The indoor air quality is relatively more polluted than the outdoor air. The invisible allergens hovering inside a room can worsen the air quality if products & materials are not selected with care. In such a scenario, consumers are compelled to look out for flooring options that are eco-friendly & healthy. With this article, SURFACES REPORTER tried to decode the term and explore options in Eco-friendly flooring.
Eco-friendly flooring is a kind of flooring that has low VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) and leaves a small carbon footprint. They are made of natural and renewal materials that have been produced sustainably with least hazards to the environment. Such flooring uses less chemical treatment in the finishing and installation process, and thus controls the release of harmful toxins in the air. Significantly, eco-friendly flooring enhances the air quality by reducing dust levels.
The word “eco-friendly” does not sound so cool to not so well-informed consumers. It evokes certain images in their mind’s eye – dull and dreary! They always grapple with second thoughts and tend to focus more on aesthetics, easy maintenance, colour and durability but not on environment-friendly aspects. However, the change in mindset is rising as people see the pros and cons of their choice on the environment with extra caution. They want to ensure the air that they breathe in is fresh and clean. Therefore, selecting the right eco-friendly flooring may not only help improve the health of the families by keeping harsh chemicals out of our home but also helps make sure that we are not depleting natural resources. Thankfully, experts who are in the building industry are now doing their bids to combat poor air quality by emphasising the importance of environmentally-friendly flooring.
Presenting some sustainable and eco-friendly flooring options:
“Bamboo flooring are for those who want the beauty of a hardwood floor without contributing to environmental damage. Because bamboo grows quickly, it replaces itself very quickly, unlike hardwoods that may require as many as 150 years. In addition, bamboo is extremely durable,” says Suresh Kumar Mansukhani, Country Manager - Indian Sub Continent, Junckers. No doubt, Bamboo is one of the fascinating materials in terms of its flexibility and unique appearance. They are cost effective, hygienic, easy to maintain and install.
Linoleum is made of various natural materials, such as linseed oil, limestone powder and wood and cork flours. It is biodegradable and anti-bacterial that qualifies easily as one of the more eco-friendly flooring options. Other highlights of linoleum are – durable, water resistant and easy to maintain.
A word of caution: Linoleum and Viny have a close resemblance, in fact, vinyl is considered to be the new version of linoleum. But they are different products in terms of materials and functionality.
Cork flooring has a unique look which makes it the most desirable option for flooring. They are extremely durable, noise absorber, and light in weight. They are also fire and water retardant and act as a natural insect repellent. It also has anti-microbial properties which help reduces allergen issues inside the living space. “Cork has low thermal conductivity, so it is warm in winters and has optimum temperature in summers. Walking on cork floor provides for body wellness and posture. Besides, cork oak forest acts as a natural barrier against desertification, contributes to soil and organic matter fixation reducing erosion and increasing water retention,” says Chandra D Panchani, Head-Business Development (India), Amorin Group.
Mansukhani adds, “Cork is a very eco-friendly flooring option and offers consumers several colours and textures and can be purchased as either planks or tiles. Cork is stripped from the lower part of plants and therefore does not completely remove them from their natural environment.”
Cork Flooring | Photo: Amorin Group (Left), Ecostone™ Flooring | Photo: Bharat Flooring (Right)
Stone & tiles
Stone is another natural material that does not need any other materials to create. It is an unadulterated material straight from the mother earth which does not require any chemicals, glazes or solvents to manufacture. Stone flooring is the perfect bet for the damp areas of the home. If installed in the places where the sunlight is received in abundance, stone can be more energy efficient. It is recyclable and can be reused for many purposes.
Incepted in 1922, Bharat Flooring has pioneered the cement tiles industry in India as part of India’s Swadeshi movement. The company is one of the leading manufacturers and suppliers of heritage tiles, designer tiles, mosaic tiles, terrazo flooring. Firdaus Variava, Vice Chairman of Bharat Flooring, shares his views on eco-friendly flooring.
According to him, BFT is the first company in India to introduce “green tiles”. These exclusive tiles come with high- recycled content and are locally produced. “Our Ecostone™ product range conforms to LEED rating. Wasabi Restaurant at Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai was one of the first users of BFT’s green tiles made with recycled glass. Latest was Asian Paints for their stand at India Design. The Ecostone tiles with recycled glass have also been used in Spire Edge office complex in Delhi,” he informed.
OrientBell has a special collection of Tiles calle “Germ Free Tiles”. This technology in tile kills more than 99.5% disease causing bacteria. What is amazing is that these tiles are safer than ceramic cookware which doubly protects your family health.
Their another product called “Life Tiles” is said to be amazing technology. In the presence of solar light or artificial UV light, it removes smog & poisonous NoX and CO2 gases improving air quality. Just 1,000 sqft of Life Tiles work like 150 trees. This technology is also said to have the ability to kills >99.2% bacteria.
Wooden Flooring | Photo: Kronopol@Giani’s En Vogue
Reclaimed wood are mostly obtained from the timbers of old buildings, abandoned houses, decks, barns. Interestingly, it can have a distinctive personality if the wood is reclaimed from historic structures. They are strong and non-toxic that improves the air quality of the home. Mansukhani says, “The advantage which makes the choice of eco-friendly flooring popular is the fact that wood can be reused for different purposes, such as energy production or making furniture. It is obvious that because reclaimed wood has been harvested years before, it is more stable and durable than a new one, which comes from a far younger tree.”
According to Gobind Bagai, Director at Giani’s En Vogue, “With the trend change of buying builder’s apartments and villas, wooden flooring is highly in demand. Lots of things are taken care of while deciding upon the furnished place the architects made for the builders, and for that, the usage of eco-friendly products is rising. Durability and quality of flooring are very important, as this is something, which homeowners do not change frequently.
There are lots of domestic and international players in the wooden flooring industry in India and we at Giani’s En Vogue are the importer of Kronopol Flooring, which is known worldwide for its eco-friendly sustainable features. Its floor panels are manufactured with high-quality raw materials which do not contain any hazardous substances. The wood comes from selective cuts in the forests that comply with the pro-ecological FSC guidelines. All wooden flooring produced by Kronopol is made of super strong and resistant core materials. Because of these core materials, their flooring is scratch and dent resistant.”
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