Thinking about new flooring, but don’t know where to start? Check out our suggestions for 5 super sustainable, eco-friendly flooring materials for your home.
I think we can all agree that less is more when it comes to post-consumer waste. And the types of materials we choose during our endeavors are equally as important. Fortunately, we have several viable options for you to keep in mind when planning your next flooring project.
Whether it’s a natural, earthy look you’re trying to achieve, or a sophisticated and polished appearance, there’s sure to be something that fits your décor and your lifestyle – children and pets included.
Obtained from a variety of sources, reclaimed wood is as unique as the location from which it comes. Some may come from structural beams and timbers of old warehouses and factories, while other reclaimed floor materials are salvaged from tongue and groove planks that were also once used as flooring (similar to the flooring depicted in the image above from Eco Friendly Flooring). Reclaimed wood spares the destruction of perfectly good forests, is durable, and beautiful.
Never fear, if you’re not into the reclaimed look, then check out wood flooring that’s sustainably harvested and is Forest Stewardship Council certified instead.
When harvested correctly, cork flooring is created by peeling away the bark every 9 to 12 years while keeping the tree alive, rather than sacrificing it. Cork naturally absorbs sound, thanks to its millions of air-filled pockets, and feels soft beneath your feet.
It’s dent resistant, although it does have the propensity to show scratches, and is much more durable than many might believe. Cork trees are thought to store carbon in order to regenerate their bark, and the less they are harvested the more the carbon they absorb.
The particular cork flooring shown above from Duro Design is actually composed of 100 percent post-industrial recycled content from wine-stopper production.
Not all bamboo flooring is created equal. It’s important to trust the manufacturer’s claims before purchasing, but once you’re sure of that, then you should have no problem enjoying the benefits and beauty of bamboo flooring, especially when choosing a company like Green Building Supply. Bamboo is said to be strongest when it has reached the 5 to 7 year maturity mark and is lauded for its rapid regrowth, unlike traditional forests that take years upon years to reach maturity.
Bamboo flooring is crafted from individual strands or strips that are glued together to form planks in a variety of colors and styles. Because some adhesives can be toxic, be sure the seller uses glue with no added urea formaldehyde or a water-based adhesive. Woven or strand-woven engineered bamboo is believed to be the most environmentally friendly and strongest of the three because it uses the least amount of glue and the blending of woods that goes into the engineering process.
Believe it or not, linoleum is a very sustainable choice in floor coverings. It’s made from linseed oil, which comes from the flax plant, along with resins, limestone, powdered cork, and recycled wood flour. Non-toxic color pigments are added and jute backing is used for sheet floors. Linoleum is comprised of approximately 36 percent of rapidly renewable materials and 35 percent recycled materials.
Linoleum can last for up to 40 years and is naturally anti-bacterial and biodegradable. The multitude of available colors permeates the material, therefore allowing you to buff out stains or scratches. Check out the marmoleum (linoleum) available on the Forbo website – it has a great selection and inspiration gallery.
Recycled clay, cement, and stone tiles, like those found on the Eco Friendly Flooring website, will add charm and character to any space. These are sourced from reclaimed glazed brick slices, recycled cement hexagons, and even upcycled roofing slates. This is a great option for a one-of-a-kind floor with a natural appeal that’s also good for the environment. Check out the recycled rubber tiles for a unique and colorful flair while you’re over there taking a peek.
Now that you’ve gotten the scoop on 5 great eco-friendly flooring materials for your home, we want to know what you think. Do you have a favorite pick from our list? What are some of your favorite eco-friendly flooring materials? Let us know when you stop by the EcoSalon Facebook page!
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Image of Chair on Wood Floor via Green Building Supply