When building or remodeling your home, choosing green flooring options is a great way to reduce environmental impact and protect your family’s health without sacrificing beauty or durability.
Here are five great green flooring options that will help create a beautiful and eco-friendly home for your family:
Many people consider hardwood floors to be the most beautiful flooring option. They are also long-lasting, durable, and versatile. The most eco-friendly hardwood flooring option is reclaimed hardwood flooring. Reclaimed wood flooring is made from wood that has been salvaged from an old building. “Recycling” wood in this way not only conserves resources, it also results in a completely unique floor rich in history and natural patina.
Avoid reclaimed wood flooring that has been treated with formaldehyde or other materials high in volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are harmful to the environment and human health.
Aged Woods offers a wide selection of gorgeous Forest Stewardship Council-certified wood flooring made from reclaimed barn wood, including antique oak, maple, white pine and even rare American Chestnut!
Bamboo flooring is one of the most popular eco-friendly flooring options for good reason. Bamboo is one of the world’s most renewable resources, and it is usually grown without chemical pesticides or fertilizers. It produces an attractive floor that is dense, durable, and easy to install.
Look for bamboo that is certified sustainable by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and that contains no formaldehyde adhesives or other toxic finishing materials.
Teragren offers a line of pure FSC-certified bamboo flooring
Cork is a beautiful eco-friendly alternative to hardwood flooring. Cork flooring is made from the bark of the cork oak, which is sustainably harvested in a way that does not damage the tree. Cork is naturally shock absorbent, fire, mold, and insect resistant, and anti-allergenic. It is also a good sound absorber.
The primary disadvantage of cork is the relatively high cost and the energy required to transport the raw materials from Europe, the native home of the cork oak. It is also important to purchase cork flooring that has not been treated with formaldehyde.
DuroDesign offers a line of recycled cork flooring made from 100% recycled cork from wine stopper production. The flooring comes in a choice of 54 colors and six patterns, and can be purchased as tiles or planks.
Concrete floors have been popular in basements and garages for decades, but recently they have become popular in interior design as well. Thanks to improved technology and an almost endless array of finishing options, concrete floors can now be made to resemble almost any other material you might want.
Concrete is not the most eco-friendly material to create, due to the high amounts of energy used in its production. However, it is extremely durable when installed and maintained properly, so it will last for decades or even centuries, and it doesn’t releases any VOCs, trap mold or dust, or cause any other environmental health issues like carpet. It is also an excellent source of thermal mass, which can be used to help reduce heating and cooling needs.
Kemiko Concrete Stains offers beautiful stains for luxurious and eco-friendly concrete flooring that resembles marble or glazed stone at a fraction of the price.
Rammed earth is an ancient building technique that has been experiencing a revival in popularity due to its environmental benefits. Rammed earth is literally dirt mixed with water and stabilizing agents and rammed until it’s hard. The floor is then sealed with an oxidizing oil such as linseed or hemp oil.
Though you might expect rammed earth to be dusty, difficult to clean, or prone to damage, rammed earth floors are easy to clean and maintain. Though somewhat softer than concrete, they are still durable and easily repaired if damage occurs.
The environmental benefits of rammed earth floors are undeniable. In addition to using primarily inexpensive, local materials, rammed earth floors produce minimal construction waste and use little energy to produce. They are also a great way to add thermal mass to your home, reducing heating and cooling bills.
Rammed Earth Solar Homes has specialized in combining beautiful rammed earth floors and homes with passive solar design for more than 30 years.