How climate plays a role in the flooring you specify

by Madelein
How climate plays a role in the flooring you specify

South African designers and specifiers often attend international trade fairs and import world class products from oversees, but these products aren’t always ideal for the local climate. In South Africa, we not only have a higher concentration of UV rays than our northern hemisphere counterparts, temperature fluctuations and humidity also have an impact on the construction materials that we use.

When installing flooring – particularly outdoors or on decking – it’s important to keep in mind that composites contain certain plastic that expands during the day and contracts at night when the temperature cools down. Well-insulated homes maintain their temperature better, making them cooler during summer and warmer in winter. Certain flooring products, such as tier* flooring from Eva-Last, have built-in insulation in the form of a foam base that not only offers heat insulation, but acoustic insulation too. If a flooring supplier doesn’t offer information about the potential expansion and contraction of their products to you, question them on the impact that this can have on your project.

Before specifying a flooring product, consider whether the indoor areas will be exposed to UV rays. If this is the case, UV-resistant flooring is a must.

There are higher concentrations of salt in the air in coastal regions, which is when the issue of corrosion should come up. Corrosion doesn’t generally impact flooring products, but in outdoor applications, the structural steel that forms part of your flooring system may be susceptible to corrosion if it isn’t properly treated.

Many South Africans who live in coastal regions are interested in treated lumber. If your client wants a lumber exterior floor or deck, be sure that stainless steel Tek screws are used during the installation to avoid any corrosion issues in the future. In drier climates, steel is often used with carbon steel fasteners and can easily be purchased pre-galvanised. Make a note of any steel ends that are cut as these will need to be treated or painted.

Flooring products are often specified without proper consideration being given to maintenance. To ensure the longevity of floors, advise your client to avoid harsh chemicals as they may damage the surface material. High pressure hoses can be used on exterior flooring, but a mop and floor cleaner are more than sufficient with Eva-Last’s indoor flooring products.

Environmentally conscious floors
“Most of our flooring contains bamboo-plastic. Bamboo is fast growing and a far more sustainable resource than timber. It takes only a few years to mature compared to timber, which take upward of 30 years. The majority of the plastic used in our flooring is recycled, sourced from items like discarded milk bottles,” says Caitlynne Collender, Product Manager at Eva-Last.

At Eva-Last, ensuring minimal environmental impact of their products is a top priority and this commitment extends to their manufacturing processes, supply chains and all aspects of their business. The company follows ISO Standard 14001, which means that the highest green standards are upheld.

“As a member of the Green Building Council of South Africa, we don’t only talk the talk, we also walk the walk. Our products are FSC approved and the materials we use are responsibly sourced close to our factory, which reduces our carbon footprint thanks to less transport needs,” concludes Caitlynne.

Eva-Last’s environmental consciousness can also be explained to end users in a fun way with this helpful analogy: For every 1kg of Eva-last composite, 400g is plastic. If a milk jug weighs 42 grams, we can assume that there are approximately 10 x 2 litre milk jugs in 1kg of the composite. A 5.8m floor board can weigh upward of 28kg, which means that – in a way – you’re walking on 280 milk bottles when you walk on a plank. So for every 10m² of decking, an end-user installs over 3000 milk bottles, thereby removing over 130kg of plastic from landfills!

For more information, contact Eva-Last on +27 (10) 593 9220 or via www.eva-last.com.

*tier is a registered trademark

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