On the Greener Living Blog, we talk a lot about bamboo floors, and we’ve dedicated dozens of blogs to the subject. Now, while our readers love to be informed about the various bamboo topics, some of you have raised the topic of eucalyptus floors.
So we’re dedicating this blog to the pros and cons of Eucalyptus flooring, including its environmental impacts, its cost, and its look. Read on to find out all you’ll ever need to know about eucalyptus flooring and if it’s right for your house.
What is eucalyptus flooring?
It’s flooring made from the wood of the eucalyptus tree – a fact that should surprise no one with even the faintest grip on language. They have become much more common in the past few years and are featured in homes, offices, shops, and restaurants all over the world.
Some fast facts about the eucalyptus tree
- Most commonly associated with Australia
- Grown all over the world
- More than 700 varieties of eucalyptus trees
- Used to create a range of products for humans from antibacterial wipes to slogan tees to office desks to floors
- Reaches maturity in just 5-10 years
- Koalas love eating it
- Can grow to 300 ft
Eucalyptus flooring pros and cons
The advantages of eucalyptus flooring
First, we’ll discuss the many advantages of eucalyptus floors, especially compared with hardwood floors. Basically, if you’re looking for an attractive and affordable floor that will stand the test of time and be kind to the environment, then eucalyptus is the right choice for you.
1. Moisture resistant
If you want a floor that can be installed in an area of the country with high humidity (i.e. Florida) or a room in your house that has a lot of moisture (i.e. kitchen, bathroom, basement), then eucalyptus floors are the perfect fit for you.
The eucalyptus plants are grown in the humid, tropical regions of South America, Australia, and Asia, so they are already adapted to a little moisture in the air. This means they can easily stand up to a little water or moisture. In most cases, they do better than hardwoods in areas of high humidity.
Always check with your manufacturer to make sure you can install the eucalyptus floors in the place you want. They may advise on a specific installation method, or using only engineered eucalyptus floors, or taking some other precautions in humid areas. Failure to abide by the instructions could void your warranty.
If you’re looking to save money, eucalyptus floors will a great investment for you. Not only are they roughly half the price of hardwood floors, but they’re also easy to install for a DIY-er and will last so much longer. This means you’ll save money initially as well as down the road.
Also, the price will only go down as eucalyptus floors get more popular with consumers. Win-win.
The reason it costs so little? Because eucalyptus trees grow more quickly than hardwood trees; the supply is less strained. Less demand for resources means less cost to the consumer, just like with any product from gasoline to the latest Barbie doll.
With the threat of indoor air pollution on the rise, you’ll want to make sure that the products that you bring into your house aren’t making the problem worse.
That’s why you should ensure that your eucalyptus flooring seller is meeting strict standards about the emissions of VOCs – don’t worry, most do. Look for Floorscore certification on the brand you’re considering.
One of the key advantages of eucalyptus flooring is that it is able to withstand the punishment of everyday life. That doesn’t mean you can leave them to do your tax return or balance your checkbook, but it does mean that eucalyptus floors will be able to take all that your family has to throw at it.
That’s right, eucalyptus floors can withstand:
- your daughter’s soccer team as they run through to the backyard
- your son’s band, even if the bass does seem to be shaking the house
- your pets, both big and small
How? Well simply put, strand woven eucalyptus floors are a huuuuge two times harder than red oak. Even regular (not strand woven) eucalyptus floors are stronger than most hardwoods, and they can last for years or even decades without needing repairing or replacing.
Eucalyptus floors are incredibly attractive, whether you choose the natural look of the planks or alter them to fit in with your existing décor. This is a great thing for you since it will make you feel happier with the look of your house, but it will also add to the value of your home should you ever have to sell.
Eucalyptus floors can be altered using a variety of textures, colors, and glosses to suit anyone’s style, whether you want light modern vibes or a rustic frontier look. All you have to do is choose from your manufacturer’s vast collection.
You can even personalize the floor to your specific taste during installation by choosing how to lay out your planks, which will vary slightly according to the growth patterns of the individual eucalyptus tree.
6. Easy to install
There are three methods of installation for eucalyptus floors: glue down, nail down, and float. Each one is simple enough for a DIY novice to undertake and can be completed in just one day, leaving you more money and time to enjoy yourself.
If you want to install them yourself, we even have an easy-to-follow blog about it on the site.
7. Low maintenance
No one wants to spend their precious time cleaning or repairing their floor. We all have better things to do, whether that’s watching TV, playing sports, or even just sleeping in on a Sunday. Why should we have to waste that time doing things for our floors?
