Greener Lives loves to share ideas about healthy and sustainable interior design, creating greener homes, discovering amazing eco-friendly products and exploring a bit of all things green.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Soy bathtubs and grout-free showers

I love discovering new green design products. In online newsletters, magazine ads, trade shows and unsolicited samples in my mailbox, I am always on the lookout for the latest in green technology, creativity and beauty. I would like to share some of the promising products that have crossed my path recently. Some of them have just come on the market, and some of them are just new to me (and I hope to you). Caveat #1: The information that I have about the products is based on the manufacturers' literature and their sales reps' answers. Caveat #2: I have not personally used any of these products in a design, so I don't know whether or not they will perform as their manufacturers say they will. All of that said, here's the cool stuff.

Cosentino is well known for its Silestone engineered stone counter tops that are made of quartz chips and a binder. In 2014, Cosentino released Dekton, a revolutionary product that presses quartz, porcelain and glass into slabs using what Cosentino calls a Particle Sintering Technology (PST). The process applies 25,000 tons of pressure and then bakes the product at an extremely high temperature to mimic the metamorphism or change in form that rocks undergo over the centuries in nature. Talk about a big vision.

The color Trilium from Dekton's Tech Collection

This year Cosentino released its first Dekton product that includes recycled content. On top of having 60% recycled content, Trilium from the Tech Collection is a beautiful surface material that looks like gray slate seductively splotched with rust. Because it is available in .8 cm thickness and 126" x 56" size, the Trilium product can be used as a solid surface wall covering for showers - without the grout lines of tile! Dekton also can be used for counter tops, siding, facades and flooring.

Wetstyle, a manufacturer of bathtubs, lavatories, sinks and bathroom cabinetry, has completely abandoned porcelain and developed its own eco-friendly, thermo-insulating material called Wetmar Bio, which is made primarily of soy and mineral stone. They also have developed a soy and vegetable extract sealant to replace the petroleum-based resins that are used in standard porcelain bathroom fixtures. Petroleum products off gas toxic volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Wetstyle's bathroom products are not just sustainable but stylish.

A bathtub from Wetstyle's Calligraphy collection

The back splash tile above the vanity in a bathroom or a powder room is essential to establishing the room's design and style. The color, shape and patterning of the tile can create anything from a sense of whimsy to a feeling of elegance. Happily, there are many beautiful recycled glass and porcelain tiles in different shapes, colors and patterns to create a palette of designs. Unique Building Products has a truly unusual and beautiful tile series. The Bleeker Street collection is made of small pieces of glass upcycled from broken stained glass. The rectangular pieces of glass have been glued together to create an irregular running brick pattern. The depth of the glass pieces are a quarter of an inch, more or less, so the surface is uneven rather than smooth although it isn't sharp.

UBC's Bleeker Street collection in the Green Blend color

I'm going to remodel my bathrooms this year, and I'm considering the Bleeker Street Green Blend for my master bathroom vanity back splash although a little voice keeps whispering, "You know it will collect dust...." The other little voice says, "But it would be perfect with the Vetrazzo recycled glass counter top you want to use." I expect to find out which little voice wins by the end of the year. I'll let you know.

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