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Sustainable Tile Options: Eco-Friendly Choices for Green Homes

Posted by Mike Belk on Jul 26, 2023

Sustainable Tile Options: Eco-Friendly Choices for Green Homes

81% of Gen Z home buyers are making sustainability a priority. When it comes to flooring and walls, tiles offer a versatile and sustainable option that aligns with green living principles.

From making use of recycled tile materials to opting for the right adhesives, there are many ways to add sustainable tiles to your home. These help to reduce your carbon footprint. Learn more about your sustainable tile options below.

Recycled Tile Materials

By using recycled materials for tile production, it's easier to reduce waste. It also helps reduce the extraction of new resources. The most common recycled tile materials are making great headway in making tiling sustainable.

Recycled Glass Tiles

Glass tiles are an excellent eco-friendly choice. They can be made from materials like old bottles. They come in a wide range of colors and styles.

This means they can offer a unique and visually appealing option for walls. They also look great on backsplashes and accent areas.

By opting for recycled glass tiles, you contribute to waste reduction. You give new life to materials that would otherwise end up in landfills.

Glass tiles are also very reflective. Using them can help maximize natural lighting in your space. This might even help reduce energy costs.

Recycled Ceramic and Porcelain Tiles

Creating ceramic and porcelain tiles is easy by using recycled materials. These tiles come from crushed and reclaimed ceramic and porcelain products. For example, discarded bathroom fixtures or demolished tiles.

Recycled ceramic and porcelain tiles are just as durable as normal tiles. Plus, they offer the same visual appeal. They lessen the demand for new resources and conserve energy.

By choosing recycled tiles, you contribute to the circular economy. And, by giving discarded materials a new purpose, you help create less waste.

Low VOC Tile Adhesives

Choosing low VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) tile adhesives is important. It's a crucial step towards creating a more environmentally friendly living space.

VOCs are chemicals that easily vaporize at room temperature. They release potentially harmful gases into the air we breathe.

These compounds can have short-term and long-term effects on human health. They might cause eye and respiratory irritation, headaches, and even more serious complications.

Traditional tile adhesives often contain high levels of VOCs. This can contribute to poor indoor air quality and health concerns.

Benefits of Low VOC Tile Adhesives

Low VOC tile adhesives offer several advantages that make them a preferred choice. This is especially true for environmentally conscious projects. They are a cleaner alternative to other tile adhesives.

Improved Indoor Air Quality

By using low-VOC tile adhesives, you reduce the emission of harmful chemicals. These adhesives are formulated with lower levels of VOCs. This means they offer better indoor air quality and a healthier living environment.

This is especially important in spaces where people spend a lot of time. For example, homes, offices, and schools.

Reduced Health Risks

Low-VOC adhesives minimize exposure to dangerous chemicals. Using low-VOC tile adhesives is beneficial for individuals with sensitivities or allergies. They help create a safer and more comfortable living environment.

Environmental Sustainability

Choosing low-VOC tile adhesives aligns with sustainable and eco-friendly practices. These adhesives have minimal impact on the environment during production and use.

By opting for low-VOC products, you help reduce the release of harmful substances. That's why it's important to support manufacturers who focus on sustainable practices.

Compliance with Green Building Standards

Many green building certification programs prefer low-VOC adhesives. Bodies like LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), prioritize low VOC emissions.

Using low-VOC tile adhesives increases the chances of meeting these requirements. This could also help if you decide to sell your home in the future.

Choosing and Using Low VOC Tile Adhesives

If you're thinking about using low VOC tiles, there are some things you should consider. You can always consult a tiling expert if you're unsure or have questions.

Read Product Labels

Carefully read the product labels when choosing a tile adhesive. Look for adhesives labeled "low VOC" or "VOC-free." This ensures that the adhesive meets the desired standards for indoor air quality.

Third-Party Certifications

Look for adhesives that have certification from independent third-party organizations. These bodies should specialize in evaluating and verifying low VOC emissions. They may be environmental bodies.

Certifications from organizations such as Green Seal or FloorScore provide more assurance. They offer evidence of the adhesive's low VOC content.

Proper Application

Follow the manufacturer's instructions for the proper application of the low VOC adhesive. This includes using the recommended application techniques and curing times.

Adhering to these guidelines ensures the best adhesive performance. It also minimizes the risk of VOC emissions while tiles are being installed.

