Recycled leather offers a high-fashion look that can also be planet- and indoor-air friendly
We’re not talking about a leather sectional. The customer who is building a home in Florida wants leather on the floor and walls. And Mike Smith, an account manager at ProSource Wholesale Flooring, says he will be delivering a product that is durable, beautiful and green in more than one way.
“EcoDomo is made of ground up recycled leather, natural rubber and acacia tree bark, which works like a natural glue,” he says. “So, it not only contains 65 percent recycled content, it’s also very indoor-air friendly due to low chemical emissions.”
But what about special wall preparations and the glue that will have to be used to adhere the leather panels to the wall?
This job is new construction, so the walls will be built to order. The glue recommended for attaching the leather tiles is Wilson Art H20 – a water-based, low-VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) formulation.
Preparing existing walls gets a little more complicated because the leather tiles are optimally adhered to plywood, not drywall. But, you can prepare drywall to accept the tiles with a sealing coat of Kilz water-based, general purpose latex primer, and the manufacturer recommends sealing any wall, whether concrete, plywood or sheet rock. At less than 150 grams per liter, the VOC level of this sealer still is considered low.
EcoDomo is the most visible of a number of companies that have been promoting recycled leather since 2005. The leather is reclaimed from manufacturing waste. The company touts superior aesthetics and durability, with recycled leathers that are almost twice as dense as cork floor tiles and have abrasion rates comparable to linoleum. The leather tiles can be made-to-order for size, color or embossing.
EcoDomo is a pioneer in the leather industry and its retail prices, ranging from $15 to $25 per square foot installed, reflect environmental steps taken in the leather manufacturing process, which traditionally have involved potentially toxic chemicals. Other manufacturers include Robus Leather and Merida.
ProSource Wholesale Flooring (513-772-7726, Ext. 105) in Cincinnati, OH, is a Natural Interiors® member that can provide special retail pricing and assistance to e-mailers or callers who mention this blog. Leather products also are available at Greener Stock.©
– Nancy Kibbee is editor at www.naturalinteriors.com.