Eco-rate — Buying Guide — Flooring

Eco-rate - Buying Guide - Flooring

Flooring Options: the PROS & CONS


  • Renewability. bamboo can be harvested within 3-7 years of growth, can regenerate without replanting, and requires minimal pesticides and fertilizer, making it a resource that is much more renewable than trees, which take 50-150 to reach maturity.
  • Availability. readily available in solid, woven and engineered versions; offering a variety of colors and grains.
  • Affordability. typically less expensive than hardwoods.
  • CONS

    • Durability. the bonding material between bamboo fibers is much weaker than the lignens in wood. If a sharp object such as a rock in someones shoe cuts the bamboo fibers, the bamboo scratches or gouges easily because the material between the fibers is relatively soft. Therefore, if a bamboo floor and a hardwood floor have identical hardness according to the Janka test. in reality the hardwood floor will dent and scratch less than the bamboo. It is also important to note that some bamboo flooring companies report very misleading Janka test ratings. They get high ratings by performing the test on the knuckle or node of the bamboo stalk, which occupies only a tiny portion of the floors surface area and is substantially harder than most of the floor.
  • Toxicity. the adhesive that binds bamboo floors together can contain urea formaldehyde. Ensure that you specify urea-formaldehyde-free.
  • Sustainability. due to the increase in demand for bamboo flooring, forests around the world, most often in Asia, are being cleared to make room for bamboo growth. This is a detriment to the diverse species that rely on forest ecosystems and often leads to soil erosion.
  • Distance from manufacturer. bamboo used for North American flooring applications typically grows in the Hunan Province of China. The carbon emissions associated with transporting the bamboo from China to North America are significant and should be weighed when considered as an eco-friendly alternative to locally grown, FSC certified wood.
  • Carpet

    • Renewability : when made from wool, cotton or grasses, carpet can be considered renewable. It can be found containing recycled content, derived primarily from post-consumer plastic soft-drink containers (recycled carpet padding can be made from old carpet padding and reclaimed carpet fibers).
  • Re-usability. can be reused.
  • CONS

    • Petroleum-based. synthetic carpet derives from petroleum-based fibers, a finite, non-renewable resource.
  • Toxicity. binders used to make synthetic carpets and padding may off-gas VOCs for years after installation, with varying levels of emissions and toxicity. To avoid this, look for the new Carpet and Rug Institute’s (CRI) seal of approval: Green Label Plus. For this certification, the CRI has adopted Californias 01350 standard, which is the most rigorous and tests for emissions of individual VOCs rather than just the overall level of VOCs.
  • Indoor Air Quality. carpet does not contribute to a healthy indoor air quality in the home: carpets collect dirt and dust and never can be truly clean.
  • Non-durable. carpet requires frequent replacement when compared to other more sustainable types of flooring.
  • Ceramic & glass tile

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