The incidence of infection in U.S. hospitals is increasing, with treatment-resistant bacteria and fungi on the rise. These organisms are found on hospital equipment, linens, clothing, furniture and patients themselves. As concern over the spread of these organisms grows, the medical industry is working feverishly to contain them. Hospitals also grapple with ways to contain the spread of common infectious organisms, such as those that cause pneumonia, dysentery and urinary tract infections.

One good way to fight bugs and fungi is to scrupulously wash hands – and everything else, including the bed, the drapes, the floor and the door.

To keep a door as clean as it needs to be in an environment such as an ICU where sterile conditions are required is a challenge. Door finishes must be impermeable, and must hold up against daily continuous contact with alcohol-based hand sanitizers. Doors must also be seamless; there should be no cracks or gaps that provide hiding places for bacteria. Doors must be strong enough to withstand rigorous daily washing and cleaning with harsh chemicals.

Exterior fiberglass doors are one of the best choices for a sterile environment. Fiberglass doors used for this purpose may also need to be FDA compliant and meet NIH standards. They may also have to be available with a 90-minute fire label, or be storm resistant.

Corrosion-resistant fiberglass doors and frames should be made of high-quality materials; they should also be customizable for the unique requirements for the door system’s application.

The best quality doors for sterile environments should offer these qualities:

  • Be rust-free
  • Doors molded in color will never need painting (even in a coast environment)
  • Durable construction, and longevity (should have an outstanding warranty).
  • Custom option for colors, sizes and design
  • Acceptable for use in USDA-related facilities
  • Repairable

Installation of Fiberglass Door Systems

Door systems will vary, depending on the need. For instance an ICU might need a glazed, hermetically sealed sliding door to maintain a controlled environment that helps to prevent cross contamination. Gasketing might be applied to the door to ensure a strong seal in a negative- or positive-pressure room. Hands-free access can be achieved through automation, lowering the risk of spreading bacteria.


Doors in a sterile environment will be repeatedly washing and cleansed with strong soaps, water and disinfectant. Hollow metal doors in this environment will have a limited life span, needing to be replaced or repaired and repainted frequently. Fiberglass is simply the best choice when a door is going to be exposed to water, corrosive materials or frequent heavy washdowns.