When A Hardwall Clean Room Isn’t Right For You

Jan 29, 2020 10:45:00 AM / by Albert Cappello

Deciding whether a hardwall clean room is right for your company isn’t as hard as one may think. 

A clean room is often required to maintain cleanliness standards. However, which type of structure you purchase, a hardwall or softwall clean room, presents an important question for any company. This is especially true for a new business that is under budget constraints or has future plans for growth. 

However, there are several factors that indicate when a permanent structure may not align with the long-term outlook of a manufacturing or scientific research facility. 

Determining whether a hardwall or softwall clean room is best comes down to examining a variety of factors, including costs, growth and timeframe for installation. 

A hardwall clean room may not be right for you if ...


Costs Are A Concern


Hardwall clean roomA hardwall clean room can cost substantially more than a softwall clean room, also known as a portable or modular clean room

Though the price of a clean room can vary based on several factors, such as size and design, a typical softwall room costs anywhere from $100 to $150 per square foot. That would put the average cost of a 10’ by 10’ space at $10,000 to $15,000.

A hardwall room, on the other hand, offers a much higher price tag. Lab Design News estimates a permanent structure can cost up to $1,500 per square foot. That’s $150,000 for a 10’ by 10’ space.


You Are Experiencing Growth - Or Anticipate Growth


As your business grows or your laboratory takes on additional applications, a softwall clean room can more easily adapt to these changes than a hardwall room. 

A hardwall clean room is permanent. If your company outgrows the space, either in size or application, your only choice is to build a new clean room that accommodates your newest needs. This can be a costly lack of foresight.

Portable clean rooms, however, can change size, configuration or location. They can be moved to an entirely new location within a current facility or to a new facility altogether. Even established companies may experience a change in business needs over time and may need their clean rooms retrofitted as specifications change.

This flexibility allows new companies to experience growth without the significant costs of building a new space during each step forward.


Your Time Frame Is Short


hardwall clean roomA hardwall clean room is a permanent structure and requires more construction considerations than a modular design. Construction projects can take months to complete, especially if there are complex requirements that must be considered in the room’s design. 

If a company does not own the space from which it operates, collaboration with a building manager or landlord may be required as well, adding to production time.

Softwall clean rooms, on the other hand, can be manufactured, delivered and installed quickly, often before a hardwall clean room is even designed. 

Why is this important for your manufacturing or laboratory applications? Fast delivery and easy installation reduces costly downtime and allows you to get your product out the door faster.


Moving Forward


If budget, growth plans and your timeframe for installation are vital to meeting your current and future needs, a hardwall clean room may not be right for you. 

If, on the other hand, a softwall clean room is a better option for your facility, the next step is to secure the right manufacturing partner. 

When evaluating manufacturers that offer portable spaces, look for companies that ensure high product quality, customization opportunities to meet your specific needs and lead times that fit your schedule. It is also important to work with a manufacturer that:

  • Has experience implementing clean room standards for various particle count requirements. Extensive technical knowledge about what cleanliness level a space requires is critical to ensuring the room operates as it should.
  • Offers the highest-quality products. American manufacturers, in particular, are known for meeting higher standards of quality, ensuring a longer lifespan of the product.
  • Will meet your customization needs. One company’s clean room may look completely different than another company’s room in size, layout and contents. Personalization matters in industrial manufacturing operations, whether a company is customizing the material used for cabinets and countertops or the type of fume hood used to remove dangerous substances from the room. 
  • Will provide references or examples of previous work. Other companies that have utilized the services of the company you are considering can provide valuable information about the type of experience and products you can expect to see.

While a mass-produced design may meet the basic needs of a lab, you should work with an experienced manufacturer for any additional customization opportunities your workspace requires so that it can operate at peak efficiency and performance. 

Looking for more information about the benefits of a softwall clean room? Our article, Why Businesses Are Choosing Portable Clean Rooms, explores why more and more companies are choosing softwall clean rooms when they discover hardwall is not right for them.




Topics: Portable Clean Rooms

Albert Cappello

Written by Albert Cappello

Albert Cappello is the CEO of Workstation Industries, Inc. WSI is a manufacturer of Industrial, Technical and Laboratory Furniture based in Southern California.

Subscribe to Email Updates