Greener Options
in Resilient Flooring
Whether you're concerned about comfort, ease of care, design flexibility, or LEED credits, you'll find some excellent options beyond the world of vinyl.

by Mike Matthews, Editor
Jennifer Biscoe hears it a lot. “You mean I can do that in cork?” As the VP/Marketing for Globus Cork, Biscoe realizes that many designers who are looking to use green products are expecting to make some compromises. “We like to open their eyes to the idea that they can achieve a wide range of beautiful designs in cork,” she said. 
Cork earns green points because it's a rapidly renewable resource. The Globus palette also earns points with designers for its 36 hues, some of which are conservative variations on cork's natural color. But the mix also includes striking shades of mahogany, maple, and cherry wood, plus truly bold colors such as tangerine, scarlet, ocean blue, and spring green. If that's not enough, Globus is very receptive to creating custom colors and shapes. As the only U.S. manufacturer of cork tiles, Globus has a greater flexibility to satisfy unusual requests.
Globus has catered to whimsical designers by supplying tiles cut to triangles, hexagons, diamonds, circles, parallelograms, and even 3-dimensional box looking tiles. Because of their acoustic dampening qualities, the tiles often end up on ceilings and walls. “With walls, the tiles are often used in conference rooms where you can turn a wall into a large pinboard, but a really nice looking pinboard,” said Bicsoe. “And we've done countertops and desktops, millwork and custom cabinets.”
The most popular application for cork tiles remains residential, retail, and office areas. Homeowners favor cork in the kitchen, bath and foyers where its resiliency adds comfort. “People might think that because it's soft, that it must not be sturdy or durable,” Biscoe has noticed. “But cork is more durable than some harder surfaces because it doesn't get that hard-surface wear. It's not bouncy or springy, but there is a definite give to it.” 
The best way to sell people on cork is to let people walk on it, because they'll feel the difference immediately. “And if they're looking for green, that's one more plus,” says Biscoe.

End-users are often surprised by suggestions that point them to broader uses of familiar products. Rubber floor tiles are a familiar sight in workout rooms and daycare centers because they are soft underfoot and tough enough to absorb the abuse of falling barbells, sliding ellipticals, and tricycle chariot races. 
But Don Overturf of RB Rubber has seen his company's Zip-Tiles used in a growing number of applications. “A lot of people are using them in home gyms, and they go into a lot of basements because they aren't damaged by dampness on the floor,” he said. “If the tiles get dirty, you can just pull them up, wipe them off, and put them down again after they've dried.” 
The name Zip-Tile describes the installation process well. Interlocking tabs allow the tiles to snap together quickly and firmly. “Installation requires no tools at all unless you need to cut around the edges,” said Overturf. “And if you want to use them in another room, you can pull them up and reinstall them over and over again.”
Zip-Tiles are rugged enough to use outdoors as well, and the product was recently used for the walkways on a green roof installation. RB Rubber collects millions of automotive tires every year as the feed stock for their products, which means that Zip-Tiles qualify as a LEED eligible post-consumer recycled product. 



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