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Category Archives: green floors

Cork floor in general is a porous product and so will absorb the spills if not wiped off right away. Wicanders 1000 and 2000 series, which is primarily used in commercial high traffic areas, comes with High Performance Surface. You probably have a series 100 WRT product in your home. Use only the mild cleaners recommended by the manufacturer, for example, Xtreme Natural Cleaner or Wicanders Soft Cleaner. You can find these at a floor outlet. Use a sponge or soft scrubbing pad if you have to, else you will damage your floors parmanantly.

Elegant custom floor using two colors by Wicanders cork.

Even if cork floors have a tendency to stain and dent, I like Wicanders products. They are extremely comfortable since they are warmer to touch, absorb sound and due to their porous nature provide the cushioning effect. This is really a “green” product since it is made of a rapidly renewable raw material. Wicanders is actually a domestically manufactured product, since it is cut, stained, beveled, packeged locally in the US minimizing the adverse effects of transportation.

Wicanders claims their floating floor Cork Planks absorb CO2 reversing the effect of emission. These products come in variety of colors and provide a possibility to customize your own floors. Check this out for their product range:

http://worldwide.wicanders.com/main.php

We discussed about some design tips for Marmoleum floor patterns in an earlier post. People do find it intimidating when it comes to so many colors and design possibilities.

Marmoleum Click for residential applications

Marmoleum Click for residential applications

Some homeowners like to go with checker board pattern just because it is an easy solution. But to my mind, your pattern does not have to be so typical and so obvious. Now that you decided to go with Marmoleum Click for your new floors, make sure you get the most for your money. You really have so many options to add that visual impact to your room. Spend some time to figure out your unique design now. You will cherish your new floors for years to come.

Sahara, Van Gogh, and Barbados from Marmoleum Click series

Sahara, Van Gogh, and Barbados from Marmoleum Click series

See if you would like to go with a little bit of abstract design. Add a bright accent color in to couple of coordinating colors, and play with them! Depending on how big your space is, you may have a module of 4 or 9 or 16 tiles and repeat it.

Using a border around the perimeter or say, kitchen island, also is a simple way to add character.

Various borders are available from Forbo

Various borders are available from Forbo

If you are designing kids’ rooms, involve them in picking colors. A simple pattern like this is enough to create visual interest.

accent color to add that character

accent color to add that character

A rug like look may work good in any bedroom.

I don't need an area rug for 10 months of the year, really!

I don't need an area rug for 10 months of the year, really!

Make sure you try to stagger the joints if you are using panels. With the revised Click II system, the length of a panel now equals to 3 square tiles. It may be hard to calculate the quantities for each color if your pattern is too complicated. Why not hire the professional instead! At LFD we are experts at space design, material estimation, and installation. Whether it is just new floors or you need a holistic design upgrade, talk to us and we would be happy to assist you.

Yes, rubber is another sustainable product that is big in resilient flooring industry. We will talk about recycled rubber products at a later time. Let us look at “Au Natural” today.

Au Natural from Allstate is a 100% natural (not a synthetic) product. This rubber comes directly from their rubber tree plantation and not from petroleum. One thing I like about rubber flooring is that it is really warm and soft to touch. It is a great product for public areas like gyms, club locker rooms, high traffic lobbies and hallways.

Au Natural rubber flooring

You can have custom designs for your rubber floors!

Allstate products come in a variety of solid, marble and confetti style colors. You can even get a flooring product made in your own custom color! Depending on the usage you can choose one of their 26 texture patterns.

Allstate provides cove bases and corners in 50 coordinating colors. Custom stair nosing and stair treads are available too.

These products are installed using the specified adhesives and do not have to be sealed after installation.

Check this site out for their color choices:

http://www.muchocolors.com/index.html

 

 

Their “Allsport” product comes in easy to install 25″x25″ interlocking tiles. These are lightly textured to provide friction underfoot. The cushioning that comes natural to rubber products works well for sports facilities.

“Allkit” is another product which is ideal for indoor and outdoor exhibitions. These are thicker interlocking tiles with self-draining base, perfect for corporate events and roadshows.

