My latest article is a glossary page defining and detailing information about resilient flooring. These versatile materials are flexible, durable, and applicable in a wide variety of environments. In this post I'll be taking a brief look at some up and coming manufacturers of these products.
Based out of Sweden, Valinge is a resilient flooring manufacturer that is most famous for their ACTi02 technology. This uses titanium oxide in the structure of the material, which when activated by light can break down VOC's and other bacteria, contributing to healthier indoor air quality.
MP Global Products
Generally recognized as a manufacturer of underlayment, MP Global Products also has a line of luxury vinyl tile which emulates both natural stone and hardwood plank looks.
A young company, Happy Feet is developing its business around a philosophy of excellent customer service, and a consistently well stocked inventory. They specialize in commercial resilient flooring, featuring the Iron Man collection, and the 12"x24" floating floor click together solution known as the LVT Stone Line.
If you run a school, a nursery, a daycare center, or any space that frequently has children running about, then your liability insurance for potential injuries is extremely high. The type of flooring that you choose to install in this environment can affect both the price of the insurance, and the number of accidents that can occur over the course of a year, making this a crucial decision when designing your interiors.
Softer flooring such as cork, rubber, and resilient materials installed over padding can prevent injuries that occur when trips and accidents occur. Making sure that you choose materials with good traction is also important. Avoid polished stone or smooth porcelain and ceramic tiles, especially in spaces where spills can occur.
Another factor to consider is the indoor air quality of the facility. Some flooring such as vinyl can give off Volatile Organic Chemicals which can infect the air. Other options such as rubber have an odor that can be irritating to some people. Knowing all of the different flooring factors that can affect children will help you to make an informed decision.
In my latest article I discuss some of the safest senior friendly bathroom flooring options that are available. Unfortunately this is a limited list as the nature of the environment restricts the usage of a lot of different materials. The ideal is to find flooring that is soft enough to be safe, but durable enough to resist water damage and staining agents.
Most accidents in the home occur in the bathroom, because this environment tends to be wet, and slippery with soaps. That is why it is important to use soft flooring in a space that will be occupied by an older person, as a yielding surface will be less likely to do serious damage to brittle bones. You also want a material that has good traction to prevent slips from happening in the first place.
Bathroom flooring safety also requires a material that can be easily and readily cleaned and sanitized. Many options are prone to mold, rot, and the growth of microscopic germs when installed in humid wet bathroom environments. Choosing a floor that has antimicrobial characteristics will inherently cut down on these dangers, and contribute to a cleaner, healthier space.
The obvious answer to this question would be that hardwood flooring is of course ecologically friendly. It is an all natural material, produced by the earth, which can be easily renewed by simply planting another seed. These floors are durable, and long lasting, which means that they do not need to be replaced very often, and when they are, the wood can either be recycled, or disposed of where it will degrade naturally back into the environment.
However there are some caveats to the ecological impact of hardwood. While the materials are natural and renewable, it can take decades for a tree to grow to full maturity. That means that irresponsible logging companies can easily outpace natural regeneration, and wipe out large sections of forest if they do not schedule properly. You also have issues with the use of pesticides, the impact of harvesting procedures on the surrounding area, and the environmental cost of transportation.
The important thing when purchasing hardwood flooring is that you do your research. You want to make sure that the manufacturing company is transparent in its practices, and follows all of the codes and procedures for the production of sustainable materials. You also want to check that the species of wood you are purchasing is not endangered.
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There are a lot of different porch flooring options available. These will be constrained by whether the environment is exposed to the elements, and how much. Covered porches are obviously easier on their flooring, whereas open spaces will have to contend with rain, snow, sleet, and the constant harsh light of UV sun rays, day to day.
In my latest article I look at some of the most common porch flooring options, including things like pressure treated pine, brick pavers, resilient vinyl planks, and other exotic natural options. Some of these require special treatment, after installation or periodically over time. Others can be installed, and then forgotten about as the characteristics of the floor are inherently resistant to casual damage.
What kind of flooring do you have in your porch? Is it covered or not? I'd love to hear your stories in the comments section below.
Catalina Research and Ceramic Tile And Stone Consultants (CTaSC) has released findings about the state of natural, manufactured stone and the news is good. The industry has been recovering since 2011, with increases in new home construction leading the way. The report also shows a rise in renovation projects which are doing a lot to help fuel material sales.
The natural stone products doing the best are counter tops, with sales outpacing flooring and pavers by a wide margin. For tiles, granite and marble are the two biggest players, and there is an increased demand for those materials in particular, with the retail market offering the most potential.
This is the fifth version of the Catalina report, with the first being released in 2003. By understanding the metrics that are in play throughout the natural stone industry, it is possible to gain valuable insights into the flow of this business.
Finding flooring for the hospitality and food service industry requires balancing the functional needs of these space against the decorative concerns of creating a comfortable and attractive environment for customers. Luckily there are a variety of materials that are being manufactured to handle the needs of even the most high traffic kitchen or restaurant.
In general, manufactured products are going to hold up better than natural flooring options. The tradeoff for this is that you lose some of the inherent beauty that can come from using natural earth produced materials. However manufactured options such as vinyl, rubber, and glazed ceramic tile, all have the ability to resist stains, wear, and water damage even in very high traffic locations.
In my latest article I explore some of the challenges that face commercial kitchen floors in particular. This includes flooring for restaurants, delis, catering halls, cafes, coffee houses, and anywhere that large amounts of food, liquid, and staining agents are used on a daily basis, for production purposes. Flooring in these spaces has to be highly functional, and easy to sanitize. However it also has to match the decorative look of the rest of the public space.
The World Floor Covering Association (WFCA) has announced its official objection to new restrictions being proposed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) concerning worker exposure to crystalline silica materials. They claim that these are unnecessary regulations for retail flooring companies to follow because their employees are only rarely exposed to these substances.
The OSHA proposal is based on findings that show health risks associated with miners and quarry workers who breathe in silica materials which are often found in stones, sand, and earth. The WFCA argues that those effects were based on prolonged exposure to breathing in those materials. With flooring retail employees the only time they will be exposed to crystalline silica is when they occasionally have to cut natural stone tile materials.
If these regulations go into effect it can end up costing flooring retailers who handle stone and natural earth materials a lot of money. The proposal will cut the maximum amount of silica intake allowed in half, and will require many companies to start monitoring air quality, employing filtration machines, and necessitate the purchase of expensive new materials.
When the economy takes a hit, those in the material and construction industry often feel the worst pain. This has been particularly true since the 2008 market crash, which resulted in plummeting home values and a catastrophe for numerous industries, including flooring manufacture, distribution, retail, and installation. However, there are signs that 2014 is going to be a good, if not great year.
Right now there are no strong indicators that inflation will rise out of control, and while home sales have been slightly lower, that is only in comparison to a very strong January where they rose by 9%. We also see banks lending again, and the unemployment rate is going down. All of these numbers are hopeful, but none of them are amazing. It's a recovery, but a slow one.
The bottom line is that people do have more money to spend. However they are also more reluctant to part with their money. At the same time you have to factor in the implementation of Obamacare which, which could cut into people's finances when it starts to become effective over the course of the next year. There's hope on the horizon, but it's not time to celebrate yet.