Sustainability at the Forefront of Flooring

Sustainability at the Forefront of Flooring

Innovative flooring products provide sustainability and performance benefits.

When consumers make product choices today, they’re looking for elements that they have prioritized all along, such as performance and an attainable price, along with newer features that contribute to sustainability. In response, manufacturers continue to drive innovation and develop products to meet ever higher standards.

Like many companies, Mohawk Flooring identifies problems in their market and develops solutions to those issues to meet consumer and builder needs.

Mohawk VHLV Puretech

“In the world of resilient flooring, a big challenge has been to minimize the use of invasive chemicals that are used to make vinyl products,” says David Moore, senior product director for Mohawk. “A second concern is supply chain concerns, because resilient flooring is often manufactured overseas, and we all saw how complicated that became during the pandemic.”

A third topic that is top of mind for manufacturers is changing consumer priorities, particularly among younger consumers, he says.

“Historically, consumers made choices about their flooring with their heart and wanted what looked beautiful, then they balanced that with their logic to see what fit their budget and lifestyle, and what would be easy to maintain,” Moore says. “This is evolving now. Consumers want to know if the products they buy are good for the environment, too.”

Nontoxic Flooring: A Big Deal

The 2023 train derailment in Ohio brought to the forefront something many people already knew: the chemicals used to make PVC, which in turn is used for numerous plastic products, is toxic. For many consumers, particularly those in the millennial and Gen Z generations, buying non-toxic products that are PVC-free, domestically produced and made with recycled materials is important to match their sustainability values. 

Green Builder’s COGNITION Smart Data survey found that the top priorities for consumers when choosing products are that they are nontoxic, made with recycled materials, made with sustainably harvested materials, are PVC-free and recyclable.

Product Priorities

Product Prioritie - Source: Cognition Smart Data

Mohawk’s new waterproof resilient flooring, called PureTech, was designed to meet those priorities and challenges.

“PureTech is a sustainable alternative flooring without any PVCs in the formulation,” Moore says. “The flooring is made from 70% recycled content and the organic core in the middle of the product is 80% renewable plant-based material.”

In other words, Moore says, “First we removed the chemicals and then we brought in recycled and renewable materials.”

Mohawk’s PureTech flooring will be showcased at the VISION House Las Vegas, a partnership between Beazer Homes and Green Builder Media that includes two model homes at the master-planned community of Cadence in Henderson just outside of Las Vegas. These homes and all future Beazer homes will meet the Department of Energy’s Zero Energy Ready Home™ requirements.

“We’ve been looking for a partnership like this for a couple of years because we wanted to be part of a program aligned with our sustainability goals,” Moore says. 

In addition to the elimination of toxic chemicals and sustainability of the PureTech product itself, Mohawk is committed to domestic manufacturing, Moore says. 

“No one needs worry about where products are manufactured, he says. “Domestic manufacturing reduces transportation needs to just a truck drive.”

High Performance for Customers and Contractors

In addition to manufacturing processes, important elements of sustainability include performance and longevity. Consumers want a product that won’t need to be replaced too quickly and will hold up to a household with children and pets. 

PureTech is waterproof and has been tested to be three times more resistant to scratches than traditional LVT [luxury vinyl tile] flooring, Moore says. 

“One goal of resilient flooring is to look as natural as possible, so we substantially elevated the texture with an embossed surface and used our GenuEdge technology for a more natural-looking edge,” Moore says. “Some entry-level LVT flooring in the past had issues with joint failure, but our Uniclic installation system is durable.”

Most contractors are familiar with the Uniclic system since it’s used across the Mohawk portfolio of products, Moore says. 

“Incorporating organic material in the core of PureTech adds to its strength and sustainability, but it also takes out a lot of weight compared to other LVTs, which means there’s less wear and tear on the installers,” Moore says. 

Give Back Model Contributes to Culture of Sustainability

Mohawk’s commitment to sustainability reaches beyond its products. 

“We want to align our company with global causes including the elimination of PVCs,” Moore says. “We’ve joined the efforts of Plastic Bank, an organization committed to stopping plastics from getting in the ocean.”

For every purchase of a Mohawk product, including PureTech, Mohawk will make a contribution to Plastic Bank.