A beautiful floor can also be kind to the environment if you make sure you source eco-friendly tiles. But which tiles are truly the “greenest?” How do you discover where your flooring comes from and what its carbon footprint really is? In this guide, we show you how to find real eco-friendly tiles that not only bring out the best in your home, but are better for the planet we live on too.
Mass manufacturing is one of the biggest contributors to carbon dioxide emissions. It goes without saying, therefore, that handmade items are much kinder to the environment. Handmade floor tiles come in a diverse range of styles and colors and have been around for centuries. We proudly work with the Moroccan Mosaic and Tile House who are bringing the art of handmade tiles back to life in the modern age.
They work with a style called ‘Zellige’ which is around 1300 years old. Our marble and cement tiles are inspired by this same ancient craft. When tiles are baked, hand cut and painted by a dedicated designer, there’s no factory churning out noxious and harmful gases. Just laborious and loving craftsmanship, and a unique style you can bring right into the heart of your home. Our Zaio Orange tiles bring a splash of color and contrast to any room in your house, either as a full floor or feature point.
When you think about eco-friendly tiles, you might think about materials such as bamboo or cork. Marble might not be the first option that comes to mind. But marble is actually a surprisingly sustainable material. Marble is a metamorphic rock, which means it’s made from the transformation of other raw materials. The raw material in this case is limestone, which is highly abundant on our planet. This means that new sources of marble are being found and quarried all the time, so there’s no current risk of our marble sources running out.
Smooth, polished marble is incredibly easy to clean, making it a low maintenance material. The less water and energy required to maintain a floor’s beauty, the better for the environment it is. These are all factors you need to consider when choosing your eco-friendly tile options.
One of the main reasons you might look for floor tiles over other types of flooring is durability. This is particularly important in high traffic areas such as entrance ways and hallways, or frequently cleaned areas such as kitchens. One of the most durable materials for flooring is stone, and it may surprise you to know how eco-friendly it is.
Natural stone is, as the name suggests, a naturally occurring material that requires very little processing. It’s quarried in much the same state as we end up using it in. It just needs cutting to shape. This lack of processing means manufacturers use less power and water to make stone tiles, lowering their carbon footprint.
Many types of stone have a natural ‘grip’ making them ideal for hallways and walkways, so you don’t need to buy additional matting or carpets. Because the organic, rugged look of many types of stone is very desirable, it doesn’t matter if stone tiles become a little worn over the years. In fact, it can even add to their charm. Because it takes many, many years to make a dent in stone tiles, they are an ‘evergreen’ solution because they rarely need to be replaced. This means less stone ending up in landfill, which is great for the environment.
Ease of maintenance
Another aspect of knowing what eco-friendly tiles to buy is considering how to look after them. Will the tiles need harsh chemicals to clean them? Strong chemicals may wash out into waterways and can cause havoc on the local environment. They are particularly bad for fish and wildlife. Will you be forever vacuuming the floor, thus using loads of electricity? Conserving power is one of the best ways to lower our own individual carbon footprint. Rough and fibrous floors such as carpet or carpet tiles take much higher levels of maintenance than stone or cement tiles.
It’s worth matching the type of tile to the use of the room. For bathrooms in particular, a glossy wipe-clean option is your best bet. One quick wipe and the tiles will look as good as new again. A large tile size also helps, like our 12″ square Charmon tiles in natural stone. Larger tiles mean a smoother, more regular floor surface to clean. If your tiles do get dirty, always patch test any chemicals you might want to use. See our guide to maintaining a beautiful tiled floor here.
A quality product
One of the most common ways in which we increase our carbon footprint is by having to replace broken items around the house. Tiles are no exception. Poor quality floor tiles can chip and become damaged and dirty quickly. These then need to be replaced and the old ones tend to end up in landfill. Making new tiles uses more energy and water in the manufacturing process. Then there’s the transport of new tiles to consider, which uses fuel and pumps out pollutants. The most eco-friendly tiles you can buy are the ones you only ever have to buy once.
Ensuring you only need to lay tiles once means thinking about a look that will last. For a timeless style that’s durable, take a look at our grey and white Itzer tiles. These tiles are made of marble and cement and even stand up to being laid outside. The mosaic style has stood the test of time, and will bring lasting beauty to your home.
A unique and beautiful floor is a great feature in any home. Contact us today to speak to our dedicated team about a consultation, or visit our showroom in the center of the West Hollywood design district.