Super exciting news: We’ve discovered resilient tile flooring — with sparkly, glittery mica embedded in the top layers. It’s so… sparkly! Before writing this story, I ordered a sample, just to be sure, and when it arrived, I jumped with joy to see the flecks, all twinkling at me in the cold sunshiney day. This flooring is available in black and white… and in a wide variety of sizes, including tiles (starting at 12″ square), planks and deco strips (yes!).
Update: After a few years of availability after this 2015 story, this was discontinued. Alas. So pretty. I’ll leave the story up for the archive. Maybe they will bring it back!
“Glint Orb” and “Glint Void” from Mannington Commercial Amtico
- This wonderful addition to our Retro Renovation flooring arsenal is from Mannington Commercial’s Amtico brand, and it’s available in two colors, Glint Orb (mica on white) and Glint Void (mica on black).
You know I am not particularly a fan of voids, so I ordered a sample of the white. It’s pretty white. (Not as white as appliance white, the flooring is creamier.) Which, ya know, is fine with me. Lots of people say they want light and brite kitchens. Well, put this sprinkle o’ sparkles in white on your kitchen floor, and you’ll be doing a happy dance everytime you walk inside the room. Will it show the dirt? Yes, methinks it will. But this is commercial flooring — and it appears that it does not need extra polishing. So keep that sponge mop and bucket handy and deal. Or better yet: Make your kids sweep and quick-sponge-mop the kitchen every night after dinner. It’s good for them. Builds character.
I would consider using this flooring in many a room: Kitchen, bathrooms, office, basement(check specs), heck, maybe even a living room, family room or bedroom, if the design plan made sense. WE ARE TALKING SPARKLE FLOORING HERE, PEEPLES!
All mica is glitter, but not all glitter is mica
In researching this story, I learned that all mica is glitter, but all glitter is not mica. The mica-wiki:
The mica group of sheet silicate (phyllosilicate) minerals includes several closely related materials having close to perfect basal cleavage….. The word mica is derived from the Latin word, mica, meaning a crumb, and probably influenced by micare, to glitter.
The glitter-wiki on Modern Glitter — and wouldn’t you know it, modern glitter is a mid-century invention!:
The first production of modern plastic glitter is credited to American cattle farmer and machinist Henry Ruschmann, based on a patent filled shortly after the end of the Second World War for a mechanism for cross-cutting films as well as other related inventions….With German glass glitter unavailable due to the war, Ruschmann found a market for scrap material ground into glitter made of plastics…. He founded Meadowbrook Inventions, Inc. in Bernardsville, New Jersey, and the company is still a producer of industrial glitter….
Today over 20,000 varieties of glitter are manufactured in a vast number of different colors, sizes, and materials. Over 10,000,000 pounds (4,500,000 kg) of glitter was purchased between the years of 1989 and 2009 alone. Commercial glitter ranges in size from 0.002 square inches (1.3 mm2) to 0.25 square inches (160 mm2).First, flat multi-layered sheets are produced combining plastic, coloring, and reflective material such as aluminium, titanium dioxide, iron oxide, and bismuth oxychloride. These sheets are then cut into tiny particles of many shapes including squares, rectangles, and hexagons…
Meadowbrook Inventions — in business since 1934 — woot!
How chunky is the mica in this flooring?
Using crafting and ceiling glitter as a reference: I’ve seen Papa Bear glitter, Momma Bear glitter and Baby Bear glitter. I would say that the Mica in this flooring is a pal of Baby Bear’s. It’s kind of delicate… maybe a wee bit smaller than the glitter in vintage glitter laminate. I would not mind if it were a bit chunkier. But I am not looking a gift horse in the mouth. It’s still pretty darn fun, I can only guess that Mannington Commercial did not want to push their luck with the enormous commercial market by making the design too screamy.
Is the mica silver or gold?
Is the mica silver or gold? Yes. As you can tell by my unhelpful question and answer, I am not sure. I *think* it’s silver. But, it seems to reflect whatever is around it. In the yellowish light of my dining room, the glitter looks gold. Holding the tile upright in front of the camera… or in front of my kitchen window, and the flecks look silver. Lay the tile down in the kitchen, and the flecks darken up. I will suggest: Very versatile.
These tiles all have a bevel edge. It’s very very thin — I don’t think I would even have noticed it on my single tile, except that I saw it mentioned in the specifications, so I want to take a closer look. Given the bevelled edges, each installed tile will not butt against the others totally flat, like other vinyl composite tiles I’ve seen before. I don’t think these very narrow beveled edges tile-to-tile would bug me; I think they might actually look quite nice, putting each tile into a teensy bit of relief. That said, before I committed — to an all-white or all-black floor, especially — I’d probably get at least for and see how the bevels look in place.
Many sizes available for this sparkle flooring
Digging through a number of Mannington’s catalogs, I found this eye chart, which shows you the sizes available. Note, I turned it sideways so you could read the sizes… Glitter Orb and Glitter Void are on the far left of the top row… match the dots to the sizes in the last column:
One big Mannington catalog also showed these very cool ways to mix, match and angle standard size tiles and planks to get a variety of flooring effects. Again, Glint Orb and Glint Void are aimed at the commercial market — so the company has made a wide variety of sizes and shapes available to industrial and contract designers to work with. (Note, for a residential kitchen, I’d likely keep the design simple, but it’s still intriguing to look at these ideas):
Just for commercial customers — custom cuts
Note: If you are a true commercial customer, Mannington will work with on custom work to create effects like this (extra design fees required):
Thin feature strips – available in many colors
The two Orb designs — and many others (not just the colors shown above) — are available stock as feature strips in the following widths: 1/8″… 1/4″… 3/8″… 1/2″… and 3/4″. (Image also taken from the big catalog.)
Wow! The possibilities — not just for trimming out the Orb flooring, but for trimming out any vinyl or vinyl composite tile. Use this feature strips to much more easily design outlines for “rugs” …. or …. what else?
- Archeologists have found mica on cave paintings that are 30,000 years old! How appropriate to put some in our caves! Who’s game? 🙂