10 December 2006

Choosing Tiles

At this point we’d like to point out that yes! it is more difficult to do your flat up in green. The main problem is finding the right material with no lesser quality or higher cost and the same availability. Our hunt for the right tiles is a good example.
Over a month ago we were delighted with a sample of light grey, nearly white high-quality tiles made from recycled TV screens, which the company Zicla found for us. The price was also right (€10/m2) and so we ordered 8m2 for the kitchen area and the bathroom floor. When they finally arrived, shock horror! they were skin coloured, not white and not very sexy! Zicla called up the company to find out what happened. They told us that this is now the only colour they do, it’s the ‘natural’ colour and can vary from grey to ‘pink’?! Rather upset that we couldn’t have our recycled TV screens on the floor we started looking for different tiles. As one by one the tile shops turned us down when asking for eco tiles, then sadder we got that the company with the recycled tiles stopped producing the only pretty design they had in their catalogue.
GresCatalan however seemed to have some eco-friendly ones on offer. Being a local product with their factory only 80km from Barcelona definitely reduces the environmental impact related to transporting such a heavy product. So when shopping for heavy materials; shop locally. Grescatalan had a few funkier, 100% natural versions of ceramic tiles with reddish tones that we liked (even though we were hoping for a non-rustic choice…) but unfortunately they didn’t fit our budget, costing €68/m2.
While pondering the tile shops some really nice bright coloured tiles caught our eye by the well-known Spanish brand TAU Ceramics. When we got home we looked into TAU ceramics and were pleasantly surprised when we found a whole page about sustainability on their web site. TAU ceramics are based in Castellón and make tiles from raw materials using a firing process. Their factory coexists side by side the biggest lake and waterpark of the industrial centre in Castellón. TAU are currently developing eco materials, have set up a water purification system as well as managed to minimize the use of water during the production process by reusing the water. They also have a strong waste management, have reduced their emissions into the air and the noise pollution. All this obtained them the ISO 14.001, well explained on their web site.
Ok, they might not be made from the most eco friendly material but they are highly durable. Most importantly for us, the company seems to make a difference by applying tougher eco criteria to their production and is still very competitive in the market, offering a wide range of designs. And the latter is as important as being environmentally friendly because if the economics don’t work, there’s no point having an eco product that doesn’t sell. We went for juice apple green and white tiles in the kitchen and bright red for the bathroom, both from the collection Collage. Here in Barcelona, Dani Casado (Tel: 935751359) amongst others sells the full range of TAU Ceramics.

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