Smooth floor covering

1 Natural flooring

 

Linoleum

 

Pro

Recyclable

Pro

Renewable resource

Pro

Non toxic

Pro

Durable

Pro

Biodegradable - material doesn't persist in landfill

Con

CH4 emissions from fertiliser used in linseed production

Con

Eutrophication from fertiliser used in linseed production

Cork

Pro

Can include recycled cork

Pro

Recyclable

Pro

Low embodied energy at factory gates

Pro

Renewable resource

Pro

Biodegradable - material doesn't persist in landfill

Pro

Non toxic

Pro

Durable

Pro

Thermal mass (minor) and insulation properties

Con

Imported to the UK primarily from Portugal - increasing embodied energy

Con

Some flooring includes formaldehyde

Con

Sealants, if used, can produce harmful VOCs

FSC sourced Timber

Pro

Recyclable and reusable

Pro

Low embodied energy if sourced in the UK

Pro

Renewable resource

Pro

Non-toxic

Pro

Durable

Pro

Sealants, if used, can produce harmful VOCs

Rubber

Pro

Down-cyclable and reusable

Pro

Renewable resource

Pro

Non-toxic

Pro

Very durable

Pro

Sound absorption properties

Con

Some rubber floors can include PVC, plasticisers or halogens – Check contents!

Con

Continuous minor off-gassing needs ventilation

Con

Incineration generates toxic fumes

Ceramic tiles

Pro

Can include recycled materials

Pro

Recyclable

Pro

Abundant natural resource

Pro

Non-toxic

Pro

Easy maintenance

Pro

Extremely durable

Pro

Usable in wet areas

Con

High embodied energy

Con

Imported tiles add to embodied energy

Stone tiles

Pro

Recyclable and reusable

Pro

Abundant natural resource

Pro

Non-toxic

Pro

Easy maintenance

Pro

Extremely durable

Con

Imported stone adds to embodied energy

Con

Stone quarrying can degrade the landscape

Con

Sealants, if used, can produce harmful VOCs

2 Synthetic flooring

 

Recycled rubber

Pro

Contains recycled rubber (mostly tyres)

Pro

Down-cyclable

Pro

Reusable

Pro

Durable

Pro

Sound absorption properties

Pro

Can be laid without adhesive

Con

Continuous minor off gassing needs ventilation

Con

Some rubber floors can include PVC, plasticizers or halogens – Check contents!

Con

Incineration generates toxic fumes

Polyolefin (eg polyethylene and polypropylene)

Pro

Theoretically recyclable

Pro

Durable

Pro

Odour-free

Pro

Easy maintenance

Pro

Low emissions in the manufacturing process

Con

Made from non-renewable petroleum resources

Con

Petrochemical content - non-renewable resource, emissions associated with extraction & refining

Con

Non-biodegradable - can be persistant in landfill

PVC

Pro

Theoretically recyclable

Pro

Durable

Pro

Odour-free

Pro

Easy maintenance

Con

Substantial concerns over the safety of PVC manufacture, use and disposal

Con

Questions remain over the safe use of plasticisers

Con

Petrochemical content - non-renewable resource, emissions associated with extraction & refining

Further information:


• Sustainable Floors website at www.sustainablefloors.co.uk

 

Floor tile products on GreenSpec

Floor covering products on GreenSpec
 

 



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