Floor coverings: Nature Underfoot
Natural floor coverings are not only easy on the eye, they’re also durable and easy to clean – benefits that stem directly from Mother Nature herself.
Real wood plays a leading role here, of course. There’s an increasing trend towards wide planks in timber flooring, where timber can play up its natural flair and flaunt its attractive grain patterns. Wood returns to its own true nature, with the vintage look adding to its charm.
Oak remains the timber of choice, and the darker hues have often been oiled, stained, smoked or thermally treated. Such timber makes a striking counterpoint in light-flooded rooms. But new, lighter shades of oak are also finding a growing number of enthusiasts who opt for white-oiled or limewashed flooring, for example. The process of spreading lime powder on the timber and adding oil as a binder strongly enhances the surface structure of the wood, giving it an almost antique character.
Affordable natural stone – thanks to high-tech
Natural stone, long regarded as gaudy and ostentatious, is now revealing its original character in a stronger form, with trendy sedimentary rocks such as travertine, limestone and sandstone displaying their light-coloured, matt surfaces. And, thanks to diamond saws and modern production techniques, this most ancient of all floor coverings is now more affordable than ever. Natural stone’s high thermal conductivity is a further advantage, making it the perfect material for underfloor heating. Stone is able to store heat for long periods and distribute it evenly across entire rooms.
Pure wool creates a pleasant indoor climate
The essence of natural floor coverings comes to life when we touch them. Carpet flooring offers luxury you can truly feel underfoot. That pure wool is growing more popular for carpeting comes as no surprise. Its ability to create an ideal indoor climate is just one more advantage. Pure wool absorbs moisture and releases it again when the air in the room gets drier. Carpets of pure wool are easy to care for: Due to their natural lanolin content and the structure of their fibres, they have excellent resistance to liquids and solid dirt remains on the surface.
Renaissance sparked by positive ecological balance
The trend back to nature doesn’t just come with soft, fluffy textures. It also has its purist forms as well. One natural, no-frills material that promotes a healthy living environment is an old friend of ours: linoleum. It disappeared from the public eye for quite some time, but is now making a comeback in our living areas – offering fresh, new colours and a trendy image. This floor covering has great durability and many other practical benefits. It’s robust, easy to clean and feels pleasantly warm underfoot.
The growing interest in ecological building materials is leading to a renaissance for another nearly forgotten floor covering: cork. If you still associate cork solely with pinboards, think again! Thanks to innovative printing techniques, manufacturers are bringing cork back in lively colours and unusual designs. The comfort factor is one of the main arguments for cork: It’s naturally warm, quiet and relieves strain on our backs and joints.
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Creating a healthful environment in your home starts from the floor up. Words by Justin Foote 20 July 2020 - 3 min read Not all flooring materials are created equal and while many may seem to be an...