After being able to restore the original tiles in one of the rooms and putting down ceramic tiles in the bathroom and kitchen area, we were left with a very uneven and broken floor in the rest of the flat.
Consequent to levelling the floor with cement and Arlita (an expanding and insulating grainy material made from ceramics which gives you great weight reduction) we went shopping for an eco-friendly flooring solution. The first option that grabbed our fancy was wooden parquet. We looked hard for a local FSC certified one made from pure wood and no plastics in the middle.
Kährs offer a great selection of FSC-certified floors at affordable prices all over Europe, the US and Canada. Another brand we came across and really liked for their high quality and eco-friendliness, although a little pricier, is the Italian company Listone Giordano.
Surely there are more eco wooden floorings out there but the problem we encountered was that the different wood types (mainly oak if we wanted to keep it local) available were difficult to combine with the existing carpentry, such as balcony doors and structural beams. Plus, Petz loves cork (even Martha Stewart has it in her home) and so we decided to look for a high-quality cork flooring with a modern edge to it.
Grown and produced locally in Portugal, cork is one of the ultimate sustainable materials; fast growing, renewable and natural with properties such as thermal insulation (reduces the need for heating and cooling), sound reduction and elasticity that leads to durability and in the very end it’s biodegradable.
Wicanders, specialists in cork flooring, have a fantastic range of beautiful cork finishes that have nothing to do with the hippy-dotted floorboards from the 80ies. Wicanders’ floating floorboards have a click system for easy and quick installation. The great thing is that you don’t need any glue or foam underneath if your existing floor doesn’t contain any humidity. Each board is covered with a high wear resistance varnish called Xtreme WRT (different layers of ceramics, sand, veneer,…) which makes it non-slippery, scratch- and stain- proof without taking away from the natural feel of the cork. Beneath the protective layers is the cork layer which comes in many different colours from dark brown to reddish or white as well as a selection of patterns to choose from. In the middle is a High Density Fibreboard made from cardboard and the bottom layer is again cork to make it extra insulating and sound reducing.
Having lived with the floor for a couple of weeks now we can say that it feels great, is very easy to maintain and the price was right too. At Pavimentos San Eusebio (T:+34 934153917), we paid €42,50/m2 for the model IDENTIY, colour TEA with the installation included. San Eusebio is a family business and apart from doing a neat and quick job of installing, they have a large range of eco-friendly floor solutions to offer. These include the Wicanders floors, Tuka Bambu (interior and exterior), other FSC certified parquet floors and fitted carpet made from algae and other natural fibres. Our carpet in the entrance for example is made from coconut fibres.
For cork flooring suppliers elsewhere in Europe, Canada or the US consult the Wicanders web site.