looks and is easy to maintain. Similarly, I see a lot of vinyl in hotel wallcovering, fabrics, shades, signage, and graphics. That’s the visible vinyl. 

Beyond vinyl in design, the building envelope may use vinyl siding and trim, vinyl windows, vinyl doors, and vinyl membrane roofing. Vinyl is also often used in landscaping, including irrigation products, cellular vinyl structures, fencing, decking, and railing. Most of the outdoor furniture I see in my travels is made of vinyl.

What about the vinyl you don’t see?

There’s vinyl behind the walls.

Here are four vinyl applications that you don’t see but that play a key role in maximizing both your comfort and your safety in hotels and other hospitality venues. 

Vinyl is a great noise dampener.

By strategically placing sound-dampening, mass-loaded vinyl around vending rooms, ice machine rooms, and elevators, hotels can deliver quieter spaces to their guests and ultimately sell space that otherwise might be looked at as undesirable. 

Mass-loaded vinyl is a product based on the long-established principle in sound control and management of “add mass, decouple, and absorb.” When building components are designed and installed with respect to principles of physics, sound transmission can be reduced. If you travel at all, you’ve likely come to appreciate the hotels that include solid noise-dampening behind the walls.

Vinyl wires and cables are fire resistant.

Vinyl wires and cables are fire resistant and excellent electrical insulators. As a result, vinyl wiring is growing in popularity for both residential and commercial use – including hotels and other hospitality venues. It is durable, flexible, and holds up to the demands of electrical current. In addition, there are low-smoke and flame formulations that are approved for use in air plenums without the need for metal conduits. 

Vinyl wire and cable insulation was first used during WWII as engineers discovered that PVC didn’t crack the way that old rubber wiring did. In addition, it tended to hold its color better than rubber, which is useful when you’re trying to trace wires over time. Today, you find vinyl-coated wires all over, including in use in data, fiber optics, and CATV cables.

CPVC sprinkler systems are efficient and cost effective.

CPVC sprinkler systems are rated for light hazard occupancies (e.g., hotels) as defined by NFPA 13. These sprinkler systems are efficient and don’t corrode. They’re also less expensive to install than alternative systems, making CPVC a material of choice in the hotel industry.

PVC pipe is lightweight, durable, and easy to install.

The fourth behind-the-scenes vinyl application is PVC pipe. Some major hotel corporations are actively considering a switch to PVC pipe to deliver clean water and DWV to evacuate water. And there are many reasons for them to change -- PVC pipe is lightweight, economical, durable, non-corrosive, and has a long service life. In addition, PVC has lower thermal conductivity than metallic pipe; this means the “hot” in hot water isn’t lost too quickly along the way. 

Finally, the inside surface of PVC pipe is smooth, meaning there is low resistance to water flow. This saves energy in pumping water and significantly lessens the likelihood that biofilms will grow—ensuring hotel guests with a safe, reliable, water supply.

As a frequent traveler, I am delighted that most hotels are doing a good job with environmental issues such as water conservation and energy-use reduction. I appreciate any material choices that can make my stay comfortable and affordable. As a professional in the vinyl industry, I applaud them for choosing a material that meets all of our goals.