What is eco-friendly flooring? What makes one type of flooring more environment-friendly than others? These are questions homeowners ask as they try to contribute their bit to environmental sustainability. Since floors are second only to walls in the amount of surface area they take up in a home, flooring is a good place to start.
If the materials used in making the floor are harmful, they pose a serious threat to the health of those who live in or visit the home, warns Bighorn Rentals. Every time they walk, play, or sit on it, people and pets are interacting with the floor and everything it emits.
What is eco-friendly flooring?
Sustainable flooring is not just important for the environment, it is vital to health. But what makes flooring eco-friendly?
Eco-friendly Wood Flooring
What are the best eco-friendly flooring options for the home? Eco-friendly flooring comes in many forms. But we will focus on eco-friendly flooring options that are made of wood. The following five eco-friendly flooring options satisfy all the criteria for eco-friendliness. And their diverse qualities offer homeowners a range of wood-flooring alternatives for different areas of the home.
Reclaimed and salvaged wood
Hardwood is typically not viewed as eco-friendly due to deforestation concerns, but this comes from existing wood. It passes the sustainability test because it is wood that was cut down long ago. This type of wood flooring is obtained from old houses/warehouses, disused boxcars, piers and wood salvaged from river bottoms.
Salvaged wood also comes from trees that were diseased, storm-damaged, old, or cut down to make way for developments. Reclaiming wood keeps it from rotting while preventing new trees from being cut down. This type of flooring is a good choice for people who want sustainable hardwood flooring.
Hardwood from FSC-certified sources
This is another source of sustainable hardwood flooring. The U.S. Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) gives its stamp of approval to hardwood obtained from sustainably-managed sources. FSC lists 57 criteria for determining the sustainability of management practices used in forest plantations.
Among other things, the plantation should not replace forests and trees must be replanted at a faster rate than they are removed. Furthermore, the plantation must preserve an area's biodiversity and wildlife, as well as, protect air and water quality. FSC stamp of approval assures homeowners that their hardwood flooring did not damage the environment
Bamboo flooring offers both the aesthetics and durability of hardwood. Harvesting bamboo does not pose the same environmental threat that harvesting wood does, because bamboo is a grass. Despite its hardwood-like characteristics, bamboo is fast-growing. It reaches maturity in three to five years, compared to wood which takes twenty years.
Bamboo is surprisingly hard- 27% harder than Northern red oak and 13% harder than maple. Despite its toughness, bamboo is surprisingly lightweight and easy to work with. It is available in a range of hues and grains and is more customizable than traditional wood.
Cork is one of the newest additions to the family of eco-friendly wood options. It is obtained from the bark of the cork oak tree and can be harvested without harming the tree. The bark re-grows every three years and maybe harvested repeatedly. Cork has naturally anti-microbial qualities that reduce allergens in a home. It has insect-repellant properties and is fire-retardant. It is also easy to maintain and can be finished-off in a range of paints and stains. Because cork is dense and slightly spongy, it is best for rooms where noise reduction is needed. Cork tends to fade under intense UV light, and shrinks or expands in response to humidity levels. It best used in tropical areas and away from
Palmwood is less common than the other eco-friendly wood flooring options on this list. It comes from the outer layer of the trunk of old coconut trees and palm wood from unproductive coconut plantations. Being a byproduct of coconut production, it has Forest Stewardship Councilapproval. It is available as veneered flooring but is not as easy to work with as the other options.