With its natural blond color and sleek look, a bamboo floor looks much like traditional hardwood floors made from trees. But there is a crucial difference: Trees take 100-plus years to harvest, while bamboo can be harvested in as little as six years.
Rapidly renewable resources, like bamboo and cork, are landing on the floors of more and more multifamily communities as developers embrace earth-friendly products. And these eco-conscious developers certainly don't have to compromise style to go green. Today's sustainable flooring products come in a wide variety of styles, colors, and materials–offering all the beauty and charm of their non-sustainable counterparts.
EXOTIC STALKS: Wow eco-conscious residents with a renewable bamboo product. Teragren's new synergy strand is 43 percent harder than the company's standard bamboo flooring plank and 100 percent harder than red oak, the company says. Available in wheat or chestnut hues, the product features a six-coat aluminum oxide/polyurethane finish system. Color options are a must this year, with new hues popping up throughout all material categories. Globus Cork, a New York-based manufacturer of cork floors and wall tiles, recently introduced a new cork line in more than 30 colors including green, red, orange, and black. And Teragren, a Bainbridge, Wash.-based bamboo flooring manufacturer, added four stained bamboo colors: espresso, cherry, walnut, and charcoal.
Renewable sources are not just a passing fad–they're here to stay, says Ann Knight, Teragren's marketing director. "They are an alternative to the dwindling timber resources in the country," she adds.
The Works Building, an 18-unit apartment community in Denver, Colo., features an impressive spread of sustainable flooring products throughout each unit. In the bedrooms,carpeting is made from recycled plastic soft drink containers. Just down the hall, living rooms feature bamboo flooring made from recycled sawdust, while the kitchens offer porcelain stone composed of unfired raw materials.
Offering these types of recycled materials can give developers a sharp competitive edge in the marketplace. "What we are finding is there is a huge market for residents who want to lease in projects that are built green," says Grant Barnhill, president of Portus Funds, a Denver-based real estate investment firm, which developed The Works Building.
The company's target demographic for its properties–22- to 35-year-olds–are well-educated in environmental issues and understand the benefits of green living, he says.
Portus features its green products in all property marketing materials. After all, if carpeting made from soft drink containers doesn't intrigue a prospect, what will?
For more information, contact Teragren at 800-929-6333 or visit www.teragren.com.
Parterre Flooring Systems BUILT TO LAST: A new line of vinyl flooring replicates the beauty of wood and stone, while offering durability and outstanding sound absorption qualities. The Reside line is scratch- and stain-resistant and will not splinter, chip, or crack, the company promises. The product is available in a selection of 16 natural designs, including nine wood plank colors and seven stone tile colors.
For more information, contact Parterre Flooring Systems at 888-338-1029 or visit www.parterreflooring.com.
Milliken Carpet CARPET CHUNKS: If a stain damages the floor, there's no need to replace the entire carpet. With Milliken's 24" x 24" modular carpet panels, simply replace the damaged squares. For easy installation, the panels use an adhesive treatment. The product comes in 24 colors that can be mixed and matched.
For more information, contact Milliken Floor Covering at 800-241-4826 or visit www.millikencarpet.com.
Armstrong DOUBLE TAKE: Get the look of hardwood with the benefits of a laminate. Armstrong's Pacific Heights collection now includes eight new entries mirroring exotic, traditional oak, and domestic hardwood species. Colors include canyon oak, antique hickory, golden maple, amber pine, Brazilian cherry, and iroko amber. For that extra-realistic touch, strip widths of 3.5 inches make it virtually impossible to see a repeat in the pattern, the company says.
For more information, contact Armstrong World Industries at 800-233-3823 or visit www.armstrong.com.
Tarkett GET YOUR FIBER: There's a new hard surface flooring material on the block: FiberFloor, a flooring surface made of an engineered fiberglass interlayer encased between two vinyl layers with a comfort backing. The unique composition makes the product more flexible, bendable, and sound-resistant than current resilient flooring options, the company says. FiberFloor comes in a variety of patterns and colors, and it is installed without any adhesive glue for easy removal.
For more information, contact Tarkett at 800-367-8275 or visit www.tarkett.com.
Crossville RAINBOW VISION: Make an ordinary floor extraordinary with Color Blox, a porcelain stone tile available in 20 neutral and dark colors. The names of the colors are just as fun as the actual colors: a dark lime "Mr. Green Jeans," bluish-blackish "Night Night," and "A Day at the Beach" blue. The palette was designed to coordinate with multiple carpet products from Bentley Prince Street. The product comes in three sizes: 6" x 6", 12" x 12", and 18" X 18".
For more information, call Crossville at 800-221-9093 or visit www.crossvilleinc.com.
Hot Product of the Month
Pittsburgh Corning GLASS ACT: Add a touch of glass to your lobby, clubhouse, or even individual units. Pittsburgh Corning has added three colors to its Monarch Series Glass Block collection. The new blue, rosa (pink), and bronze blocks come in an 8" x 8" x 8" wave pattern. Installation is made easy with the company's ProVantage system, which uses spacers to align and hold the blocks in place. Silicone bonds the spacer and blocks together.
For more information, contact Pittsburgh Corning at 800-624-2120 or visit www.pittsburghcorning.com.
Q: When coverting an apartment building into a condominium, what is your typical strategy for updating products and appliances?
A: As a condo converter, we recognize that apartment finishes are as much a part of a buyer's decision to purchase as the home's floor plan, location, and views. As such, we offer buyers several finish packages with varying features. This way, buyers may choose to upgrade [before taking occupancy] or move in right away and remodel at their own convenience.
At Atlantic Springs (a condo conversion in Coral Gables, Fla.), we offer three options: The basic package offers an "as-is" unit and includes new carpeting and paint. The first upgraded choice offers an "as-is" unit improved with contemporary lighting, new baseboards, crown molding, "like-new" finished kitchen cabinetry and counters, stainless steel appliances, and ceramic tiled kitchens and bathrooms. Finally, the deluxe package includes all of the above but is distinguished by wood flooring in the kitchen and living areas, granite countertops, high-end stainless steel appliances, and an ultra luxurious bathroom.