While I was downstairs in the crawlspace vacuuming...
...and scrubbing the polished concrete,...
...Adrian was upstairs finishing the floor. The tiles have the first coat of sealer. The light bulbs help it to dry and cure.
To help decide on the type of flooring I did a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of a number of different materials looking at their durability, life expectancy and ease of maintenance.
The winner was......cork!
I made these signs to ensure people didn't track in pebbles and grit with their shoes and scratch up the beautiful new floor.
Four thin layers of water based varnish have been spread over the tiles with the final layer drying slowly in a closed up room. Now the floor needs to cure for 4 days and I can't put any rugs down for 10 days.
Duro Design, a Quebec company, imports sustainably sourced tiles from Portugal, adds the colour and coats the back with a marine grade, neoprene contact cement. They make the tiles only once they are ordered to minimise waste and having to store a large inventory of the 6 different designs and 52+ different colours. Their flooring gives a building a lot of LEED credits because it is recyclable, made from renewable materials and the adhesives and sealers are low-emitting.
Cork trees can be harvested every 7 to 12 years and a considered a rapidly renewable resource. The fast growing species doesn't require chemical fertilisers or pesticide treatments. The cork tiles are guaranteed to last 25 years and can be recycled to make new tiles. Cork tiles have so many positive attributes. They are antimicrobial preventing the cultivation of mold and they resist dust mites and insects so require only a damp mop and water to clean (no chemical cleaners). Cork absorbs sound, bounces back when things are dropped on it, and dropped things are less likely to break. It is fire resistant, anti-static and unaffected by humidity. It is soft underfoot making it easy on the feet and back when standing for a long time. Composed of 50% air in closed cells it has excellent insulation properties and always feels warm underfoot. Any damaged tiles can be lifted and replaced without having to replace the whole floor.
You can see why I am sold on cork flooring.