An important element in any healthcare facility fitout, wall guards are designed to protect the building’s interior surfaces against damage from mobile equipment and traffic. However, choosing between hard vinyl and soft vinyl wall guards can be difficult when fitting out healthcare interiors as a number of factors need to be taken into account before selecting the most appropriate one for the application.

Acculine Architectural Systems compares the performance of hard vinyl and soft vinyl wall guards in four key areas: cost, aesthetics, maintenance and environmental factors.


Between the two choices, rigid vinyl stands out for many reasons. Though cost-effective, hard vinyl is slightly more expensive than soft vinyl wall guards in terms of the overall upfront investment. However, what gives hard vinyl the edge is the extended lifecycle of the product. The high durability of hard vinyl makes it a low maintenance option, and cost-efficient too because less labour is needed to keep the corridors and walkways looking great all year round.


Being very durable and robust, hard vinyl offers superior aesthetic finishes and appeal, and is far less likely to sustain damage in the form of dents, scratches and tears – common in soft vinyl options. Hard vinyl wall guards look new for longer unlike soft vinyl, which can tear and have an unkempt look. Tears in soft vinyl can harbour and breed infections, creating safety and hygiene issues in healthcare environments.


Healthcare facilities are high maintenance environments with their interiors coming in for a lot of abuse. This doesn’t mean they need to get locked into an endless cycle of maintenance and repair. Hard vinyl is easier to clean and less likely to sustain damage with a superior impact-resistant finish that makes it an extremely low maintenance option. Soft vinyl requires a higher level of effort to maintain its appearance and structural integrity over the long term, and is more prone to dent or tear upon impact.


Hard vinyl’s long-term durability makes it an environmentally responsible option. Additionally, hard vinyl doesn’t contain phthalates or halogenated fire retardants, making it a safe and non-toxic option for human contact. Being fungal and bacterial resistant, rigid vinyl delivers the safety promise. Hard vinyl is also fully recyclable, minimising its environmental impact.