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The Academy of Architecture for Health (AAH) provides knowledge which supports the design of healthy environments by creating education and networking opportunities for members of – and those touched by – the healthcare architectural profession.

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Painted Gypsum Wall Finish

  • 1.  Painted Gypsum Wall Finish

    Posted 12-30-2016 09:37
    Since I started in the Healthcare design sector in 1998, we have been using the "smooth wall" Level 5 finish where we have  painted gyp. bd. in clinics and hospitals. We used to install a lot of wall covering.  But that finish has been reduced.

    Has anyone started using a light "orange peel" Level 4 finish in clinics and hospitals?   I understand that operating rooms and procedure rooms you will want to use a smooth wall finish.


    Gregg D. Ostrow, AIA

  • 2.  RE: Painted Gypsum Wall Finish

    Posted 01-03-2017 11:47

    Most of my work is in Long Term Care Facilities, but I'm always  looking for a cost effective alternative to FRP or similar wall protection, especially for head walls of Patient Rooms.  Most Owners still seem to prefer routine patching and painting over the expensive protection systems.

    I recently spec'd a water based epoxy on a recent project, but haven't had it applied anywhere yet.  I'm hopeful that it will be more durable at a small cost, but it's still basically paint.

    We're using a lot of the Inpro type products in corridors.  The initial cost is high, but the savings in long term maintenance appears to make it worth the cost.

    Other suggestions are always welcome.

    Lee Gustafson AIA
    The Thrasher Group Inc.
    Bridgeport WV

  • 3.  RE: Painted Gypsum Wall Finish

    Posted 01-04-2017 17:24
    We try not do anything below level 5 throughout. It can get expensive and sometimes it gets VE'd to level 4. For headwalls in EDs and pre-op and post-op bays we recommend solid surface; this has proven to work very well. For ORs always either epoxy or thin solid surface.
    Sylvia Botero, AIA, ACHA, EDAC
    RBB Architects Inc

  • 4.  RE: Painted Gypsum Wall Finish

    Posted 02-20-2017 12:58
    I know this is an old post but I'm interested in seeing if any of you are heading in the direction of also designing the room to have a high panel of casework behind the beds and on the entire patient head wall.

    I've seen pictures of it done and it's very attractive and I would assume comply with sanitation standards since casework may be wiped and disinfected without wearing away at the wall. Especially with modular casework, it may be removed to be completely disinfected.

    Any thoughts or experiences?

    Krista Huebsch
    Systems Specialist - Space Planning
    Garden State Office Systems & Equipment
    Edison NJ

  • 5.  RE: Painted Gypsum Wall Finish

    Posted 02-21-2017 20:51

    Regarding "casework behind the beds and on the entire patient head wall" here are several examples: image #5 (operable casework) image #10 (fixed p-lam, not casework) image #8 image #2 image #9 image #5


    Kurt M. Neubek, FAIA




    713 871 8484


    713 658 2112


    713 703 7158


    713 871 8440

    Page Southerland Page, Inc.
    1100 Louisiana Suite One
    Houston, TX 77002



    Austin / Dallas / Denver / Houston / San Francisco / Washington DC /
    International Affiliate Offices


  • 6.  RE: Painted Gypsum Wall Finish

    Posted 01-03-2017 12:09

    Hi, Greg;

    Yes, I allow for a level 4 in non-critical areas and areas where I don't have wall-washers or other special lighting. We, too have gotten away from any wall coverings unless specifically required or adamantly requested by the user group (I can think of one of maybe the last 25 projects). I keep level 5 finish for any accent walls with special lighting/ signage, infection control high-risk areas, etc. I haven't had any issues. The only thing I've had pop up in the past year is one plumbing inspector insisted on epoxy paint (not the low VOC kind, and not just mold and mildew resistant) around every plumbing fixture. He specifically required epoxy. We didn't find that specific interpretation in the code, but wanted to open our clinic, so we painted a few rooms over the weekend, ventilated best we could, and moved on. Haven't had him since.



    Tiffany Coppock AIA
    Coppell TX

  • 7.  RE: Painted Gypsum Wall Finish

    Posted 01-03-2017 12:50

    Following up on Tiffany's comments which I agree with GA214 is a good document to follow and gives some discussion on the use of Level 4 vs. Level 5.  It is non-specific to healthcare, but a good industry reference to use as a basis.

    Americangypsum remove preview
    View this on Americangypsum >

    Richard Onken AIA
    Leo A. Daly
    Omaha NE

  • 8.  RE: Painted Gypsum Wall Finish

    Posted 01-03-2017 13:09

    UF Health has used dry wall and painting only for several decades now.  Too many complications with "wall paper".  However, I am not sure we can get a "level 5" finish anymore, just don't have the craftsman.  We are using "level 4" and "eggshell" or "Satin" paint finish.  No Sheen does a pretty good job at hiding wall irregularities.



    Bradley S. Pollitt, AIA

    Vice President, Facilities

    UF Health Shands Hospital

    1600 SW Archer Road

    P.O. Box 100366

    Gainesville, FL  32610

    Office – 352.265.0088

    Fax – 352.265.0499



  • 9.  RE: Painted Gypsum Wall Finish

    Posted 01-04-2017 02:55

    Hello Greg,

    1. in general patient areas like clinics and diagnostic areas has to be of smooth and seamless finish to avoid cross contamination, painted with anti bacterial finish.

    2. in operating rooms, the latest trends is to painted S/S panels (or what is called modular system). for easy clean and disinfection. currently I am working on a project where the client requested to have modular system with glass panels. which in my opinion is not justified and very difficult to handle and maintain.



    Saeed Abu Lawi Intl. Assoc. AIA
    Medical Planner & Coordinator

  • 10.  RE: Painted Gypsum Wall Finish

    Posted 01-04-2017 17:29

    Level of finish and wall texture are two different issues. You do not necessarily have to add a light texture to a Level 4 finish. When subjected to critical lighting a Level 5 finish is recommended. Otherwise a Level 4 finish can be used, with or without a light texture. The differences in cost between Level 4 and 5 is significant.

    Donald Henke AIA
    Design Manager
    Turner Construction Company
    Dallas TX

  • 11.  RE: Painted Gypsum Wall Finish

    Posted 01-04-2017 17:37

    Yes, we have started using Level 4 Finishes in the most clinics & hospitals except for critical areas. (IE OR's & Procedure Rooms.)

    Because most of our work is in the Rural Critical Access Hospital area we have even found that it is hard to get the trades to do a Level 5 Finish and the rural hospitals do not want to pay for the added cost of Level 5 finishes unless necessary.

    So we have been trending to use the Level 4 finish.

    Hope this helps.

    Michael Kemp Assoc. AIA
    Director of Operations
    Professional Associates, Ltd.
    Omaha NE

  • 12.  RE: Painted Gypsum Wall Finish

    Posted 01-04-2017 20:05

    After reading the responses, I need to rephrase my question:

    Is anyone using a light orange peel texture in their hospitals and clinics in spaces other than OR's, ICU's, Emergency Rooms, etc?

    It should be less expensive than a smooth wall and be easier to repair.

    Is there an infection control risk with a light textured wall?  Is it really more difficult to clean?


    Gregg Ostrow AIA
    Gregg D. Ostrow, AIA
    Boise ID