Attractive and Durable Flooring Products Using Specialty Minerals Calcium Carbonates

Whether for new construction or remodeling, industrial or residential use, owners want good-looking, well-performing floor coverings. Ground calcium carbonates (GCCs) and ground dolomites (calcium magnesium carbonates) can help make the products your customers want.

Ground calcium carbonates and dolomites are used as the primary filler in a variety of floor coverings and associated products, including:

  • Resilient vinyl composite tile (VCT)
  • Resilient sheet or roll flooring
  • Vinyl cove molding
  • Latex-based carpet backing

Calcium Carbonate in Vinyl Composite Tile
One of the largest uses for ground calcium carbonates and dolomites is in the manufacture of vinyl composite tile (VCT). Calcium carbonate is the primary filler, minimizing manufacturing costs by acting as an extender for the polyvinyl chloride (PVC) resin. Vinyl composite tile is highly filled, typically with GCC loading levels averaging 75 to 80%. Manufacturers choose ground calcium carbonates and dolomitic limestones because they provide optimal packing density, again reducing resin demand, and their good color alleviates the need for excessive amounts of costly titanium dioxide pigment. Grades 40 to 50 mesh in size are most often used.

Calcium Carbonate in Vinyl Sheet Flooring
Vinyl sheet flooring has become very popular, especially in its no-wax varieties. Roll or sheet flooring contains lower levels of calcium carbonate or dolomite filler than does vinyl composite tile. The sheet’s backing layer typically contains 50% GCC—usually a finer grade to give the desired flexibility, while the face layer has little or no filler content. For vinyl sheet flooring, the calcium carbonate filler is usually a 200 or 325 mesh product.

Calcium Carbonate in Vinyl Cove Molding
Flexible cove molding is also a calcium carbonate-filled product. A finely ground calcium carbonate, about 5 to 6 microns in median particle size, provides the flexibility and strength needed in this extruded vinyl building component.

Calcium Carbonate in Carpet Backing
Latex-based carpet backing is the coating on the reverse side of a woven carpet that holds the fibers in place. In addition to bonding, the carpet-back coating provides a balance of resiliency and stiffness. Carpet backing is usually made from a styrene-butadiene-based thermosetting latex emulsion, with a ground calcium carbonate or ground dolomite used as a filler and whitener. GCC provides cost savings by extending the latex while also adding stiffness to the backing. Particle size distribution is the most important parameter when selecting a filler, with the ground calcium carbonates used normally being 200 mesh, but averaging 56% minus 325 mesh. The brightness requirements on the GCC generally vary by carpet style, quality, and manufacturer preference.

Specialty Minerals Calcium Carbonates For Flooring Products
SMI manufactures a broad range of ground calcium carbonate and dolomite products to service the floor coverings industry. Three SMI plants in the U.S. provide products for flooring.


Among the ground products for flooring are grades from the following product families:

  • Vicron® GCCs – East – high brightness, fine grind calcium carbonates, made in Adams, Massachsetts
  • Vicron® GCCs –  West – high brightness, fine grind calcium carbonates, made in Lucerne Valley, California
  • Marblewhite® GCCs – East – high brightness 200 and 325 mesh ground limestones, from the Adams plant.
  • Marblewhite® GCCs – West – high brightness 200 and 325 mesh ground limestones, from the Lucerne Valley plant.
  • ATF™ GCCs – good brightness 10 to 40 mesh ground limestones, made in Adams.
  • Vical® GCCs – good brightness 16 to 100 mesh ground limestones, made in Lucerne Valley.
  • Dolocron® dolomites– high brightness 200 to 325 mesh ground dolomites, manufactured in Canaan, Connecticut.
  • DF™ dolomites – bright 10 to 50 mesh ground dolomites, from Canaan.

During manufacturing, SMI takes great pains to control particle size and particle size distribution, key properties in these applications. All Specialty Minerals GCC and dolomite plants are ISO 9001 certified.

Use the Contact Us form to have a Specialty Minerals sales representative call with additional information about VinylBrite™ precipitated calcium carbonate.