Eco-Friendly Flooring

Consumers are becoming more environmentally conscious with the realization of human impact on the planet. Many people are now concerned with their environmental footprint, trying to reduce the burden they place on the planet. Flooring is available in several eco-friendly materials for the environmentally savvy buyer. Regardless of the wood style desired or the room chosen, there’s likely a more sustainable, environmentally friendly alternative.

Choosing “green” flooring doesn’t mean a sacrifice in fashion, quality, or durability. Eco-friendly floors can also be more cost effective, around 15 percent less than conventional flooring.

Cork, bamboo, and linoleum are all made from renewable resources. Cork is harvested from the outer bark of the tree, so the tree is not killed during the process. The cork can be collected every 10 years. Bamboo has the appearance of wood, but is actually a fast-growing grass. The bamboo plant matures in three to six years, versus more than 50 years for a maple or oak tree. Linoleum is made of naturally occurring linseed oil and other renewable materials including cork dust, rosin, and wood powder. All of these materials are hypo-allergenic and easy to clean.

Cork Flooring

Uncoated cork flooring is a warmer material, more comfortable to the touch. Cork is a soft wood, better at dampening ambient sound than most other flooring and can be installed anywhere wood would typically be. While cork provides thermal and acoustic insulation, it is also absorbent and therefore not a good selection for bathrooms or kitchens. Cork is fire retardant and is a natural insect repellant, discouraging pests such as termites from making a home. Very durable, cork flooring is easily repaired if dents are created. Cork is also anti-microbial, helping to reduce home allergens.

Bamboo Flooring

Bamboo is the green alternative to hardwood. Although bamboo is really a grass, it is surprisingly much harder than other hardwoods and extremely durable, able to withstand damage from the impact of falling kitchen objects or high traffic areas such as hallways or living rooms. Bamboo is naturally very light, but is available in a variety of hues to accentuate any dècor. The natural growth patterns of bamboo provide a warm environment to any room.

Linoleum Flooring

Linoleum is often confused with vinyl, but the two are very different materials. Vinyl is a synthetic material made of harmful chemicals. Linoleum on the other hand is made from all natural, highly renewable resources. Linoleum is lightweight and water resistant, and ideal for high-moisture locations. This flooring type is very inexpensive to purchase and install. Extremely durable and fire retardant, linoleum can last as long as 40 years, and typically comes with a manufactures warranty of 25 years.

Reclaimed Wood

Another slightly less eco-friendly material for flooring is reclaimed or recycled wood. While this wood does represent a tree that is cut down, the wood is second-life and not grown on farms. Reclaimed wood also provides species options that would otherwise not be available, as regulations now prevent their harvesting.

This is a guest post by Justin, who runs a small hardwood and laminate shop, Flooring HQ Store. He loves to share his knowledge about all of the flooring and home improvement options available on the market today.