May 26/June 2, 2014; Volume 27/Number 28
By Louis Iannaco
As every area of the industry strives to become more environmentally friendly, products continue to become safer and more sustainable. When it comes to underlayment and carpet cushion, the same holds true. Whether it’s the ingredients in the offerings themselves or the way they are manufactured, cushion and underlayment companies are doing what they can to provide retailers and end users with the safest, most effective products.
“To our company, green is much more than a passing fad,” said Jeffrey Castor, vice president of sales. “Our team constantly tries to improve our efficiencies and lower our carbon footprint. Everyone is constantly forced to weigh their desire to take care of the environment versus the cost to do so. Our new product allows them to do both.”
That new product is EcoStep Ultimate, a grade fiber underlayment and moisture barrier featuring Diversified’s UltraSeal self-sealing lip and tape system. EcoStep is made from 98% recycled content, is 100% recyclable and is domestically manufactured.
“It has great compression characteristics, extremely high acoustic ratings and an unparalleled consistency with respect to thickness and density,” Castor said.
According to Andrea Morris, vice president, sales/marketing, Fabricushion—producer of both carpet cushion and underlayment for hard surfaces—offers various green products, which either leverage recycled tire crumb or acoustical mineral sand. Both add to the properties of the products while furthering green mandates.
“Our products range from residential and commercial carpet cushion to LVT underlayment to other acoustical underlayment,” she said. “On top of achieving CRI approval, our products contain recycled content and are recyclable at the end of their life.”
Fabricushion’s top two lines—Cush-n-Tred and DB Cover—are both rubber-based. Cush-n-Tred features recycled tire crumb, a Textron backing and is available in carpet cushion and underlayment for hard surfaces, while DB Cover is a premium, high-density underlayment containing acoustical mineral sand. DB Cover Vinyl is a palletized product and offers stability, moisture protection and sound absorption for LVT planks or tiles.
Cush-n-Tred is an affordable green choice, Morris noted, and “with its densities and other attributes, the correct Cush-n-Tred cushion can handle a range of traffic levels and perform over radiant heated floors, above and below grade.”
MP Global Products
MP Global’s latest green product is LuxWalk, an underlayment engineered specifically for floating or glue down luxury vinyl flooring (LVF), made with 31% post-consumer recycled content. Providing full subfloor coverage and carrying impressive IIC and STC sound test ratings, LuxWalk effectively reduces impact sound and floor to ceiling noise, noted Kelly Kennedy, national sales manager.
In addition, LuxWalk is LEED compliant due to its construction with a polyethylene film that incorporates blended recycled polyester fiber (derived from soda bottles diverted from landfill) with hot-melt adhesive.
“Because denting is inherent in luxury vinyl, its underlayment has to be dense and firm enough to support the LVF and minimize any denting,” Kelly said
For Vinyl Trends, maker of Eternity brand underlayment, sustainability is nothing new, noted president Rob Kuepfer. The company got its start by reclaiming and recycling plastic and rubber materials into new products. Over the years, the company has managed to keep millions of pounds of scrap material out of landfills across North America.
Most notable from the company’s portfolio is Zero VOC foam formulation, which is the first and only zero VOC underlayment, he noted. “Eternity does not off gas harmful chemicals, and it creates a barrier between the subfloor and the room, while many traditional subfloor materials contain numerous chemical compounds including formaldehyde, which often migrate into the living space.”
Also, Eternity is a natural microbe inhibitor, so Vinyl Trends does not need to add any antimicrobial chemicals.