Natural linoleum — Linoleum is formed by blending oxidized linseed oil and pine resin, into which powered limestone, wood, and cork are mixed, along with any desired pigment.
This mixture is added over a wide-woven natural fabric, such as jute or burlap backer. The linoleum is then cured in a kiln or drying room for a number of days to complete the polymerization of the oils and make the mixture hard.
Cork — The bark of the cork oak tree is harvested (in cycles of 7-12 years) and air-dried into sheets. Wine corks are punched from the sheets, and the remainder is ground, boiled, and formed with adhesives into sheets.
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A mixture of Portland cement and aggregate is poured to the desired thickness over a stable base able to support the weight of the material. Concrete can be poured with pigment mixed in, or pigment may be cast onto the wet surface of the slab and worked into the concrete during finishing. Concrete can also be poured and finished with no color, and have a color finish applied to the surface after the slab is cured. Concrete can be finished to a wide variety of surfaces, from roughly textured to highly polished. Concrete surfaces can also be stamped with a wide variety of patterns. There are two types of concrete floor:
Ecosystem impacts: Check regional practices for aggregate quarries, as impacts can vary widely. Consider the use of recycled aggregate to mitigate impacts.
Embodied carbon: Cement production is a major contributor to climate change, and concrete will contribute significantly to the carbon footprint of your building. Indoor environment quality: Inert. Pigments and surface finishes may contain toxins and should be researched carefully.
Many stick-down tile or sheet flooring products called “linoleum” are actually made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a material that is included in every chemical Red List in the building industry. Though it is popular and affordable flooring, it is incompatible with many basic sustainability goals:
Ecosystem impacts: The full “chain of custody” for vinyl products needs to address the wide range of ecosystem impacts of oil exploration, extraction, shipping and pipelining, refining, and processing. Vinyl production pollution is very dangerous to soil, water, and the human nervous system.