Well, we don’t think you should have to. Eucalyptus floors are a great low maintenance option for today’s busy lifestyles, leaving you more time to do what you want. As mentioned above, they’re resistant to moisture and highly durable, so there is less cleaning and more time between repairs.
Want to know how easy it is to clean eucalyptus floors? Simply sweep or vacuum them once a week. If you feel that the eucalyptus floors need a more intense cleaning, then you can lightly damp mop them or use specialized hardwood floor cleaning products, but this would be a rare occurrence.
If you want proof about the durability of eucalyptus floors, then take a look at your warranty. Most eucalyptus floors come with a minimum 25-year warranty; if something goes wrong with the floor during that time, you can get your money back.
That’s the kind of confidence you want from someone selling you a floor! You don’t want is to replace such a massive item every few years. Aside from the money, it’s way too much of a hassle to keep clearing the room.
Of course, the warranty will be voided if you do something to cause the damage (i.e. turning the dining room into a roller rink, installing the floors incorrectly) or in the case of a natural disaster (i.e. floods).
If you’re looking for a floor that is kind to the environment, eucalyptus flooring is a fantastic choice for many reasons. Let’s look at just a few of the reasons why eucalyptus is greener than the average flooring material:
- Doesn’t harm koalas: Everybody knows that eucalyptus is the main food for koalas, but what you may not know is that using eucalyptus for flooring doesn’t starve any adorable marsupials. You see, koalas are rarely found outside of Australia and the commercial eucalyptus industry operates mainly out of Asia and South America. Therefore, the koalas would never have gotten their fluffy paws on that eucalyptus anyway.
- Sustainable growth: Eucalyptus trees should always be grown in a suitable manner without harming the local environment or the people that live there. As such, check out your manufacturer’s environmental certifications and make sure they’re harvested from well-managed forests, or lay out an extra $1-$2 per sq ft and request a custom order certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) (most high-quality brands offer this option but there may be a lead time and minimum order quantity required).
- Rapidly renewable resource: Eucalyptus takes about 3-10 years to reach full maturity, which means that when it is cut down to be made into floorboards, less damage is done to the surrounding environment. Compare this with hardwood trees, which take around 50 years to reach maturity, and you’ll see that uprooting them could be an environmental disaster
- Uses fewer resources: Due to their rapid growth time, eucalyptus trees actually use far fewer resources (i.e. water and fertilizer) than hardwood trees.
- Gentle cleaning: Because you don’t have to use harsh chemicals on eucalyptus floors to keep them clean, you won’t be contributing to air pollution (with chemical vapors) or water pollution (from tipping the cleaning solution down the drain).
- A staggered growing season: Unlike most plants, eucalyptus trees can be grown throughout the year, decreasing damage to the local eco-system helps reduce soil erosion, habitat destruction, and maintains water quality.
- Shorter shipping time: While most eucalyptus that is grown commercially comes from China, you might be shocked to learn that it’s more environmentally friendly to choose them than all-American hardwoods. You see, China is the world manufacturing hub for floors because it’s cheaper there and there aren’t any manufacturing plants in the USA. This means that even many hardwoods sourced in the Americas have to be shipped to China for milling and finishing and before they make it into your home.
The disadvantages of eucalyptus flooring
As with all things in life, there are some cons to eucalyptus floors, but it is important to note that these disadvantages can only really be seen in comparison to bamboo floors. When compared to hardwood floors, eucalyptus comes out on top in every single way.
1. Slightly more expensive than bamboo
While eucalyptus flooring is roughly half the cost of hardwood flooring, bamboo does have the competitive edge in terms of pricing. Bamboo flooring is only one-third the cost of hardwood flooring, making it roughly 20% cheaper than eucalyptus flooring.
However, considering how low cost both eucalyptus and bamboo flooring are, it probably won’t make a lot of difference to your overall cost.
2. Less widely available
It’s hardly the fault of the eucalyptus floor itself, but it’s not widely available in traditional flooring retailers across the US. Thus, those who want to purchase eucalyptus flooring are often choosing to go online to search for a variety of options.
That just about wraps up our look into the pros and cons of eucalyptus floors, so now we’d like to hear your thoughts on the subject.
Do you have eucalyptus floors in your home? Did this article inspire you to get some? Do you have any more questions about eucalyptus floors?
Let us know all that and more in the comments section below. You might even make it into our next article!