So you want a new floor but want something eco-friendly and sustainable. There are plenty of worthwhile, cost-effective options out there, so you won’t need to sacrifice quality to go green and be earth-friendly with your floors. As an added bonus, green flooring is generally a healthier option for your family as well! Here are our selections for the greenest, most eco-friendly home flooring choices.
Many people mistake linoleum for vinyl, but they are actually very different. Vinyl is a petroleum by-product and its creation can produce toxic chemicals. Linoleum is natural, made from linseed oil, tree resin, and some other materials found in nature. Linoleum is also biodegradable, while vinyl decidedly is not. Often people have a misconception of linoleum as an outdated, probably environmentally harmful flooring type when really it is quite the opposite.
Bamboo is one of the fastest growing plants on the earth, making it a very sustainable, renewable resource when farmed correctly. Where a typical hardwood species takes 50 to 100 years before it can be harvested, bamboo only takes 5 to 6 years. Though bamboo is technically a grass, it is just as hard as most hardwoods like oak or maple. Also, bamboo is easy to clean and more water resistant than some other hardwood species.
Cork? You mean the plug in the wine bottle? Yes, we mean that cork. Today cork is also becoming a trend in building materials because it is soft, insulating, sound dampening, easy to maintain and eco-friendly. Rather than harvest the wood of the cork tree, cork comes from the bark, which grows back over time and sheds naturally. This makes it a renewable resource, because it is possible to harvest multiple times from the same tree.
FSC Certified Hardwood
There are 10 principals and 56 criteria to meet to become a Forest Stewardship Council certified hardwood. FSC certified hardwood come from forests which “have to be managed to meet the social, economic, ecological, cultural and spiritual needs of present and future generations.” While it may not be easy, and while it’s also more expensive than other hardwoods, if you’re looking for a green hardwood flooring option then FSC certified is the way to go.
Natural Fiber Carpets
There are also many earth-conscious carpet options on the market today. Sisal, seagrass, and wool carpets are all crafted from natural fibers. The benefits of natural fiber carpets (as well as the rest of the eco-friendly flooring types we have already mentioned) are twofold. Obviously, they are less harmful to the environment when they are harvested and installed. Furthermore, natural fiber carpets and other green flooring types are also better for kids and pets. The hypoallergenic properties of sustainable materials mean that you won’t aggravate allergies or sensitive kids and pets.
Let it be known that you also don’t have to skimp on style when it comes to eco-friendly flooring. Bamboo floors are quite visually appealing, cork and linoleum come in a wide range of colors and styles, and natural fiber carpets are barely recognizable compared to synthetics. Going green with your flooring will benefit you, your family, and your home in many ways. With so many eco-friendly flooring options, you can find a flooring type for any room of the home that will also be friendly to the environment.