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ECO COATINGS: THE GOOD, THE TRUE AND THE BEAUTIFUL!

coatings Choosing an ecological coatings means going further in the ecological habitat and turning to natural, comfortable and environmentally friendly materials. Natural coatings are generally as strong (or even better!) Than traditional coatings and offer homes an undeniable charm.

In recent years, builders have worked hard and imagined to offer a wide variety of materials choices. These eco-friendly materials are also healthy and prices remain affordable. 

green materials will aim to meet one or more of the following criteria:
1. to minimize the energy required for manufacturing and to present a favorable ecobalance;
2. reduce the emissions of volatile organic compounds from solvents in glues and paints;
3. use a maximum of ingredients or components of natural origin;
4. improve thermal properties and reduce energy consumption;
5. improve the acoustic and hygrometric properties of the walls;
6. reduce the use of petrochemicals;
7. reduce the use of harmful substances;
8. reduce C02 emissions to production.
All this to limit our impact on the environment and create a healthy indoor atmosphere.
Interior coatings are in direct contact with indoor air. When choosing them, we will therefore pay particular attention to the potential impacts of these materials in terms of internal pollution.
To help us choose them, some of these materials and products have a label indicating that they comply with precise specifications, incorporating environmental and / or health criteria.

For example :
1. Blue Angel
2. Ecolabel
3. natureplus
4. NF Environment
5. FSC
6. PEFC
7. IBR
We are not here to compare the environmental quality of these products but rather to show some interesting developments and the development of new sectors. As this sector is also in full development, we will not be able to be exhaustive in this file. Here are some of the latest additions to the shelves of exterior wall coverings, interior wall coverings, and interior floor coverings.

1. In the section “exterior wall coverings”

Ecological or not, exterior wall coverings must meet a series of essential requirements to protect the house from water and wind. They also gain to be easily compatible with the building system. For example, it is easier to finish a wood frame with a wood cladding than with a facing brick. In ecological construction, these coatings will also be expected to contribute to the thermal and even acoustic insulation of the house, on the one hand, thus improving comfort in winter and summer. And that they fit harmoniously and aesthetically to their environment on the other hand.

Finally, attention can be drawn to the permeability to water vapor of the entire wall. Indeed, it would be a shame to build breathable walls to cover the whole with a watertight coating, at the risk of completely blocking the humidity in the house. Have we not seen enough stone facades degraded by waterproof cementations, preventing the walls from breathing.

It is advisable to go through building professionals to realize its external facades (carpenters or carpenters for cladding, plasterers or coaters for finishing plaster, etc.)! That said, more and more professionals are open to collaboration with the client on the site. Discuss …

1.a Variants around lime plaster!

It is possible to put finishing coatings on the facades. Lime colored coatings have been known for a long time. Traditionally used to protect friable stone constructions, they come in a wide variety of colors, as evidenced by the colorful facades of whole villages in Italy.

The bravest ones may be learning about the preparation and application of lime renders. Do not neglect the complexity of the operations: the successive layers, the connections to the roofs, the windows, the floor, the flatness and the finish of the plaster, etc.

In recent developments, it is interesting to note that the lime rendering sector has largely adapted to new types of construction and new requirements for insulation. For example ready-to-coat insulation boards, insulating coatings or pre-formulated coatings for a wide range of substrates.

The lime renders make it possible to recover the irregularities of the wall. They are breathable and waterproof with rainwater. On the other hand, lime plaster alone has no interesting thermal insulation property.
It is also possible to use reed or cork panels to be coated. It is true that the system “flexible panel – panel coating – finish coating” is quite expensive. On the other hand, the result is very convincing insofar as it cuts all the thermal bridges. And also note that the cost of the centimeter of insulation added in this case is low compared to the total cost of the coating.
Interesting if the thickness of work does not allow to place insulating panels. It is also obvious that a coating alone is cheaper than a coating on insulating panels. In this case, an energy audit will validate that the extra cost of the insulation will be amortized over time.

1.b Variations around the wood

Wood today offers an astonishing variety of solutions, from traditional cedar shingles to wood panels, to all forms of cladding. The wood thus makes it possible to give a traditional and modern look to buildings. Again, it is worth it to go through the professionals to embark on the adventure.
Note also in recent developments: the wood re-fired. Refining is a heat treatment process that gives wood dimensional stability and durability (resistance to insects and fungi) without its mechanical properties being significantly affected. This type of treatment makes it easier to work with local species for sustainable outdoor applications: pine, ash, beech, and spruce
It should be noted that shingles, reshaped wood or even cedar, Douglas fir or larch cladding can do without treatment. If we accept the natural graying of the wood, we will also save a painful regular maintenance of the wood. The question, in this case, is essentially aesthetic because it is not the treatment itself that prolongs the life of the coating.

2. In the section “interior wall coverings”
We will not discuss the novelties in terms of paints, varnishes and surface treatments, but rather the surfaces themselves.

2.a Variants around coatings

In addition to traditional plaster ceilings, we also find a wide range of clay-based or lime-based plasters, but also vegetable fiber (cellulose or cotton) or natural plaster without radon. The “ecological” principles of these coatings are often the same: reduction of indoor pollution, regulation of indoor humidity, contribution to thermal comfort, acoustic absorption while being decorative.
The “earth” coatings are quite cheap and lend themselves quite well to the motivated self-builder. The implementation of a tadelakt, on the other hand, is expensive and difficult. It will be reserved for example in the bathroom. In any case, it will be useful to ask a professional to check if the support is adequate to receive a coating. If necessary, it will first be necessary to make a tie layer.

3. In the “Interior Flooring” section

Is it possible to imagine something other than the eternal tiles “so easy to maintain” but “so cold feet”? … and that vinyl and other synthetic carpets? Certainly yes!

3.a At the radius of “cold” soils

Terracotta tiles can replace traditional tiles. They are used under the same conditions but require more maintenance.
These slabs are compatible with a heated floor. Today, their implementations are essentially self-builders. The most motivated even realize a slab of clay with the clay earth of their foundations: the cost, in this case, is reduced to the hours of work that one devotes to it!

3.b At the radius of “hot” soils

Parquet or solid floor remains a “hot” and durable solution that also allows working with local wood species (oak, chestnut, pine, etc.). The bamboo floor or the specific treatment of the floor can even extend its use in the kitchen or bathroom. Although it comes from afar, bamboo is renewable and offers interesting mechanical characteristics (hardness, resistance to mold, dilatation weak, lack of knots).

For the implementation, an acoustic sub-layer may be interesting to reduce the impact noise. The nailed pose allows doing without glue! If a glue is inevitable for a laying on screed, for example, we can move advantageously towards “ecological” glues. They are found in the trades of ecological building materials. There is also a German label guaranteeing the low emissions of glues.
Finally, let’s not forget the carpets and floor coverings based on plant fibers: coconut, sisal, seagrass (20 to 40 $ / m²) but also cork (25 to 40 $ / m²) and real linoleum ( 70 to90 65 $ / m²).
Conclusions
The product is not the only guarantee of a good end result. Also, it is worth remembering that the quality of the implementation is just as important as the quality of the product itself. To do this, it is advisable to consult the data sheets, to seek professional advice or to follow training.

If the green material trades are not the only ones to sell this type of products, it will still be interesting to pass their door because it is clear that they have to their credit years of experience of the use of these products. products behind them.

On the price of these materials, it is not easy to conclude. They are not necessarily more expensive, especially if you agree to get your hands dirty. In other words, find out, you will be surprised …

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