Sustainably Beautiful Surfaces
To stand out in this increasingly competitive category, a product must offer a unique look…

In the designer-driven world of surface materials, being green is definitely not enough. A product needs to display some flash or sizzle and still be tough enough to compete with entrenched favorites such as granite and composites. The folks who created the Torzo line knew they could handle the technical details, but the aesthetics were another question altogether. To satisfy a broad range of decorative tastes, they decided to start out by producing not one, but four different families of surfaces… in multiple colors.

The product line is based on four distinctively different renewable or recycled resources. The Durum family of products is made from wheat straw, and imparts a very organic look. The Seeta line gets its look from sunflower husks, and presents a granite-like appearance. The Orient products utilize recycled wood chips to impart a somewhat mod rustic ambiance. The Indure family is made of recycled paper fibers, and while the look suggests concrete, it’s free of that characteristic coldness. All four product groups are infused with a urea-formaldehyde free polymer binder.

According to Jeff Southwell, VP/Operations for parent company Specialty Polymers, Inc., the binder is a major bragging point for the line. “It really makes these surfaces hard,” he said. “Our Indure product has a Jenka ball rating of over 7,000 psi which is really hard. Most hardwoods are considered pretty hard if you get up to 2,000, and soft woods fall into the 600 to 1,000 range. That means it can be used for everything from flooring, to countertops, to whatever.”

Initially, Torzo envisioned the product being used mainly in horizontal applications such as countertops and vanity tops, reception desks at hotels and restaurants, and transaction counters at retail.

But vertical installations have become a big part of their business. “People are using it as panels, wainscoting, cabinet doors, and dividers,” said Southwell. “We’ve had a couple McDonalds use Indure for dividers between the booths. And an ambulatory citizens’ building in Portland actually put it on the walls as gurney protection.”

Before any of that can happen, designers have to like the looks of it. So Torzo came up with a demo kit composed of 16 samples: 4 different colors in each of the 4 original product families. It lets the product speak for itself,” said Southwell. “One of our distributors has told us that nobody has been able to give a presentation and walk out with all 16 samples,” he chuckled. “Usually, people get enthusiastic and are pulling something out for a project they have in mind.”

The product can be fabricated by any shop that works with Corian or wood, such as a custom millwork shop. It accepts standard wood adhesives such as TiteBond and Roo Glue, but unlike other materials, the product will require a top coat. “The good thing is, that once you put that topcoat on you’re done,” said Southwell. “You shouldn’t need to recoat it again.”

Torzo’s lighter weight and easy workability contribute to a competitive price structure. According to Southwell, the product line bills out to end-users in the $40-$60 per square foot installed. “Some of these other products can be 2 to 3 times that when you figure in the application,” he contends. A portion that price difference is the result of lower shipping expenses. “You don’t need to have individual crates for each sheet,” Southwell added. “We can ship 20-30 sheets on a skid, and that reduces the cost.”

Torzo’s newest innovation is made from reclaimed sorghum stalks. 
The product is named Tiikeri, which is the Finnish word for tiger… and which sounds rather much like the base material’s supplier, Kirei Board. But Torzo fortifies the panels with its own acrylic resins for added strength and durability. “When we get done infusing it, you could put a piano on it,” jokes Southwell.

The exotic looking product is available in 4 colors – bronze, dusk, midnight, and natural – and can be used in a variety of horizontal and vertical applications.
Get More Info! • 800-770-7523

Recycled quartz countertop

CaesarStone Carbonne is created by mixing quartz remnants left over from the fabrication process with ‘virgin’ quartz, thus creating a unique blend of color and visual textures. The resulting product is nonporous, plus it is stain, scratch and heat resistant. CaesarStone products carry a lifetime warranty, and feature Greenguard certification.

Get More Info! • 877-978-2789

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