If you are looking for a Green flooring product for non-residential use, give Au Natural a thought.

Ionique is a glue down resilient flooring product from Zaxxon. This is really a one of a kind flooring material which actually helps clean the indoor air! The vinyl composition used in this material keeps releasing negative ions in the air thereby reducing the pollutants and V.O.C.*s present in the room.

Various scientific studies have shown medical benefits of negative ions on humans, animals and their behavior. Naturally there are tens of thousands of negative ions present in an open air location, say in a park, with lot of foliage and good air flow. This product, “Ionique”, is said to release up to 140 negative ions per cc per 20 seconds and helps to improve the indoor environmental quality.

Please see this page for more information:

http://www.zaxxonflooring.com/ionique/moreon/index.php

Zaxxon

Green pledge by Zaxxon

This is a 100% recyclable product and so falls in a “Green” category. Ionique is available in 2 styles, stone and wood. The stone tiles are 18″x18″ and come in many varieties of natural stone look. The wood planks are 4″x36″ in size and come in different wood grains too. This product can be installed on concrete or wood sub floor. This works well with radiant heating sub floors as well. Give some time for the adhesive to set in after installation. It is not recommended to walk on it for about 6 hours, and give it about 12 hours after installation before you move the furniture.

Flooring to improve indoor environmental quality!

The manufacturer Zaxxon provides 10 years limited warranty when installed and used as per company recommendations.

The product costs about $6-$7 per sq. ft. and is available at major floor stores. Check the lead time with the dealer before you plan the installation. Refer to this page for installation help:

http://www.zaxxonflooring.com/ionique/installation/index.php

Like they say, this is truly an “actively environmental” flooring product! At LFD, we use many such products for residential and commercial applications.

*V.O.C. – Volatile Organic Compounds

P.S. The benefits of negative ions has been a subject of debate for last so many decades. This has been a controversial topic around the world.

Yes! This is another sustainable flooring option that I would recommend. If a client insists on having a carpet, in say a bedroom, I suggest to go with Flor carpet tiles. These are easy to work with as compared to traditional carpet, and provide design flexibility with lots of colors and pattern choices. These tiles are made out of renewable and recyclable material, so manufacturing of this product has lesser impact on the environment.  One can do a custom design rug or have a wall to wall carpet for a cozy feeling.

A 26 tile rug kit

The tiles are easily installed, attached to each other using the non-toxic adhesive “dots” and is very much a Do-it-Yourselfers’ product. At the perimeter of the room, the edges can be trimmed using a rug knife. A notch can be made with little skill to fit the carpet tile around a door frame. The best part I like about this is there is very little wastage.  You can order just enough tiles as per your square foot requirement, even use the Design Tool from Flor website so you can not go wrong! Also, if your kid happens to stain the floor, you can just remove the damaged tile, send it to the cleaner or replace just that one tile with the new one.

Flor has been a pioneer in providing a Recycle your old Carpet program, where you can call their customer service and they will suggest ways to reuse or send the carpet tiles back to them, which is recycled to manufacture new tiles.

Martha Stewart has endorsed this product and introduced new designs for Fall.

Designing your own personalized floors is the most exciting part of replacing your floors with a product like Marmoleum Click.

While designing your new floors, take into consideration the utility factor of the room – if it is a kids’ room or a adult’s bedroom, overall size of the room. If it is a huge space you may want to break it visually in 2 areas, for example Living and Dining, or Living and Family or Media room. You can achieve this either by changing the colors or the pattern design. Think about the natural light source in the room, the direction of the traffic – circulation paths. Consider the style of existing furniture in the room. What kind of ambiance you want to achieve. You don’t want to end up with hodgepodge mix of too many styles. Also, it is a good idea to stick to 3 or 4 colors in the room at the most. The overall effect should be soothing to the eyes, and not a jumble of conflicting hues.

Remember, as a rule of thumb it is best to stagger the joints while using panels. Make sure your design pattern allows this staggering. With some designs it may not be possible to achieve this, though. For example, while using all 1’x1′ squares, you obviously have continuous joints. This is something an expert will help you with.

Think of what kind of sub floor you have, check if it is fairly leveled, and go for the floors of your dreams!