Maintenance and Cleaning

Once the tile installation is complete, use low VOC cleaning products. These help to maintain the tiles and grout.

You should avoid using harsh chemicals. These could compromise indoor air quality. If the air quality is bad anyway, you'll get fewer benefits from using low-VOC adhesives.

Energy-Efficient Tile Production Methods

By using sustainable practices, tile manufacturers can decrease their carbon footprint. They can also contribute to building a greener future.

Various energy-efficient tile production methods can help the environment. These help create a more sustainable industry.

Advanced Kiln Technologies

Kilns are an integral part of the tile production process. This is where clay or other materials are fired at high temperatures to create durable tiles.

Energy-efficient kilns help optimize energy consumption. They also help minimize heat loss. These technologies include:


Efficient kilns feature high-quality insulation materials. This helps to reduce heat loss during the firing process. By minimizing heat dissipation, less energy is required to maintain the desired temperature.

This results in massive energy savings. Materials such as ceramic fibers, refractory bricks, and special coatings help keep heat.

Precise Temperature Control

Modern kilns also feature temperature control systems. These help to ensure optimal firing conditions.

By maintaining precise temperature levels, less energy gets lost. Plus, the production process becomes more efficient.

Automated control systems track temperature variations. They can adjust firing parameters as needed. This reduces energy consumption.

Heat Recovery Systems

These kinds of kilns also have heat recovery systems. They can use these to reuse the heat created during the firing process.

Whatever heat gets recovered redirects to heat incoming heat and water. This means there's a lower energy demand to heat these elements.

Renewable Energy Sources

Many tile manufacturers are turning to sustainable energy sources for power. Some make use of solar and wind power for their production needs.

This has a huge impact on their reliance on fossil fuels. It also reduces greenhouse gases. Overall, this makes for a positive step towards sustainability.

Process Optimization and Automation

Efficiency in tile production is also achievable through process automation. By making use of technology, manufacturers can reduce energy waste. This technology might even make some processes more efficient.

Some energy-saving measures include:

Raw Material Management

Using raw materials in tile production can go a long way in conserving energy. Water jet cutting or CNC machining can trim down production time and save more energy.

These processes create more precise results. As a result, there's less wastage.

Recycling and Reuse

Recycling programs are becoming more frequent in the tile production cycle. These programs make it easier for manufacturers to reuse materials.

Recycling systems can involve collecting and crushing excess or defective tiles. Manufacturers can then create new tile blends or aggregates for various applications.

Automation and Smart Systems

Automation allows for precise control, which helps streamline tile production. Energy usage is easier to keep track of and change if it's wasteful. AI and robotics are being used in tile manufacturing to reduce energy consumption.

Water Conservation

Water is a valuable resource in tile production. Manufacturers who are conscious of the environment focus on water conservation measures. These measures include:

Water Recycling

Water recycling systems allow manufacturers to reuse water throughout the production process. These systems reduce reliance on freshwater sources and minimize water waste.

Water is collected and filtered. Then it's treated so manufacturers can reuse it during production processes.

Water-Efficient Equipment

Tile manufacturers can upgrade machinery to rely less on water. With modern water-saving technology, they can do this without compromising quality.

For example, high-pressure nozzles and water-saving spray systems use less water. They're ideal for an efficient tile-creation process.

Using Sustainable Tile Is the Right Choice

When you choose sustainable tile options, you're moving towards an eco-friendly lifestyle. Recycled tile materials are just as good as any other tile type. You should also use Low VOC adhesives as they help stop harmful chemicals from entering your home.

You'll notice your home feels fresher thanks to indoor air-quality improvements. Plus, you'll help contribute to waste reduction.

Embrace the beauty of sustainable tiles while making a positive impact on the planet. Remember, every eco-friendly choice counts in building a greener future for generations to come. You can learn more about your sustainable tile options by contacting us right here.

Learn more about the most innovative green homes and how they are helping preserve the environment!

Mike Belk Author BELK Tile

By Mike Belk

Founder & CEO

A graduate of Ohio State University with an MBA in Business, Mike Belk has been in the tile and stone industry for over 20 years. Mike is the owner and founder of Belk Tile. He has become one of premier tile experts in the nation. Not only does Mike love every aspect of his job, he strives ensure your experience is the very best. He runs a successful blog and, when not immersed in the world of tile, is an avid golfer and wine maker. Mike enjoys interacting with customers and wants to hear from you today.