What is sustainable flooring?
More and more people are becoming aware of the importance of selecting products made from sustainable materials. Doing so stops the environment from being stripped and ravaged. Our limited natural resources are just that, limited, so many home products are now being made with either recycled materials or, in the case of wood, from trees and plants that grow and replenish rapidly.
Sustainable flooring is made from materials that have little negative impact on the environment such as bamboo and timber, and made with manufacturing processes that cause less pollution than other processes.
The Advantages of Sustainable Flooring
Sustainable flooring has a few wonderful advantages. First, it reduces your exposure to harmful pollutants and chemicals which can cause everything from cancer to asthma to allergies and more. It can also cost you less than other mass produced flooring choices. And finally, it just looks beautiful and, well, natural in your home.
Examples of Sustainable Flooring
There are many sustainable flooring products available today and you are sure to find one that will fit the style of your home.
Cork tiles have been around for awhile and are becoming more and more popular with homeowners every day. They are durable and stand up to mold and mildew, so they work great in bathrooms. Made from shredded wood, cork tiles can be stained or woven into intricate patterns and designs that are eye catching and beautiful.
No, these tiles are not made from old tires. They are made from either virgin sustainable sources or from recycled rubber that isn’t made from a crude-oil byproduct. These tiles are great in high traffic areas and also do a wonderful job of absorbing noise. If you live in an apartment or condominium, these would be an attractive flooring choice that will help keep your neighbor’s noise to themselves.
Recycled Metal Tiles
This flooring choice is becoming increasingly popular especially with hipsters who live in urban areas. Made from recycled aluminum or brass, these tiles aren’t all shiny and silver, many can be color treated and finished with a matte look. They are very versatile and add a nice texture and design element to your home.
Bamboo is one of the greatest sustainable materials because it is a grass and not a hard wood from a tree. Bamboo can replace itself completely in just 4 to 6 years. Compare that to a hardwood tree which can take 20 to 40 years to grow and you see why this green product has made such an impact. Bamboo floors look beautiful in any home and come in many colors and styles.
Some Things to Consider When Selecting Sustainable Flooring
What’s your budget? Before you can select the material you’ll have to decide if it will professionally installed or a DIY weekend project. Knowing your out of pocket installation expense upfront, you can then determine how much of your budget you’ll have left for the actual flooring.
What will it take to maintain the floor? Will it be easy to clean? Will it require any additional work over the years such as sanding or buffing? Factor this into your decision-making.
How much wear and tear will the floor receive? Is it for a high traffic area like the main entryway? Do you have children? Pets?
Research Before You Buy
It’s not always enough to research the materials you will choose, you’ve also got to do a bit of research on the company you will buy from. Sustainability is big business nowadays and many manufacturers will make “green” claims because they want to see green in increased sales. Do your homework and look for the following:
Make sure you see a certification label on any wood that is claimed sustainable.
Check out the ingredients. If you see any VOC, polyurethane or formaldehyde-based chemicals, do not purchase.
Ask what the shipping distance is for the flooring. The longer the shipping distance the more transportation energy and gas emissions involved.
Sustainable floors are better for the environment, better for your health and for your wallet. Oh, and they look beautiful too!