10 Most Popular Eco-Friendly Flooring Solutions

10 Most Popular Eco-Friendly Flooring Solutions

10 Most Popular Eco-Friendly Flooring Solutions

There was a time when the termeco-friendly evoked images of bland, boring and blah materials. Thankfully, that is not the case today.  As more and more designers are seeking out eco-friendly materials for their environmentally savvy clients manufacturers have stepped up and given the design world many beautiful options to pick from.  I have assembled a guide of the most popular eco-flooring solutions, some are new, some are old and a few will make you think.

1. Cork

Cork is relatively new to the flooring world. It is usually seen on walls or in your favorite bottle of wine, but it is great material for floors.  Cork is harvested from the bark of the cork oak tree commonly found in the forests of the Mediterranean. The trees are not cut down to harvest the bark, which will grow back every three years, making it an ideal renewable source.  It has anti-microbial properties that reduce allergens in the home, is fire retardant, easy to maintain and acts as a natural insect repellent too. Cork, like wood can be finished in a variety of paints and stains to suit any color scheme or design style.  Its durability allows for uses in any part of the house.   Cork floors, depending on the quality, can last between 10-30 years.

2. Bamboo 

Bamboo flooring is another wood like option that is gaining in popularity.  It is actually a grass that shares similar characteristics as hardwood.  It is durable, easy to maintain and is easy to install.  Bamboo is sustainable and made from natural vegetation that grows to maturity in three to five years, far less than the twenty years trees can take.  Bamboo, while usually very light, is available in many hues that will work in any setting or decor.  Its varied grains and wide array of colors give it an edge over traditional flooring by allowing for customization not often found elsewhere.

3. Linoleum

When one thinks of linoleum flooring, vinyl tends to come to mind and yet the two are nowhere close to each other.  Vinyl is a synthetic made of chlorinated petrochemicals that are harmful.  Linoleum is created from a concoction of linseed oil, cork dust, tree resins, wood flour, pigments and ground limestone.   Like cork, it is fire retardant and water resistant.  Linoleum is not new to the market; it fell out of favor with the introduction of vinyl in the 1940’s. As architects and designers began asking for it again, it reemerged with a vast array of bright vibrant colors and a new sealer to protect it from stains.  It has a long shelf life and will hold up to a lot of wear and tear.

4. Glass Tiles 

5. Concrete

6. Wool Carpet

7. P.E.T Berber Carpet

8. Rubber

9. Leather

Leather is a surprising material that can be used as flooring.  It is derived from the center-most part of the cowhide and is thicker than the leather pieces used for such things as belts, wallets and handbags.  The soft warm feel under foot makes it perfect for bedrooms, closets and small areas with little foot traffic.  It is not a great material for bathrooms, kitchens or other moist areas of a home.  It is very durable and will wear well over time. Worn, scratched and aged leather develops a personality of its own and can be beautiful to look at for years to come.

10. Reclaimed Hardwood

If you have your heart set on traditional hardwood flooring, while not usually considered eco-friendly due deforestation concerns, it can still be an option.   There are two types of hard wood to consider.  Reclaimed wood is ideal as it reuses existing wood from trees that were chopped down a long, long time ago.  Salvaged wood flooring can look beautiful in older homes or in a beach cottage.

The other option is to purchase hardwood labeled FSC certified.  This is a designation by the Forest Stewardship Council and they promote the responsible management of forests throughout the world with a focus on adhering to high social and environmental standards.

Luckily with today’s technology and a bit of imagination, eco-friendly flooring does not have to come at the expense of style.  Smart consumers can have both.  So what do you think, have eco-friendly materials evolved?

10 Most Popular Eco-Friendly Flooring Solutions

There was a time when the termeco-friendly evoked images of bland, boring and blah materials. Thankfully, that is not the case today.  As more and more designers are seeking out eco-friendly materials for their environmentally savvy clients manufacturers have stepped up and given the design world many beautiful options to pick from.  I have assembled a guide of the most popular eco-flooring solutions, some are new, some are old and a few will make you think.

1. Cork

Cork is relatively new to the flooring world. It is usually seen on walls or in your favorite bottle of wine, but it is great material for floors.  Cork is harvested from the bark of the cork oak tree commonly found in the forests of the Mediterranean. The trees are not cut down to harvest the bark, which will grow back every three years, making it an ideal renewable source.  It has anti-microbial properties that reduce allergens in the home, is fire retardant, easy to maintain and acts as a natural insect repellent too. Cork, like wood can be finished in a variety of paints and stains to suit any color scheme or design style.  Its durability allows for uses in any part of the house.   Cork floors, depending on the quality, can last between 10-30 years.

2. Bamboo 

Bamboo flooring is another wood like option that is gaining in popularity.  It is actually a grass that shares similar characteristics as hardwood.  It is durable, easy to maintain and is easy to install.  Bamboo is sustainable and made from natural vegetation that grows to maturity in three to five years, far less than the twenty years trees can take.  Bamboo, while usually very light, is available in many hues that will work in any setting or decor.  Its varied grains and wide array of colors give it an edge over traditional flooring by allowing for customization not often found elsewhere.

10 Most Popular Eco-Friendly Flooring Solutions

3. Linoleum

When one thinks of linoleum flooring, vinyl tends to come to mind and yet the two are nowhere close to each other.  Vinyl is a synthetic made of chlorinated petrochemicals that are harmful.  Linoleum is created from a concoction of linseed oil, cork dust, tree resins, wood flour, pigments and ground limestone.   Like cork, it is fire retardant and water resistant.  Linoleum is not new to the market; it fell out of favor with the introduction of vinyl in the 1940’s. As architects and designers began asking for it again, it reemerged with a vast array of bright vibrant colors and a new sealer to protect it from stains.  It has a long shelf life and will hold up to a lot of wear and tear.

4. Glass Tiles 

5. Concrete

6. Wool Carpet

7. P.E.T Berber Carpet

8. Rubber

9. Leather

Leather is a surprising material that can be used as flooring.  It is derived from the center-most part of the cowhide and is thicker than the leather pieces used for such things as belts, wallets and handbags.  The soft warm feel under foot makes it perfect for bedrooms, closets and small areas with little foot traffic.  It is not a great material for bathrooms, kitchens or other moist areas of a home.  It is very durable and will wear well over time. Worn, scratched and aged leather develops a personality of its own and can be beautiful to look at for years to come.

10. Reclaimed Hardwood

If you have your heart set on traditional hardwood flooring, while not usually considered eco-friendly due deforestation concerns, it can still be an option.   There are two types of hard wood to consider.  Reclaimed wood is ideal as it reuses existing wood from trees that were chopped down a long, long time ago.  Salvaged wood flooring can look beautiful in older homes or in a beach cottage.

The other option is to purchase hardwood labeled FSC certified.  This is a designation by the Forest Stewardship Council and they promote the responsible management of forests throughout the world with a focus on adhering to high social and environmental standards.

Luckily with today’s technology and a bit of imagination, eco-friendly flooring does not have to come at the expense of style.  Smart consumers can have both.  So what do you think, have eco-friendly materials evolved?


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