Focus on: Bio resin poured floors

Sphere8 offers perfectly smooth and seamless resin floors with a difference - their product is plant rather than petrochemical-based

Sphere8 poured floor in a south London house by Paul Warren Design

Pour me a floor... Paul Warren Design chose a Sphere8 bio-resin floor for the large kitchen/family space in this house in south London. The resin has castor oil as its core ingredients and the resulting floor has no VOCs and doesn't off-gas.

Choosing a floor for your home can be surprisingly difficult. There’s carpet, wood, stone, ceramic tile, vinyl and resilient flooring...but for those who want an easy maintence smooth floor that doesn’t have joins, and which has strong eco credentials, enter the bio resin poured floor.

This material - which can also be used on walls - is poured to a depth of just 4mm and offers a seamless floor that can flow from room to room. Sweep it and wash it regularly (but use a non soap cleaner) and it’ll reward you with many years’ service. 

The bio resin can be matched to virtually any colour.
The flooring is soft and warm underfoot and is great for large spaces as it's seamless

Sphere8 is a London-based company offering bio-based poured resin flooring and it explains the environmental and health benefits:

*firstly, the material has castor oil as its core ingredient, so it’s bio-based rather than derived from petro-chemicals;

*it doesn’t off-gas so is a good choice if good indoor air quality is a priority.

*there's no wastage associated with it because exact quantities are prepared for each job.

Castor oil bean-based resins

Industry is looking to use biodegradable materials, non-polluting and biomass products, and castor oil-based polyurethane resin is a good alternative to formaldehyde-based resins.

Castor is a sustainable plant (and one that must be handled very carefully as castor beans are the source of the deadly poison ricin) that thrives in Asia and tropical regions and as such castor oil is increasingly seen as a bio-product that can help the vinyl flooring industry move away from petrochemicals as the core ingredient. The use of renewable raw materials reduces fossil-fuel dependency and can help mitigate climate change.

the bio resin is perfect for wet rooms as it can be applied to walls as well as floors
Clients tend to choose fairly neutral colours that go with everything but don't forget you can have

Q&A with Isobel Stewart at Sphere8

What are the advantages of a poured resin floor over, say, a vinyl floor?

Obviously there are the eco benefits of using a sustainably-derived product. But when it comes to vinyl or rubber flooring, these floors tend to come in sheets or tile form, so you don’t have the wastage associated with them Our floors are poured and are built-up in layers so they are completely seamless in any interior. We can work within any space and over several floors. We have expert installers who carry out our projects – so you don’t need to source or pay for  a third-party installer.  We also offer complete flexibility in colour and design – unlike vinyl flooring that comes in set ranges. 

A poured floor - it sounds like it could be very messy to install! 

It’s definitely an expert process, but it’s not that messy! Essentially our floors are made up of several layers that are each poured and then allowed to cure – they are poured from a bucket, and spread carefully using a trowel. So in a standard residential project we would first check the subfloor (and recommend any repairs if necessary) and then pour the first primer layer. A second primer layer is added (these are about 1mm together), before the base coat. The body coat (the thickest layer at about 2mm) contains the pigment – determining what colour your floor is. Then we lay 1 – 2 seal coats which are UV stable and create the final matt silk finish. 

How does a poured floor score on longevity - if you have it in your home and you have kids running around, is it easy to look after? 

These floors are very durable. We advise that if you have young children or a lot of foot traffic to perhaps steer clear of a solid white floor. In general, the more ‘noise’ a floor has (i.e. movement of colour/terrazzo aggregate)the better it is at disguising the odd scratch, dirt or dust. A solid gloss floor in a light colour probably does require a more pristine lifestyle. But as long as you use common sense, poured resin floors are as easy to maintain as carpet, wood or vinyl. 

In terms of price how does resin compare to say stone/porcelain tiles or Amtico vinyl?

Our floors work out from £150 m2 so thay may be more expensive than ceramic tiles – but remember our price does include all materials and installation. Over a large area, we are a similar price to Amtico. I would stress there’s no wastage with resin, we charge only for what we pour.

Are more Brits becoming receptive to the idea of a poured resin floor?

The market here is growing. We've noticed a lot of people are coming to us for floors that look like polished concrete but also because they want a soft warm easycare floor with no joins to spoil the sense of expanse.