P.S.  Non-residential applications is a different ball game.

Forbo, the manufacturers of Marmoleum Click floating floor system claims that their new design for the joints is almost waterproof. The tongue and groove joints are pretty tight and when installed correctly form a snug fitting. As mentioned in the earlier post, they mention if the spills are wiped dry right away, one should not worry about water penetrating through.

However, you raised a very good point. The sheet linoleum just like vinyl, being a monolithic surface acts as a very good water barrier. Even though it is stated that Marmoleum Click can be installed anywhere in the house, one has to be careful while laying this floating floor system next to bathtub or next to sinks where kids may spill some water and there may be a possibility of it going unnoticed for several hours. If your situation allows you to use a “J” mold flashing next to the bath tub or such, that would help keep water from flowing down on the floor.

I came across one instance where we had installed Marmoleum Click in the kitchen for one client here in Bay area. They happened to have a leak in the sink pipe underneath and did not notice it right away. The water leaked through the cabinets, under the floating floor for what seemed like couple of days. The cork base on Marmoleum Click readily absorbed water and eventually the floor swelled with moisture. They actually had to take the floor apart, dry the panels all the way, and re-install after few days.

With such fancy floor materials one has to be vigilant especially in areas like kitchen and bathrooms.

Some linoleum colors may be more prone to fading due to  exposure to direct sunlight than others. Over a period of time you may see subtle, slightly darker patches say underneath a chest. If you move such furniture though, the newly exposed area will fade in a short time, so you will not be able to tell the difference.

There is another phenomenon called “Ambering” that occurs during the manufacturing process of linoleum, though. While the linoleum is curing in the drying room, a yellowish film may appear on the surface of the linoleum due to the linseed oil oxidation process. So you may see some “yellowing” on your newly delivered product. But this film will disappear after the linoleum is exposed to either natural or artificial light. You don’t have to worry about dissipation of this yellow film prior to installation or prior to applying floor finish after your installation.

When we did Marmoleum Click floors at home, we did not really see any yellowing on our new product, even though we had dark and light colors. And as far as fading due to sunlight exposure is concerned, I am not too worried about it, because with a few hours of exposure, the darker patches will go away anyway!

Now that we are on the topic of Linoleum and Cork, let me suggest this video with step-by-step instructions:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b9cMfmJOOAE&feature=related

Here you can see, what difference the floors make in your room decor. You do not need a Interior Designer to identify what floor works for your space. A few visits to the floor stores, and some internet browsing, and (a little bit of math, of course) you should be able to visualize your dream floor!

Linoleum and Cork are both well known for their sound absorbing qualities. If you use linoleum sheets they will provide better sound reduction as compared to floating panel system. Same goes with Cork glue less plank system. Both linoleum and cork are naturally heat resistant, and hypoallergenic materials. Both of these resilient flooring products are warm to touch underfoot. Because of the strong heat barrier qualities of cork, though, it is not recommended over “in-floor radiant heating” system. Marmoleum Click, on the other hand, has been engineered to work well over in-floor radiant heating used in extreme climate conditions. Both materials are prone to scratches if not handled well. If moving furniture with sharp edges, it is recommended to have felt pads underneath.

Linoleum sheet, tiles and Cork tiles have been successfully installed in various building types, such as Commercial, Healthcare, Restaurants, retail, and Fitness. Visit this site to see some examples of Cork flooring: http://www.duro-design.com/index.cfm/page/cork.installations/installationId/86/

Just like linoleum, cork is available in many different colors and sizes. One can achieve a personalized space by creating their own floor design unique to their taste.

Linoleum and Cork floors are both easy to install, easy to maintain and durable. The cork needs proper sealant though to be resistant to stains and is more susceptible to dents if a heavy piece of furniture stands on it for a long time. It is also recommended to avoid direct sunlight on your cork floors depending on the color pigments used in the product.

I would suggest, see some examples where they have installed cork and linoleum. Walk on those floors. The touch and feel and look of these materials are distinctly different. You really have to like the texture, pattern that cork comes with. Your floors are your major investments, and you do not want to regret your decision for any reason later on.

Good Luck!